A bill seeking to amend the Currency Offences Act 2004 and institute a stiffer penalty for abusers of the naira on Tuesday two weeks ago passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

Here is the full story…

Bill Proposing N200,000 Fine For Naira Abusers Passes Second Reading

He said that the level of depreciation prompted him to sponsor the bill seeking to amend the provision of section 4 which provided for N1,000 as penalty for violation of the Act.

So, there is an extant law regarding this? That’s laughable.

The question is, who will enforce these toothless laws.?

The policeman who. would enforce this collects twenty and fifty Naira notes squeezed into his receptive palms while on road duty. He is already guilty. Is he going to arrest the liquor seller who brings out ‘change’ from under her tattered bra at those ‘joints’ policemen sometimes take traffic offenders to?

Law Enforcement Officers Are Never ‘off Duty.’ They Are Dedicated Public Servants Who Are Sworn To Protect Public Safety At Any Time And Place That The Peace Is Threatened. They Need All The Help That They Can Get.
–Barbara Boxer

The La Casera seller, with his wares balanced precariously on his head doesn’t have time to neatly arrange his Naira notes in a purse. (By the way, I thought there is a law against selling anything in traffic in Lagos, with jail terms stipulated for the seller and the buyer alike?)

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There is also a law against smoking in public places. Who enforces this? The policeman who drinks paraga, topped up with sticks of cigarette in public glare?

There is hardly any police station that you won’t find a small kiosk selling intoxicants which is always complimented with cigarettes!

Along this line is the news,

Bill To Make Premarital Genotype Test Compulsory Scales Second Reading.

Take a peek.

Someone commented,

The kind of things these people dabble into.. Hmmm.. Legislating these things out of existence won’t work, and could actually be an infraction on basic citizen rights..

Educating people could be a better approach

I agree.

For people who receive such humongous emoluments at public expense – like these Lawmakers do, it is appalling some of the frivolities they spend their time deliberating upon and passing into law. It would be expedient to spend their time more productively, discussing the issues that would positively impact the lives of the citizens.

Is it not basic sense that the severity of the punishment of a crime is not as critical as its enforcement?

It’s about time law enforcement got as organized as organized crime. — Rudy Giuliani


Why spend expensive legislative time discussing and passing laws we all know will not be enforced? Like the law against spraying notes at parties, this is something that is almost cultural. I am yet to see a policeman invading the arena of a wedding ceremony, arresting those defacing the Naira notes while stomping on them, dancing.

What we should do as a country is continue to aggressively push the cashless policy.

We need to fortify our adoption of online payments, like the Kenyans.

Encourage the use of electronic money by rewarding cashless transactions (wherever possible). That way, there is simply less physical currency notes passing from hand to hand, and toothless laws like this would not need to come up for deliberation. The banks can play a leading role here. (This is similar to the phone networks rewarding electronic top-up over physical recharge of lines).

Bringing the economy back to its feet is far more important than proposing unenforceable laws to conserve the physical looks of some worthless Naira notes. What’s the use of pristine looking Zimbabwean currencies that are financially worth nothing?

When these Naira notes are economically worth more, when the economic improves on most facets, when people have greater pride in their country and are proud to be called Nigerians, they would start treating their currency notes with more respect.

Until then, laws like this are just a whistle in the thunderstorm… a waste of resources. Let us prioritize our priorities, stop focusing on symptoms and attack the root cause of problems.

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