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Police nab five currency hawkers in Ogun

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The suspects

After issuing several warnings, the police and officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have swooped on alleged vendors and abusers of the naira notes in Ogun State. Over N1 million notes were seized from the illegal vendors.
 
According to the Ogun State police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), five persons were captured in various parts of the state for hawking and selling naira notes at the weekend.

Oyeyemi identified the suspects as Toyin Alegbe, Kehinde Akinbode, Shoneye Latifat, Kehinde Olanrewaju and Iyanuoluwa Shokunbi. The suspects, he said, would be charged to court soon.

 
He said they were arrested in Ijebu Ode, Sagamu and Abeokuta areas of the state “during a sting operation jointly carried out by operatives of Ogun State police command and officials of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last Thursday and Friday.”

Oyeyemi added that the operation was in line with the provisions of section 21(1) of the CBN act 2007, which made hawking, selling and abuse of Naira a punishable offence.

“Various denominations of Naira notes totaling 1,560,000 were recovered from the suspects who were publicly exhibiting their illicit trades,” he said.
 
Oyeyemi further told newsmen in his statement that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmed Iliyasu, has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department, Aminu Alhassan, to commence full-scale investigation into the activities of the suspects.
 
The police boss also warned members of the public to desist “from any act capable of soiling, abusing or destroying the naira, which is one of the symbols of our national identity.

The CP therefore expressed his readiness to work with all government agencies to stamp out crime and criminality in the state”.

Meanwhile, the quantity of dirty and unfit naira notes in circulation and scarcity of small denominations of N10, N20, N50 and N100 notes, is becoming a major concern to Nigerians, especially those engaged in commercial transactions.

These days, even over-the-counter and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) transactions are disbursing dirty and unfit notes, just as commercial banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) trade blames over who is responsible, directly or indirectly, for the situation.

More worrisome to banks’ customers is that ATMs have not only become outlets for these dirty and sometimes, unfit notes, but are also deliberately mixing them with few new notes and once dispensed, even the same bank do not accept them back when presented in the banking hall.

A customer of one of the top three banks in the country, who identified himself simply as Sampson, told The Guardian how he withdrew money across the counter and hurriedly left, but later discovered that two bundles of N500 notes were almost unfit. “When I brought it back to them, they rejected the money and denied ever paying the money to me.

I avoided creating a scene in the banking hall and could not push further because I was in a hurry to join a bus coming back to Lagos from Enugu,” he said.


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