Dissatisfied by the way Nigerians rough-handle the Naira note, some lawyers on Thursday urged the citizens to eschew practices capable of defacing the Naira.
The lawyers told newsmen that the Naira was first and foremost, the country’s legal tender, and should be treated with regard like any other legal document.
They said that the volume of dirty Naira notes in circulation was high, attributing it to disregard by the citizens, and urging a change in attitude.
Mr Iyke Agwu, Managing Director, Iyke Agwu and Co., said that dirty and worn out Naira notes could be a drawback to investment and commercial activities.
According to him, the citizens should be proud of the Naira and express such pride in its handling.
He added that it would be patriotic to do so.
According to him many Nigerians cherish foreign currencies but look down on Naira.
“Citizens ought to take pride in handling their legal tender; even in businesses, the clean Naira notes have a way of enhancing ability.
“Once you have notes that are in a dilapidated state, you find that it affects your business and by implication, the economy.
“For instance, when you go to a shopping mall or market to purchase items and you present dirty or worn out Naira notes, there is the tendency for even the market women to reject them,” he said.
Agwu said that in the long run, this will transcend to dwindling of businesses and commercial activities.
He, therefore, called on the Central Bank of Nigeria and other relevant agencies to ensure that there was an appreciable level of clean Naira notes in circulation at all times.
Mr Spurgeon Ataene, Managing Partner of Spurgeon Ataene & Co. Legal Practitioners, described the rising wave of Naira defacing as a reflection of fall in national ethos, patriotism and fundamental values.
He said: “Defacing of the Naira goes to national ethos, as there is a decline in the level of national orientation.
“We have the Ministry of Information as well as National Orientation Agency; it should be their duty to enlighten and sensitise the public on issues like this.
“Such national ethos should be impacted on students as part of civic education, and from time to time, there should be creation of awareness on streets, markets, churches and various outlets, with the message sent through leaflets or pamphlets.
“This will create awareness on the need to keep Naira tidy,” he advised.
Ataene also urged that worn out Naira notes should be withdrawn from circulation and replaced with new ones.
He regretted that some Naira notes were defaced by people who either wrote on them or kept them in their clothing including stockings, brassieres and pants.
Ataene said that sweats, saliva and catarrh of individuals, some of whom may be suffering tuberculosis or other ailments, could come in contact with the notes, posing a health risk when transferred from hand to hand.
He urged the Federal Government to take steps to withdraw dirty notes from circulation.
Mr Michael Dugeri, a Senior Associate with Austen-Peters and Co. law firm, told newsmen that the Naira as Nigeria’s legal tender, must be treated with respect.
According to him, the tidier a Naira notes, the more the currency is accepted and respected and the more impacts on the economy.
“When you are in possession of a dirty Naira note, there is the urge for you to quickly spend it as no one desires to keep a worn out note. The reverse is the case with neat notes,” he said.
Dugeri said that it was embarrassing that some Automated Teller Machines dispensed dirty and torn notes.
He urged citizens to eschew habits capable of defacing the Naira, urging more public enlightenment on the need to keep Naira clean.