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Justice, Not So Blind! EFCC Ducks As Gov Hope Uzodimma’s Aide, Cubana Chief Priest Sprays Davido Publicly, Defaces New Notes

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Justice, Not So Blind! EFCC Ducks As Gov Hope Uzodimma’s Aide, Cubana Chief Priest Sprays Davido Publicly, Defaces New Notes

Justice, Not So Blind! EFCC Ducks As Gov Hope Uzodimma’s Aide, Cubana Chief Priest Sprays Davido Publicly, Defaces New Notes
February 13
10:45 2024

– Why Anti-Graft Agency Is Too Scared To Arrest Night Club Owner For Naira Abuse

– CBN Act 2007 Victimises the Weak, Ignores the Rich and Connected

By Emeka Azubuike

Famous night club manager and social media influencer, Paschal Okechukwu aka Cubana Chief Priest, treads a thin line between cheekiness and lawlessness. His recent public spraying of afrobeat sensation, Davido, with bundles of cash, establish among other things, that he is above the Nigerian law. Or rather, too scary for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and prosecute. Maybe!

The influencer behind the alcoholic beverage, De Generals Bitters, have been likened to the proverbial outlaw who stares down EFCC operatives, causing them to pee in their pants.

And this is a sad thing to note about the EFCC; like an overzealous law enforcer, it loves to frighten the weak and lowly, but the minute it encounters influential celebrities like Cubana Chief Priest, it turns its tail and flees.

Pundits aver that the EFCC is afraid of Okechukwu due to his perceived closeness to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State. In 2022, Uzodimma named Okechukwu as his Special Adviser on Social Media Influencing.

That Okechukwu publicly sprayed and defaced the new Naira notes wasn’t enough, he had the temerity to post a video of him perpetrating the outlawed act on his Instagram account.

Few people would forget in a hurry, how the EFCC made a public show of its arrest and conviction of Nigerian actress, Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin, for spraying and stepping on the new Naira notes at a social event in Lagos.

The anti-graft agency recently disclosed news of Omoseyin’s conviction in a statement posted on its official X handle.

Omoseyin was sentenced and convicted by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday, February 1, 2024. According to the EFCC, “She was first arraigned on February 13, 2023, by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on two-count charges, to which she pleaded ‘not guilty.’ She was subsequently granted bail on February 15, 2023.

Addressing the actress, one of the court trial documents reads: ‘That you, Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin, on the 28th day of January 2023, at Monarch Event Centre, Lekki, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, whilst dancing during a social occasion tampered with the sum of N100,000.00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria by spraying same in the said occasion and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act, 2007.”
The EFCC, however, revealed that at the resumed hearing on Thursday, Omoseyin, changed her “not guilty” plea to “guilty”, in view of the overwhelming evidence against her.

Delivering judgment, Justice Aneke sentenced the defendant to six months imprisonment, effective from Thursday, February 1, with an option of N300,000 fine to be paid into the consolidated revenue account of the federation.
It would be recalled that in January, the National Orientation Agency warned the Olu of Owode Egba, Oba Aremo Sowemimo, for abusing the naira notes during his 13th anniversary of ascension to the royal stool.

Sowemimo was seen in a viral video spraying the naira notes on a musician during the ceremony.
Reacting to the video, the NOA Director General, Lanre Issa-Onilu, stated that the display was an abuse of the national currency that attracts imprisonment, fines or both.

However, neither Owode-Egba monarch nor Cubana Chief Priest have been arrested or declared persons of interest by the EFCC.
Section 21 of the CBN Act 2007 which deals with tampering with, and trading, in Naira notes prescribes “imprisonment for a term not less than six months or to a fine not less than N50,000 or to both such fine and imprisonment for anyone guilty of “spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions”.

Though the law has been in place since 2007, aside from Omoseyin who was clearly used as a scapegoat, there had been no report of arrests or prosecution for spraying of Naira notes at social events, despite being a prevalent practice in the country.

The only reported cases of arrest have been about those hawking the notes, not those spraying. Few instances of the reports of such arrests can be found here, here and here
Also, the CBN’s “Clean Notes Policy” campaign to discourage the practice has not yielded much results.

A report by The Nation states that enforcing the law has been difficult because it “has had to contend with Nigerians’ culture of spraying money at social events”.
Even former president Olusegun Obasanjo who signed the bill into law was caught, with pictures, a situation which led to criticisms against the central bank for failing to enforce its laws, according to a Premium Times report.

Also, controversial former Kogi senator, Dino Melaye, was seen on video spraying notes on a singer, Yinka Ayefele, at his mother’s burial in 2019.
In 2018, the CBN and commercial banks announced they have resolved to introduce mobile courts to arrest currency hawkers and people who spray at parties.

“In the near future, there is going to be an introduction of mobile courts to handle such situations and those caught would be dealt with on the spot,” Hamda Ambah, managing director, FSDH Merchant Bank, said on behalf of the Bankers Committee.

Six years later, nothing has been heard about the proposed mobile court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Opeyemi

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