The most interesting party you’d ever attend is Nigerian. They call it Owambe, a Yoruba term signifying lavish Nigerian (often wedding) parties. They usually have three highlights: the reason for the event, the food, and the money spraying that comes with dance. It is also not uncommon to see hawkers peddling lower denominations of currency to increase the volume of cash in hand for an increased “make it rain” effect.
Although it’s illegal to ‘spray’ money at parties but what kind of Owambe ends without new notes scattered all over the dance floor? But whatever fulfillment people get from spraying money at parties in Nigeria is over now, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) wants to start acting on the CBN Act 2007. The Act outlaws anyone from selling, spraying, squeezing, dancing upon the Naira or hawking it. Lack of enforcement has seen the tradition thrive over the years, but the CBN has now warned those fond of “spraying” money during parties to desist or risk being arrested on the spot as mobile courts would be deployed to try those found culpable.
Nigerians who spray Naira notes at parties risk going to jail for about six months or paying a fine of N50,000 or both. The arrest extends to those in habit of mutilating or defacing the Naira notes “by using them as writing pads.”
According to Premium Times, Director of corporate communications CBN, Isaac Okorafor, stated this after a meeting of the Bankers Committee in Lagos, on 4 October while saying that there would be collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force and the Ministry of Justice to address the issue.
“If a celebrant is dancing and you spray him/her, you may go to jail from the party venue because the law enforcement agents will be there, waiting to arrest you,” he said.
“It is the duty of law enforcement agencies to catch offenders and take them to court. Our collaboration with the police will intensify as we move to implement the mobile court for offenders.
“We need to let people know that this is our money. The fact that you cannot spray money at parties does not mean that you cannot put money in an envelope and pass it to the celebrants,” Mrs Ambah, the Managing Director of First Securities Discount House (FSDH) Merchant Bank said.
This is not the first time that a warning has been issued against the practice. In December 2017, according to The Punch, an official of the Currency Operation Department of the CBN Mr. Samuel Shuaibu warned Nigerians against abusing the naira notes, especially at events, during the commencement of a ‘CBN Fair’ to sensitise residents in Abuja on the appropriate use of the naira.