Some say it’s the most wonderful time of the year. And while some girls are saying “awwww” at the gifts they received, others will be serving their partners breakfasts soon because they couldn’t pepper people on Obasanjo’s internet.

But regardless of what your case might be, do you know that there are some valentine’s gifts that can earn you prison time in Nigeria?

On February 10, 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that money bouquets and money cakes are forms of Naira abuse. And according to Section 21 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, anyone found guilty of this offence is liable to six months imprisonment or a fine of ₦50,000. 

But these aren’t the only forms of Naira abuse. Let’s take a look at the others.

Spraying money

Asking Nigerians not to spray money at a party is like telling us Ghanaian jollof is better. Many people would give you the side eye if you said to them that it’s a form of abuse and illegal. 

Why? For many years, no one could point to anyone being punished for breaking this law, at least until very recently.  

On February 1, 2023, a Nigerian actress, Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin, was arrested by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) after a video of her spraying and stepping on the new Naira notes circulated on the internet. She’s still in custody in Kirikiri prison, awaiting her trial on February 15, 2023. 

Defacing the Naira

It’s against the law to write or stain the Naira with oil or ink. The banknotes are supposed to be regarded as sacred, but we’ve turned them into jotters to help us note things down quickly. This is a serious offence coupled with the fact that this habit reduces the durability of the banknotes, which would cost the CBN billions to replace. 

Selling the Naira

If we had a working country, many POS agents would be serving jail time now. Since the issue of the Naira scarcity, Nigerians have had no choice but to “buy” money at different rates from them. According to the CBN act, selling banknotes is illegal, but perhaps Meffy has decided to ignore this law for now, given his hand in the crisis we’re facing.

Rejecting the Naira

Many Lagosians have almost lost an eye because a conductor rejected their money. But according to Section 20 subsection 5

of the CBN Act, it’s against the law to reject our banknotes. 

So don’t be scared whenever you’re on a bus and the conductor tries to reject your money. He can’t; the law literally backs you. The only issue is you might have to get used to using one eye, but at least you defended your rights. 

And for my fellow single pringles on Valentine’s Day, love might be in the air, but it’s time for us to show how much we can hate.

Send a picture of that person that received a money bouquet today to the CBN so they can learn the sacredness of our Naira notes.

Join the Citizen Situation Room and Helpline on WhatsApp today, to get real-time gist and drama on the 2023 elections.

You should also sign up for our Game of Votes newsletter. We help you make sense of news jargon and keep you up-to-date, especially with election news. Make the subscription of a lifetime here.



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.