Naira Abuse: Ogun Monarch Bags Two Months Suspension Without Pay


BY SEGUN ADEBAYO – For daring to abuse Nigeria’s currency, the Naira, the Olu of Owode in Obafemi/Owode Local Government of Ogun State, Oba Kolawole Sowemimo, will serve two months suspension from office without pay.

In what some financial experts described as clearly stepping in to perform the duties of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and relevant security agencies, the Egba Traditional Council is receiving the accolades for clamping down on the erring Royal father.

Accused of abusing the Naira at a public function in January this year, the Council charged Oba Sowemimo for publicly degrading the Nigerian currency, an offence that contravenes an existing law of the CBN.

The suspension was slammed on him during the Egba Traditional Council February 2024 statutory meeting chaired by the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo.

In a joint resolution adopted at the meeting, the Council approved Sowemimo’s suspension following recommendations by its Ethics Committee which declared that during this period, he (Sowemimo) should desist from parading himself as a traditional ruler anywhere in the country.

Furthermore, the Council’s resolution emphasized that Sowemimo should not be invited or seen at any government or public function as a traditional ruler, and for three months should not receive any payments

The Chairman of a three-member Ethics Committee of the Egba Traditional Council, Oba Saka Matemilola, who read the report, said the Committee arrived its decision after examining the viral video in which Sowemimo breached the ethics of a Yoruba traditional institution by defacing Nigeria’s currency.

Oba Matemilola, who is the Olowu of Owu, said findings showed that the suspended Oba openly displayed strewn Naira as a bead and hung same on the neck of a musician in public.

He noted that the act attracted a lot of public condemnation and the Council was inundated with derisive comments on the traditional institution.

The Committee Chairman further stated that Oba Sowemimo’s action contravened Section 21(1) of Central Bank Act, 2007.

Confirming his suspension at the weekend, the embattled monarch said the sanction would last for two months without salaries.

According to him; “They said the suspension was due to the way I spent money on one musician. And when I was asked if I had anything to say, I stood up and apologised for whatever I had done wrong and the suspension which was earlier announced to be for three months without salaries was reduced to two months.

“I totally accept the verdict of the council because it is the person that we love that we chastise. So, I am good with the decision”.

Widespread condemnation had trailed the royal father’s action after a video went viral in early January showing him decorating a popular Fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde, with knitted new N1,000 notes used as a garland.

Reacting to the development, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) had also last month issued a strict warning to the embattled traditional ruler for abusing the Naira notes during his 13th anniversary of ascension to the royal stool.

In a statement signed and sent to the Oba by NOA’s Director General, Lanre Issa-Onilu, described the display as an abuse of the national currency that attracts imprisonment, fines, or both.

Forefront News recalls that dating back to year 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had read the riot act threatening to deal with those found culpable in abusing the Naira.

In decrying the growing abuse of the Naira through squeezing, selling, spreading and stepping on foot while dancing at public functions as well as hoarding by some Nigerians, the apex Bank had warned that culprits caught in the act would be liable to a six months imprisonment or a fine of N50,000 or both in accordance with the Bank’s Act of 2007.

Regrettably, despite all the fanfare and massive awareness creation that followed the policy which demanded that the nation’s currency should be accorded equal respect and dignity with her national flag, the apex bank failed woefully in monitoring such illegal practices, let alone applying the necessary sanctions due to the Nigerian factor of sacred cows.

According to the CBN, it was imperative to apply tough sanctions given that the country spends more than N100 to mint one single N100 note.

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