Thu. May 23rd, 2024

By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has charged Instagram celebrity Pascal Okechukwu, popularly known as Cubana Chief Priest, with three counts of abusing the Nigerian currency. This action violates the Central Bank Act of 2007, specifically the guidelines against spraying and mishandling the naira notes.

Cubana Chief Priest is accused of “tampering with funds” in N500 denominations during various social events. The first count alleges that on February 13, 2024, at the Eko Hotel, Lagos, Okechukwu engaged in the act of spraying naira notes for approximately two hours. The second count refers to a similar incident from 2020, and the third count involves an event that occurred in January 2024.

Each of these charges is a direct violation of Section 21(1) of the Central Bank Act, which prohibits tampering with the national currency in such a manner.

The charges were filed on April 4, 2024, by EFCC prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) and a team of seven other lawyers. Okechukwu is scheduled to be arraigned before Justice Kehinde Ogundare at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

This case mirrors a recent legal action where another prominent social figure, Idris Okuneye, known as Bobrisky, faced similar charges. Bobrisky was convicted and sentenced to a six-month imprisonment for comparable offenses, setting a stern precedent for such violations.

The arrest and upcoming trial of Cubana Chief Priest have sparked a conversation about the enforcement of the Central Bank’s regulations concerning the handling of the naira. Legal experts suggest that the EFCC’s recent actions indicate a tougher stance on what many see as a cultural practice at social events.

Authorities hope that these high-profile cases will deter public figures from abusing the national currency, thereby promoting respect for the legal provisions governing currency handling.

The public has shown mixed reactions to the EFCC’s strict enforcement. While some applaud the commission for upholding the law, others argue that the focus should be shifted towards more severe economic crimes. Social media platforms are abuzz with discussions and debates about the implications of these legal actions for the social and cultural practices of spraying money at events.

As Cubana Chief Priest faces the court this Wednesday, many will be watching closely to see the outcome of this case and its implications for other celebrities and public figures in Nigeria.

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