The Civil Rights Advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) has asked the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria Mr. Godwin Emefiele to order the arrest of the controversial Onitsha based religious centre operator, Prophet Chukwuemeka Ohanaemere also known as “ODUMEJE” for his serial abuses of the Nigerian Naira and other denominations during his public ceremonies at his location in Onitsha.
HURIWA, expressed consternation that despite the wanton and arbitrary disrespect and outright abuses of the Nigerian Naira and other denominations during religious rituals organised at the worship centre operated by the self proclaimed Prophet ODUMEJE in the Anambra State commercial capital of Onitsha which are usually transmitted live globally and aired on all social media platforms and watched by millions of viewers, the National institution charged with ensuring that the Naira is treated with courtesy, respect, veneration and admiration being the Central bank of Nigeria has failed to take concrete and verifiable steps to arrest and prosecute Prophet Chukwumeka Ohanaemere.
HURIWA in a statement by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said it has resolved to write officially to the Minister of Finance, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and President Muhammadu Buhari, to implore them to stand up and defend the Naira and stop the global defacing of the Naira that takes place often and even telecast live globally to an international audience.
He added that the activities of throwing the Naira and other currencies on the floor of the Worship centre owned and operated by Prophet ODUMEJE has contributed significantly to bringing global opprobrium to the national currency and has seriously indicted the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT of Nigeria as unwilling to defend the Naira even when the Constitution recognises that the law must not be the respecter of person or authority.
HURIWA stated that: “We have watched with disappointments as this self-professed prophet Odumeje kept abusing and defacing the National currency and both the Police and the Central Bank of Nigeria have failed for many Months to stamp their authorities and prosecute these serial abusers of the national currency.
“We recall that in 2018 the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) organised a “CBN FAIR” in Calabar where it used the opportunity to create awareness and sensitise the public on the “appropriate use” of the Naira, Nigeria’s legal tender notes. CBN, also “cautioned Nigerians against abusing the Naira notes, warning that anyone caught would risk six months imprisonment or pay a fine of N50,000.”
HURIWA recalled that according to Section 21(3) of CBN Act 2007 “spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank (CBN) during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and shall be punishable under Sub-section 1 of this section.”
HURIWA, while canvassing that steps be taken to stop the sensational abuses of the Naira by Prophet ODUMEJE recalled that the stated offences above are punishable under Sub-section 21(1) which provides, among other things that, a person “shall on conviction be liable to 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.”
HURIWA said: “We ask the CBN to ensure that the legal provisions that should have protected the Naira notes from abuse which are today being observed more in the breach than in compliance should be reversed”.