This is an uninspiring time for Nigeria’s legal tender, the Naira.

Once accepted in London and even Saudi Arabia years ago, the local currency has been spurned that even a neighbouring Benin Republic, with far weaker economy now rejects it.

Former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, lamented the fate of the Naira in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja on Monday.

Mailafia, who decried the situation, strongly advised Nigerians against dollarisation of the Naira.

Dollarisation is a situation where a country, either officially or unofficially, uses the dollar as its legal tender for conducting transactions, alongside its local currency.

He said that dollarisation or using the dollar alongside the Naira as a legal tender for commercial transactions was illegal and unlawful.

“In the 70s, Nigerians were spending Naira in London. It was accepted. In fact, our Muslim brothers used to go to Mecca and Medina that time and they could spend and buy goods with the Naira,” he said

“The situation has changed that even in Benin Republic, they don’t accept Naira. If we use other countries’ currencies, it means we don’t value our currency and the value will go down.

“I want a situation where we restore the honour and dignity of the Naira as our proud currency and as a symbol of the honour of our country,” Mailafia said.

Mailafia expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which some government agencies quote projects in dollars, saying “it is illegal to do so”.

According to him, “any country that dollarises its economy becomes banana republic of no value or dignity. We need to build a great economy for a country that has honour and dignity in the comity of nations.

“We should also strengthen the Naira, give it value; the monetary authority should give it respect to gain the trust of the people of this country.”