Nigeria jails transgender celeb for banknote 'spraying'

Bobrisky. [Instagram/Bobrisky]

A court on Friday sentenced one of Nigeria's most famous LGBTQ celebrities, a transgender woman known as Bobrisky, to six months in jail after she was found guilty of throwing banknotes in the air at a film premiere.

The celebration with bank notes, known locally as "spraying", is common at Nigerian weddings and parties, but prohibited by law for damaging the national currency naira.

A federal judge in Lagos handed Idris Okuneye six months for mutilation of naira notes, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or EFCC anti-corruption agency that handled the case.

"The act of mutilating the Naira notes has become a menace, which has continued to damage the image of the country," Justice Awogboro said, according to the EFCC statement.

"Enough of people mutilating and tampering with our currencies. It has to stop."

Lawyers for Bobrisky could not immediately be reached for comment.

But the EFCC said in its statement Bobrisky had claimed to be unaware of the law against spraying and asked for a second chance.

The central bank says "any form of defacement of the currency is a form of ridicule on the nation" that can be punished with imprisonment or a fine.

Rights groups say LGBTQ people are regularly harassed and intimidated by the police in Nigeria, where homosexuality is punishable by 10 to 14 years in prison.

EFCC said it had based its probe on a "video of spraying and flaunting wads of new Naira notes" at a film premiere in Lagos.

Nigerian actress Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin was sentenced to six months in prison in February after she was filmed spraying and stepping on banknotes.

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