BusinessNewsNigeriaEFCC raid streets, arrests illegal money changers as effort to save the naira takes new shape

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has gone all out to save Nigeria’s local currency, the naira from its continued free fall against foreign currencies.

On Wednesday, Nigeria’s forex crisis saw the naira trade for N1,830/US$1 in the streets. The official exchange rate does not fare better too. The currency has plunged to N1,555/US$1, moving closer to the street rate.

The naira also weakened against the Great British Pound and the Euro. The rates are £1/N2,210 and €1/N1,855 respectively.

EFCC officials went on a raid against “unlicensed money changers” across major cities, particularly Enugu, Ibadan and Abuja, yesterday, making over 50 arrests.

The Nigerian authorities blame the traders for the sliding of the naira against the dollar.

“Unlicensed operators are behind the exchange rates crisis in this country,” Dele Oyewale, spokesman for the EFCC, said.

He added, “So what we’re doing is to go after the unlicensed money changers. It is to separate those who are legitimate BDC operators from the criminal speculators. We need to know where we stand in how we manage our exchange rates.”

The EFCC has since set up a 7,000-man special task force across its 14 zonal commands to clamp down on dollar racketeers whom they accuse of manipulating the exchange rate by under-reporting transaction rates.

Amidst the ongoing raid, which started on Monday, the special adviser to President Bola Tinubu on information and strategy, Bayo Onanuga, has called for the ban of cryptocurrency trading platforms in Nigeria to arrest the devaluation of the naira.

Onanuga accused Binance, AbokiFX, and others of “hijacking the Central of Nigeria’s role” by “blatantly setting the exchange rate for Nigeria.”

“Binance, facing regulatory showdown in many countries, and causing disruptions in the currency market, should not be allowed to dictate the value of the naira, not on its crypto exchange platform,” he said in a post on X on Wednesday.

“Other crypto platforms such as Kucoin, and Bybit should be banned from operating in our cyberspace. FX platform Aboki should be re-banned. The EFCC and the CBN should move against these platforms trying to manipulate our national currency to ground zero. Crypto should be banned in our country or else this bleeding of our currency will continue unabated.”

By Ezinwanne Onwuka (Senior Reporter)
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