THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has threatened to arrest Nigerians hoarding dollars and other foreign currency.
The Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Abdulrasheed Bawa made the threat at a meeting with representatives of Bureau De Change operators in Abuja.
This follows the anti-graft agency’s ongoing efforts to check rising cases of foreign exchange speculation, which had brought pressure on the value of the naira.
“The Commission has intelligence linking some persons and organisations to hoarding foreign currencies, especially the United States dollars, in key commercial cities of Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Calabar.
“We warn those involved to desist or risk arrest as a major offensive against the speculators is underway,” he said.
Since the beginning of August, the dollar has continued to rise in Nigeria’s black market.
Last week, the naira traded at N710 to the dollar in the parallel market.
The EFCC had intervened by raiding some forex markets in Abuja, which saw the currency return to its pre-speculated value.
The Nigerian currency strengthened on the official market by 0.03 per cent to settle at N428.88 to the dollar last week, according to data on FMDQ OTC.
This also demonstrated the naira’s increase of N50 to the dollar in a few days.
Bawa warned those involved to desist or risk arrest as a major offensive against the speculators was underway.
He noted that the meeting was called to fashion out a collaborative stakeholders’ response to brazen foreign exchange speculation, especially at the parallel market, which was hurting the country’s monetary policy by instigating a decline in the value of the naira.
The anti-graft agency noted that similar meetings are planned for Bureau de Change operators in other major commercial cities across the country, including key players, regulators and operators within the Nigerian financial sector.
A few days after security personnel stormed a Bureaux De Change (BDC) hub in Abuja, the naira continued to strengthen on the black-market, strengthening to N660 per dollar.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.