Currency Racketeers Make New Naira Notes Scarce, EFCC Begins Chase

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has revealed that it is set to target currency racketeers in key commercial cities, including Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna. The announcement came after the EFCC arrested members of a currency trading syndicate in Abuja.

The anti-graft agency conducted the operation to halt the illicit currency trade from Saturday to Monday.


According to EFCC officials, they have noted commercial hotspots in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna where currency hawkers are thriving. The planned raids follow similar raids by the Department of State Services.

The day after the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefile, stated that the CBN would work with law enforcement agencies such as the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to track heavy withdrawals, the EFCC announced its planned raids. The CBN had extended the deadline for the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes from January 31 to February 10.

On Monday, the Department of State Services arrested currency traders who were turning the sale of newly redesigned notes into brisk business. The secret police also claimed that the perpetrators were working with commercial bank officials.

The EFCC indicated that its findings showed that some of the money traders were working with Money Deposit Bank officials and promised to expand its operation to all major commercial centers until all involved syndicates are shut down. The anti-graft agency also urged financial market operators to comply with CBN guidelines and warned them to avoid sharp practices or face arrest and prosecution.

“The suspects have made useful statements, including a disclosure that they were acting in cohort with some unscrupulous officials of Money Deposit Banks,” the EFCC stated. “The commission will extend the operation to all the major commercial centres of the country until all the syndicates involved in the illegal trade are demobilized. Financial system operators are also warned to desist from the sharp practices or risk arrest and prosecution.”

EFCC zonal commanders also met with bank officials to determine the volume of new notes issued and how they were dispensed to customers.

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