Nigerian Security Operatives Arrest Over 100 Bureau De Change Operators In Abuja

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Nigerian security operatives including officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday raided some Bureau De Change outlets in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, arresting over 100 operators as the country’s currency slipped further.

Nigeria’s naira on Wednesday dropped to a record low against the dollar on the official market.

Daily Reporters learnt that the naira now exchanged for N1980 to $1 on the parallel market and N1780 on the official market as the swift decline continued amid the government’s clampdown on currency speculators.

“The situation (of arresting BDC operators) has not helped either because the official rate has also reached N1780. Naira is still crashing,” a source familiar with the arrest told Daily Reporters.

“Dollar reached N1980 to $1 today, prompting the Nigerian government to raid BDCs in Abuja to arrest over 100 BDC operators.”

Daily Reporters earlier today reported that the economic situation had continued to worsen as the naira tumbled at the parallel market despite the clampdown President Bola Tinubu’s administration ordered on foreign exchange market speculators.

On Tuesday, the naira slid further with one dollar exchanging for 1,900 in Abuja and Kano, and N1,800 in Lagos; while the British Pound was exchanged for N2,250.

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the EFCC had been raiding BDC hubs in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos and Kano. Some operators were also arrested but it has not stopped the naira from further depreciation.

The National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu on Tuesday, directed operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, the EFCC, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to go after forex market speculators as part of measures to stem volatility in the foreign exchange market.

Ribadu, in a statement by Zakari Mijinyawa, Head, Strategic Communications in the Office of the NSA, said the office had to wade in at this time because some individuals and organisations had continued to undermine proactive measures of the Central Bank of Nigeria to stabilise the foreign exchange market and stimulate economic activities.

Acting on the NSA’s directive, the security operatives swooped on BDC operators on the streets of Lagos, Abuja and Kano yesterday to raid unlicensed BDC operators.

On Monday, Daily Reporters reported that EFCC operatives violently clashed with BDC operators in Wuse Zone 4, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.

SaharaReporters learnt that the BDCs were forced to close down to save face and arrest the free fall of the naira.

Daily Reporters learnt that the EFCC employed the use of firearms to force the BDC operators to stop trading, leading to the firing of gunshots.

Earlier in February, Daily Reporters reported that President Tinubu’s government was behind the shutting down of Bureaux De Change in Abuja.

Sources told Daily Reporters that Tinubu’s government had directed Nigeria’s secret police, Department of State Services (DSS) to force the BDCs to close down to save face over the free fall of the naira.

It was learnt that the DSS subsequently took over the market amid the government’s frantic effort to stabilise the naira and save face.

The Abuja chapter of the Association of Bureau De Change (BDC) Operators earlier announced the closure of their business premises indefinitely.

Abdulahi Dauran, its chairman blamed it on the scarcity of US dollars which he said was compounded by online banking and cryptocurrency transactions. However, Daily Reporters learnt that the association was compelled to shut down indefinitely.

Earlier on Monday, residents of Ibadan in Oyo State blocked major roads to protest against the economic hardship caused by the policies of President Tinubu’s administration.

The protest began in Ibadan’s Mokola area, and the protesters, mostly youths, barricaded the Mokola under-bridge and the Queen Elizabeth Road.

This led to traffic congestion in some parts of the city.

The protesters could be heard chanting: ‘Tinubu Ole (Tinubu is a thief),’ ‘E bi n pawa (We’re hungry),’ as they moved on the road.

Some of the placards had inscriptions such as ‘Open Boarder, End Hardship’, ‘End food hike and inflation’, ‘The poor is starving’, ‘Tinubu, don’t forget your promises’, amongst others.

Armed police officers were seen at the protest location to prevent the breakdown of law and order.

Earlier this month, Daily Reporters reported how similar protests were held in Minna and Suleja, the commercial nerve centres of Niger State.

The angry protesters called on President Tinubu’s government to end the hardship and rising inflation in the country.

They also lamented the hikes in the prices of gas and fuel in the country.

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