JUST IN: Dollar Hits N1,900/$; Pound, N2,250/£, Despite FG’s Clampdown

The naira on Tuesday again lost value as it plunged further at the parallel market despite the clampdown the federal government ordered on foreign exchange market speculators.

The Naira is selling at the black market for N1,900/$, while the British Pound is N2,250/N, as of Tuesday, a check by Africa Health Report has revealed.

A dollar was exchanged for N1,870 at the popular Wapa Bureau de Change market on Tuesday.

An operator, Ammar Aminu, reportedly said though no EFCC operative visited the market for a clampdown on forex speculators, the price of the dollar kept going up.

According to him, “Today, the dollar has risen to N1,870 from N1,750 it was sold on Monday.”

We recall that Bureau De Change (BDC) centres in Abuja, Lagos and Kano were raided and some operators were arrested.

But despite the raids, the naira has continued to crash against the dollar and pound at different locations. The dollar exchanged for N1,900 in Abuja and Kano, and N1,800 in Lagos; while the British Pound was exchanged for N2,250, our findings show.

However, at the official market, the naira recorded a marginal gain closing at N1,551.24 as against the earlier N1,574.62, according to the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM).

The National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, had earlier on Tuesday directed operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to clamp down on forex market speculators.

According to him, this was a concerted effort to safeguard Nigeria’s foreign exchange market and combat the activities of speculators, both domestic and international, operating through various channels.

Ribadu, in a statement by Zakari Mijinyawa, Head of 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.

“The CBN’s proactive measures to stabilize the foreign exchange market and stimulate economic activities have been commendable”, Ribadu was quoted to have said.

“However, the effectiveness of these initiatives is being undermined by the activities of speculators, both domestic and international, operating through various channels, thereby exacerbating the depreciation of the Nigerian Naira and contributing to inflation and economic instability.

“To reduce the pressure on the naira, the EFCC raised a 7,000-man special task force across its 14 zonal commands to clamp down on dollar racketeers.

“Yet, recent intelligence reports have highlighted continued illicit activities within the Nigerian foreign exchange market. The ONSA and CBN are therefore embarking on this collaborative approach to tackle these infractions.

“This partnership will involve a coordinated effort with key law enforcement agencies, including the Nigeria Police Force, the EFCC, the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

“The primary objective of this alliance is to systematically identify, thoroughly investigate and appropriately penalize individuals and organizations involved in wrongful activities within the FX market,” the official said.

The NSA said by leveraging the expertise of those four security agencies, the government aimed at deterring what he described as “malicious practices”, to protect investors’ interests and promote sustainable economic growth.

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

At the popular Allen Avenue in Lagos, about five BDC operators were reportedly arrested when the EFCC operatives stormed the area around 10 am.

Many of the unlicensed operators transacting by the road fled on sighting the security operatives. (With Agency Report).

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