NSA Ribadu sets up security force to fight ‘dollar racketeers’ causing naira collapse

ABUJA- Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Adviser, has directed law enforcement agencies to take firm measures against anyone engaged in foreign exchange market speculation. 

The move, according to the NSA, will safeguard the safety of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market and essentially take tough measures against the actions of speculators. 

Mr Ribadu said intelligence reports have revealed that these currency speculators have taken several measures to control the market, domestically or outside the country, thus undermining the proactive measures of the CBN to stabilise the foreign exchange market and stimulate economic activities. 

According to a statement issued by his spokesperson, Zakari Mijinyawa, on Tuesday, the Nigeria Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Nigeria Customs Service, and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit will work together to crack down on these activities. 

The statement said, “In a concerted effort to safeguard Nigeria’s foreign exchange market and combat speculative activities, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are joining forces to address challenges impacting the nation’s economic stability. 

“The CBN’s proactive measures to stabilise the foreign exchange market and stimulate economic activities have been commendable. 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.” 

It added, “Recall that, to address the exchange rate volatility, the CBN initiated a comprehensive strategy to enhance liquidity in the forex market, including unifying FX market segments, clearing outstanding FX obligations, introducing new operational mechanisms for bureau de change operators, enforcing the net open position limit for commercial banks, and adjusting the remunerable Standing Deposit Facility cap. 

“To reduce the pressure on the naira, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has 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.” 

The primary objective of the “alliance is to systematically identify, thoroughly investigate and appropriately penalise individuals and organisations involved in wrongful activities within the FX market,” the statement stressed. 

“This joint effort underscores the commitment of the Nigerian government to improving its Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework and exiting the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force,” noted the statement.

The NSA directive came amid an increased rate of the continued decline of the naira against the U.S. dollar across the official and unofficial markets. 

According to data published on the FMDQ website, the naira closed at N1,598.54/$1 in the official market on Monday, compared to N1,537.96 in the previous market on Friday. This represents a 3.94 per cent depreciation from the previous market rate.

Peoples Gazette reported on Monday how EFCC went after some bureau de change operators alleged to have been responsible for the rapid increase in the dollar rate to naira.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *