Monday, July 15, 2024

EFCC arrests BDC operators as naira sells 1,416 per $

Operatives from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reportedly arrested some Bureau De Change operators at the popular Wuse Zone 4 market on Tuesday.

This came as traders also said some BDC operators resisted the arrest during a sting operation.

The operatives had embarked on routine raids to sanitise the market of street traders and eliminate arbitrary trading.

But this move was resisted on Tuesday leading to gunshots and damage to the operative’s vehicles, two currency traders who witnessed the incident confirmed to The PUNCH.

One of the traders who asked not to be named for fear of retribution said the traders simply acted out of frustration as the arrests were becoming too rampant and just to extort money from them.

He said, “EFCC guys came to raid and make an arrest on Monday and they came today (Tuesday) but today’s operation was too strong.

“This is the issue we are facing. Yesterday (Monday) they arrested traders but they were attacked back today and gunshots were fired because our people tried to resist the arrest. They were provoked and frustrated. They even broke the glasses of the EFCC vehicles today and that means people are getting tired and desperate.”

Another trader who confirmed the incident warned that a continued raid by the anti-corruption body might lead to killings.

The trader who also pleaded anonymity said, “If this thing continues like this, that means they would kill people because if they try to arrest next time, nobody would agree and another person would gather together so that nobody would be taken.

“That was happened today. People are now turning because all they do after arrest is to collect money from us. Nothing else is done. They are frustrating use.’

The EFCC had resumed raiding in a bid to stabilise the naira.

Penultimate week, the commission arrested over 35 suspected currency speculators for alleged foreign exchange fraud.

Last week, it also paraded over 20 BDC operators arrested in the capital city.

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Despite these efforts, the naira has continued on a free fall.

On the rates, the operators said they bought the dollar at N1,400 and sold at N1,425 per dollar leaving a profit margin of N25.

It also indicated an N5 drop from the N1,430 it sold on Monday.

A trader, Malam Yahu, complained of the market fluctuation, adding that it was now difficult to project what the rates would trade at.

He said, “Right now the market is just fluctuating, the naira is not stable at all and that’s why we are even sceptical about buying now. We can’t even predict how the market will trade.

“For instance, after today’s arrest, I didn’t buy or make sales to avoid a loss. I bought it earlier today at N1,400 and sold it at N1,425.

“We have also noticed that once the prices go up, there will be scarcity because they would expect the naira to drop further but if it’s at a loss, they would then rush to sell it off.”

At the official market, data obtained from the FMDQ exchange securities revealed that the currency depreciated to N1,416/$ from N1,354/$ recorded at the foreign exchange market on Monday.

The new rate indicated that the naira dropped by 4.4 per cent or N62, raising concerns about rapid fluctuations.

The intraday high increased to N1,445 on Tuesday from N1,441/$1 recorded on Monday. The intraday low also depreciated to N1,301/$1 as against N1,285/$1 it traded on Monday.

The volume of dollars supplied by willing buyers and willing sellers however increased to $160.77m from $84.3m on Monday.

The former rate was the lowest point in approximately ten weeks when daily turnover was $66.4 million, which occurred on February 19, 2024.




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