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Nigeria’s antigraft agency nabs ‘currency speculator’ in Abuja

Mustapha Muhammed, aka Muaspaha Naira, has been taken into custody by the Nigerian anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mustapha Muhammed, aka Muaspaha Naira, has been taken into custody by the Nigerian anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesman for the anti-graft agency, said in a statement released on Tuesday that the arrest was part of an ongoing operation to cleanse the foreign exchange business of speculators and other economic saboteurs.

Uwujaren stated that commission agents arrested the suspect on November 12, 2022, in Wuse Zone 4, the epicenter of parallel market activity in the Federal Capital Territory.

“The suspect has made a useful statement while the investigation continues,” he said.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stated on Tuesday that the recent arrests of Bureau De Change operators across the country, particularly in Lagos and Abuja, were incidental to the commission’s overall efforts to clean up the foreign exchange market.

Abdulkarim Chukkol, Director of Operations for the Commission, announced this on Good Morning Nigeria, a breakfast program on the Network Service of the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, on November 14, 2022.

Chukkol, who represented the commission’s chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was among the illustrious figures invited to discuss the issue “Sanitising Ungoverned Operators in the Forex Sector.”

According to him, the arrests of BDC operators and currency speculators on the parallel market by the EFCC were not indiscriminate but rather the result of information.

“At EFCC, we work with intelligence and with other stakeholders; and when we talk of illegal forex operators, you cannot just invite people on the street even though sometimes you could, but generally you do not have a choice, but to make arrests.”

He emphasized that the commission views foreign exchange malpractice as an economic crime against the Nigerian state. He added that the EFCC, in 2016, established a full-fledge Section known as the Foreign Exchange Malpractices Section and, for over a decade, maintained a visible “presence at all airports in the country to checkmate incidences of bulk cash movement outside Nigeria, which is another aspect of this menace.”