New Notes: EFCC to Raid Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and Port Harcourt Over Currency Racketeering, Hoarding
- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has perfected plans to start raiding currency hawkers in Nigeria
- The Commission said it has earmarked four key cities in the country where the practice is rife
- The raid will also affect PoS operators who hoard the new naira notes with intention to hike charges
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The economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to raid key states and commercial centres in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kaduna to fish out and arrest racketeers and hoarders of new naira notes.
The planned raid includes PoS operators who milk Nigerians via exorbitant charges and hikes in commissions.
PoS operators not spared in the planned raid
The commission disclosed on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, that it arrested members of currency racketeering syndicates trading in the redesigned naira notes at Zone 4, Wuse and Dei-Dei axis of Abuja.
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Punch reports that EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwajaren confirmed the development in a press release.
Investigations have shown that the anti-graft body has earmarked key cities in Nigeria for a raid to apprehend currency racketeers.
Currency hawkers and racketeers, including PoS operators, have seized the current scarcity of the new naira notes to make a fortune and rip off innocent Nigerians, a source at the agency told Legit.ng.
Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of Security Security Services (DSS) conducted similar raids at key spots on Monday, January 30, 2023, where they arrested racketeers.
The planned raid by the EFCC comes after the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele told members of the House of Representatives that the bank would partner with anti-corruption agencies, such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to track heavy withdrawals from banks.
CBN promises to arrest and prosecute Nigerians selling new naira notes, lists targeted events to monitor
CBN had extended the deadline for the validity of old N200, N500 and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10, 2023.
PoS operators lament scarcity of new notes
A visit to some PoS operators by Legit.ng in Lagos and Ogun states show that the operators have seized the opportunity of the scarcity of the new naira notes to exploit Nigerians by increasing charges.
Along the Iju-Ishaga area under the Ifako-Ijaiye local government area of Lagos State, PoS operators say they now charge N300 to customers who intend to withdraw N5,000 as against the previous charge of N100 for N5,000 withdrawals.
Customers wishing to withdraw N10,000 via PoS are asked to pay between N500 to N600.
In the Oke-Aro area under the Ifo Local government area of Ogun state, PoS operators charge between N600 to N800 per N10,000 withdrawal and N350 for N5,000 and below.
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One PoS operator in Ishaga, who identified herself as Opeyemi, said the hike is due to the scarcity of the new naira notes.
She said the operators keep vigil at ATMs to make withdrawals and that they have to charge for the extra hassle.
“We go through a lot of stress to withdraw the new naira notes. It is only proper to charge extra for the stress,” she said.
Another operator, Jude Osakhome stated that he visited aTMs for three consecutive days before he could see somewhere to withdraw funds.
“I am completely stressed. Even if we charge higher than the current charges, it won’t make up for the stress of getting the new notes.”
POS operators adjust charges as cash disappears from banks, ATMs after CBN extends deadline
Recall that Legit.ng reported that as long queues continued at bank premises and ATM points, POS operators decided to increase charges for desperate Nigerians in need of cash.
Legit.ng spoke to some POS operators around the Lagos metropolis and they all confirmed an increase in charges for cash withdrawals.
If a customer requests new naira notes, the new charges will be even higher.