Foreign Currencies Transactions Within Nigeria Deemed Illegal—EFCC Stops Dollar Transactions, Embassies to Charge in Naira

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has issued a stern warning to foreign missions operating in Nigeria, prohibiting them from conducting transactions in foreign currencies and directing them to use the Naira for their financial activities.

EFCC Stops Dollar Transactions, Embassies to Charge in Naira

Additionally, the EFCC has instructed Nigerian foreign missions abroad to conduct their financial operations using Naira.

In an advisory sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, titled “EFCC Advisory to Foreign Missions against Invoicing in US Dollar,” the anti-graft commission expressed strong disapproval of the practice by some foreign missions of billing Nigerians and other foreign nationals for consular services in US dollars.

The EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, conveyed the commission’s concern in a letter dated April 5, 2024, addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The letter referenced Section 20(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, which designates currencies issued by the apex bank as the only legal tender within Nigeria.

The letter read, “I present to you the compliments of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and wish to notify you about the commission’s observation, with dismay, regarding the unhealthy practice by some foreign missions to invoice consular services to Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country in United States dollar ($).

“This practice is an aberration and unlawful as it conflicts with extant laws and financial regulations in Nigeria. Section 20(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 makes currencies issued by the apex bank the only legal tender in Nigeria.

“It states that ‘the currency notes issued by the Bank shall be the legal tender in Nigeria on their face value for the payment of any amount.

“This presupposes that any transaction in currencies other than the naira anywhere in Nigeria contravenes the law and is, therefore, illegal.”

The commission emphasized that the rejection by certain missions to accept the Naira for consular services in Nigeria, along with their failure to adhere to foreign exchange regulations when determining the cost of their services, is not just unlawful but also challenges the sovereignty of Nigeria as represented by its national currency.

The EFCC further highlighted that this scenario undermines Nigeria’s monetary policy and its goals for achieving lasting economic progress.

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“This trend can no longer be tolerated, especially in a volatile economic environment where the country’s macroeconomic policies are constantly under attack by all manner of state and non-state actors.

“In light of the above, you may wish to convey the commission’s displeasure to all missions in Nigeria and restate Nigeria’s desire for their operations not to conflict with extant laws and regulations in the country.”

When approached for comments, the EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, declined to provide any statement.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has resumed crackdown operations aimed at stabilizing the Naira.

EFCC operatives carried out arrests on Tuesday involving several Bureau De Change operators at the popular Wuse Zone 4 market in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

According to reports from traders, some Bureau De Change operators resisted the arrest during a sting operation.

The operatives were conducting routine raids to clean up the market from street traders and curb unauthorized trading.

However, this particular operation faced resistance on Tuesday, resulting in gunfire and damage to the operatives’ vehicles.

Earlier, the commission had arrested over 35 suspected currency speculators on charges of foreign exchange fraud.

Source: PUNCH