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EFCC Launches 7,000-Man Task Force to Crack Down on Dollar Racketeers Amid Nigeria’s Forex Crisis



EFCC Launches 7,000-Man Task Force to Crack Down on Dollar Racketeers Amid Nigeria's Forex Crisis

EFCC Launches 7,000-Man Task Force to Crack Down on Dollar Racketeers Amid Nigeria’s Forex Crisis


In a bold move aimed at curbing the escalating forex crisis plaguing Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has deployed a 7,000-strong special task force across its 14 zonal commands to root out dollar racketeers. This aggressive crackdown comes amidst mounting concerns over the devaluation of the Nigerian naira and the proliferation of businesses issuing invoices in dollars.

The announcement, made via an official statement on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, signals the EFCC’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding the nation’s economy from illicit activities that undermine its stability and integrity. Notably, proprietors of private schools and universities found to be charging fees in dollars have been summoned for questioning, as the anti-graft agency intensifies its efforts to combat economic malpractice.

According to the EFCC, numerous racketeers operating in key economic hubs such as Lagos, Kaduna, and Port Harcourt have already been apprehended, marking a significant stride in the ongoing battle against financial corruption. The agency’s vigilance extends to combatting currency mutilation and preventing the dollarization of the economy, both of which pose grave threats to Nigeria’s fiscal well-being.

The backdrop to this crackdown is the alarming depreciation of the naira in recent times, with the national currency plummeting from approximately ₦900 per dollar to well over ₦1,400 per dollar in official markets. On the parallel market, the naira’s value has further dwindled, exchanging at ₦1,490 per dollar, while banks quote rates around ₦1,418 per dollar, exacerbating the challenges faced by businesses and consumers alike.

In its official statement, the EFCC elucidated on the rationale behind the formation of the special task force, emphasizing the imperative to uphold existing laws and prevent systemic vulnerabilities from destabilizing the economy. The task force, spearheaded by the Executive Chairman of the commission, Ola Olukoyede, is mandated to identify, apprehend, and prosecute individuals involved in illegal forex activities, including the issuance of invoices in dollars and the defacement of the national currency.

“The EFCC has raised a special task force in all its zonal commands for the enforcement of extant laws against currency mutilation and dollarization of the economy,” the statement affirmed. “The task force, inaugurated by the Executive Chairman of the commission, Ola Olukoyede, was raised to protect the economy from abuses, leakages, and distortions exposing it to instability and disruption.”

Highlighting the proactive measures taken by the EFCC, the statement underscored the success of recent arrests targeting perpetrators engaged in the illicit issuance of invoices denominated in dollars and the desecration of the naira. Furthermore, proprietors of private universities and other institutions of higher learning implicated in the practice of charging fees in dollars have been summoned for interrogation, in accordance with the provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act.

The dollarization of the Nigerian economy represents a clear violation of the CBN Act, which stipulates that only the currency notes issued by the apex bank shall serve as legal tender for transactions within the country’s borders. Any deviation from this mandate is not only unlawful but also undermines the stability and sovereignty of Nigeria’s financial system, warranting swift and decisive action from law enforcement agencies.

As the EFCC intensifies its crackdown on dollar racketeers and enforces stringent penalties for infractions against currency laws, the agency sends a resounding message that economic sabotage will not be tolerated. With the integrity of Nigeria’s currency and the well-being of its citizens at stake, the battle against financial malpractice assumes paramount importance in safeguarding the nation’s economic future.

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