The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has explained why it recently arrested some Bureau De Change operators in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country.
Speaking on a programme on the network of Nigeria Television Authority, NTA on Monday, Abdulrasheed Bawa, the chairman of EFCC, said the arrests were part of efforts of the anti-graft agency to sanitize the foreign exchange sector.
Bawa spoke as one of the guests invited to discuss the topic ‘’Sanitizing Ungoverned Operators in the Forex Sector” on Good Morning Nigeria, a breakfast programme on the Network Service of the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA.
The EFCC Chairman was represented by the Commission’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol on the programme.
According to him, EFCC’s arrest of BDC operators and currency speculators in the parallel market was not indiscriminate but a product of intelligence.
“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 arrest”.
He stressed that the Commission considers foreign exchange malpractice as an economic crime against the Nigerian state, adding that the Commission as far back as 2016 established a full-fledge Section known as Foreign Exchange Malpractices Section and for over ten years maintained visible “presence at all airports in the country to checkmate incidences of bulk cash movement outside Nigeria which is another aspect of this menace.”
Through the Commission’s presence at the major gateway into the country, many arrests of cash smugglers have been made and humungous sums in foreign currencies recovered.
“Some were arrested with excess of $6 Million (Six Million United States Dollars), others with $2 Million (Two Million United States Dollars) and we know that these huge sums were not meant to be used in buying goods but stolen monies being laundered out of the country,” he said
Chukkol further stated that EFCC not only recovered some of these monies, but secured their forfeiture to the federal government, while the culprits were prosecuted.
He emphasized the need for active inter-agency and stakeholder’s collaboration, pointing out that many of the over 6,000 registered BDCs do not belong to the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria and therefore out of the orbit of regulators.
“The CBN guidelines are clear regarding returns by BDCs, but how many of them do this,” he asked.
Other discussants in the programme which includes Director of Monitoring Policy Department of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Dr. Hassan Mahmud, President, Association of Bureau De Change of Change Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Aminu Gwadebe, a finance and investment analyst, Niyi Akinsuji and a commentator on financial issues and Managing Director of Timeline Consult, Shuabu Idris in their respective contributions identified the issue of Nigeria being an import driven economy ,lack of adequate penalty, shortage of trained manpower, and identification of what truly constitutes ‘black market’ beyond the institutional banking system as some of the problems bedeviling the fight against foreign exchange malpractice in Nigeria.
Police rescue two children abandoned by mothers in Lagos
The Lagos State Police Command says operatives of the Rapid Response Squad unit in the state have rescued two children abandoned by their mothers in the Marina area of the state.
This is contained in a statement posted on its official Twitter handle on Friday.
The children were identified as five-year-old Chidara and three-year-old Shonton Chukwu.
The RRS said that the children were rescued on Thursday at about 6:00 p.m.
“Our patrol team at Marina saw two underage boys on the expressway about to be run over by speeding vehicles.
“The boys disclosed that their mother boarded a car and left them,” the command wrote.
The RRS said that the children had been taken to the Adeniji-Adele Police Division to be reunited with their parents.
How Diezani shared $115m to politicians to compromise 2015 polls – EFCC
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that its investigation shows that Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former minister of petroleum resources, allegedly gave politicians $115 million to compromise the 2015 elections.
Abdulrasheed Bawa, the EFCC chairperson, said this at an induction retreat for new resident electoral commissioners (INEC) in Lagos.
Bawa was represented by Adukwu Michael, the chief superintendent of the anti-graft agency.
Diezani was the minister of petroleum resources from 2010 to 2015 during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan
Shortly before Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, she left the country.
The former minister is alleged to have stolen $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government while she was a minister.
She has, however, denied the allegations, while the EFCC has since commenced a process to extradite her.
The Federal Government had gained forfeiture of Diezani’s properties located in Banana Island Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, including 18 flats and six penthouses.
‘OUR FOCUS IS TO DISCOURAGE USE OF MONEY TO INFLUENCE ELECTION’
The EFCC chairperson’s representative said some of the monies allegedly stolen by Diezani have been recovered by the agency.
He disclosed that the anti-graft agency is focusing on how to discourage vote buying.
“The commission’s focus in election management is discouraging the use of money to influence the outcome of election,” THISDAY quoted him as saying.
“Electoral spending by politicians often leads to voter inducement and vote buying.
“Parties often induce voter with money because they lack proper and realistic policies to convince the electorate to vote them into power.
“Whenever one is induced to sell his vote, he automatically loses moral ground to challenge corrupt tendencies of those elected.
“In the 2015 discreet investigation, the commission was able to uncover a grand plan to compromise the 2015 general election through massive cash payments to politicians.
“$115 million was paid out to politicians by former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madukwe, to compromise the election.
“Some of the money was recovered while many of the culprits are being prosecuted with few convictions recorded. At the heart of EFCC strategy to curb voter inducement is inter-agency collaboration and information sharing.
Gunmen attack mosque in Delta, many injured
Some unknown gunmen, early Friday morning attacked a mosque in Ughelli, Delta state, leaving 11 worshippers injured.
According to some residents, the attack took place at about 6.47 am when some Muslim faithful were holding their morning prayers at the Central Mosque, located along Okoroda street in Ughelli.
The resident who gave his name simply as Larry, said many residents were jolted from their sleep by gunshots followed by loud cries from people inside the mosque.
“My name is Larry, I am a commercial vehicle driver here in Ughelli. I live very close to the central mosque, so this morning at about 6.45 am we heard a shooting at the mosque.
“Because of fear, many people in my compound were frightened and we remained inside only peeping through our windows.
“As the shooting lasted, we heard loud cries from some worshippers inside the mosque,” Larry said.
According to him, after the invaders left, many residents thronged to the mosque in their numbers to see what happened.
He said residents helped to evacuate injured worshippers, adding that those that survived the attack suffered severe injuries.
Larry said that some of the worshippers told residents that three of their fellow worshippers were taken away by the gunmen.
Delta police spokesperson, DSP Bright Edafe, confirmed the attack but said that only 11 worshippers were injured in the attack.
He, however, did not confirm the abduction of three worshippers.
“I just called the DPO at Ughelli and he confirmed to me that 11 persons were injured in the attack at the mosque.
“However, the police have commenced an investigation into the incident and we will update you as we work to unravel the culprits.
“For now, no arrest has been made but I can assure you that we will get those involved,” Edafe said.
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