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Naira depreciation: EFCC arrests ‘currency speculator’ in Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested one Mustapha Muhammed, better known as Mustapha Naira, over alleged currency speculation.

In a statement on Tuesday, the anti-graft agency said Muhammed was picked up by EFCC operatives on November 12, at Wuse Zone 4, the hub of parallel market operations in the federal capital territory (FCT).

The commission said the arrest was part of its ongoing operation to sanitise the foreign exchange sector and rid it of speculators and all shades of economic saboteurs.

“The suspect has made useful statement while the investigation continues,” EFCC added.

Two weeks ago, the EFCC raided forex trading hubs in Abuja, Lagos and Kano in an effort to halt the slide of the naira against the dollar.

The agency is said to be concerned that money launderers have been obtaining forex from Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in order to avoid losing their ill-gotten naira which faces a redesign policy by the government.

Following the EFCC clampdown, the local currency rose sharply to N885/$ before recording an appreciation of N175 to N710/$ last week.

But the currency has reversed its earlier gains at the parallel market, depreciating to N790 per dollar in Lagos on Tuesday.

Currency traders in the Victoria Island area of Lagos quoted the naira at N790 to the dollar at the street market, representing a depreciation of N80 or 11.3 percent compared to the N710 it traded on Friday.

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