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 Two BDC operators jailed in Kano, 16 remanded in Rivers

Two BDC operators jailed in Kano, 16 remanded in Rivers

A Rivers State Magistrates’ Court in Port Harcourt, on Tuesday, remanded 16 Bureau de Change operators in the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre for unlawful banking business.

The court said their action contravened the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act of 2020.

The remand of the BDC operators followed an ex parte application brought by the police asking for time to complete the investigation and charge the suspects to the appropriate Court.

The presiding magistrate, Alatuwor Fubara, adjourned the matter till March 7, 2024.

The PUNCH reports that operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the police had raided BDC operators along the GRA and Rumuola axis of Port Harcourt last week, arresting many.

The EFCC and policemen were spotted in six trucks chasing the BDC operators who usually gather around the Presidential Hotel axis to Rumuola Junction in the metropolis.

The Chairman of Bureau de Change Operators in the state, Sanni Saka, had alleged that over 100 of his members, including himself were arrested by operatives of the anti-graft agency.

The clampdown on illegal foreign currency traders is part of efforts by the government to arrest the fast free fall of Naira.

Meanwhile, the EFCC, in a statement on Tuesday by its spokesman,Dele Oyewale, said it secured the conviction of two illegal BDC operators before the Federal High Court in Kano.

According to Oyewale, Justice Mohammed Yunusa convicted and sentenced Munkaila Sani and Mohammed Sani to one-year imprisonment for operating without appropriate licences.

He said the convicts were apprehended by EFCC operatives around Wapa BDC Market and Grand Central Hotel, Kano,   following intelligence about their involvement in a syndicate operating bureau de change businesses without an appropriate licence.

In late Monday statement, the Kano State Police Command had said it arrested nine suspected hawkers of foreign currencies.

The command’s spokesman, SP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, said the suspects were nabbed in a joint operation conducted on February 21 by operatives of the Kano State Police Command, the EFCC; and the Nigeria Customs Service.

“At the end of the operation, a total of 31 people were arrested out of which 22 were screened out for lack of evidence while nine were arrested with the following exhibits recovered: $38; CFA 113 ( Nigerien currency); and Cairos 4,810 (Egyptian Pound); Birr 200 (Ethiopian Currency),” the police spokesman said.

Other recovered items, he said, were one POS machine and six mobile phones.

“The nine suspects were charged to Court 70 Normandsland, Kano for prosecution.

“The essence of this operation is to arrest these elements in order to stabilise the foreign exchange market in our country. The objective is not to arrest genuine Bureau de Change operators who carry on their legitimate businesses in their offices.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Usaini Gumel,  commended the operatives of the Nigeria Force, the EFCC, and the Nigeria Customs Service for their commitment, cooperation and dedication in ensuring the success of the operation that sends a message that illegal financial activities will not be tolerated, and those engaging in such practices will be facing the full wrath of the law,” the police spokesman said.

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