Redesigned notes: Black market sales skyrocket despite DSS clampdown on illegal currency racketeers

January 31st 2023, 12:02:43 pm

The recent arrest of illegal racketeers of the redesigned notes by the Department of State Services, DSS has failed to end the illicit trade as fresh reports have revealed the brisk nature of this new illicit business across the country.

Redesigned naira notes (Guardian)

This has been blamed on the refusal of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to make the new naira notes available or extend the deadline date for Nigerians to return older naira notes.

There have been blames and counter-blames from the banks and the CBN as both sides have accused each other of being the cause for the scarcity of the new notes.

Some illicit traders have used the opportunity to cash out by selling the new notes at a very unofficial price to Nigerians who see no qualms about making the purchase.

Recall just yesterday, the DSS made an announcement informing Nigerians that it had arrested some members of an organized syndicate involved in the sale of the newly redesigned naira while fingering some bank officials for being complicit in the crime.

This, however, has failed to curb the ugly trend as a fresh investigative report by The Punch has revealed the illegal trade is now booming across different states in Nigeria.


In Abuja, one of the black market traders traced the high demand for new notes to the inability of banks to make the notes available.

Another operator implicated bank staff in the crime as he revealed they maintain a relationship with bank staff.

He said “Currency exchangers basically form relationships with bank staff. If I need an amount, all I do is put a call through to my contact in the bank, ask for the availability of what I need, find out the buy rate, and buffer it by N5-N10 to resell

In Anambra state, the process was not as discreet as in other locations as the vendors here had to use a public address system to invite ‘buyers’.

According to the reports, the black market vendors insisted on collecting N3,000 on every N10,000 withdrawal of the new notes.

In Lagos state, racketeers in league with some bankers had taken over the naira swap initiative across many locations in the state.

A PoS operator also blamed the bankers for the inflated withdrawal cost they charge their customers. She alleged the new notes were sold at very outrageous prices by some bankers and black market operators thus making it difficult for the PoS operators to maintain the previous charging rates.

She said, “We cannot continue to charge our customers the previous rate. Some bankers sell the new notes to us. At times, we get them from the black market. On every N100, 000 new notes we collect, there is a charge of N5,000. Some currency operators charge as high as N10,000 for N80,000.”

In a quick reaction to the scarcity being witnessed by Nigerians across the country, the CBN has revealed each bank branch receives an allocation of N30 million new notes daily.

This was revealed by a CBN official, Abdulkadir Jibrin while on an inspection tour of banks in Bauchi on Monday to ensure the new banknotes go around.

Only N10,000 and below could be exchanged per person, and if the amount is more than that, one should open a bank wallet. Daily each branch across the state receives N30 million to ensure their automated teller machines (ATMs) are stocked with cash for individuals to withdraw,” he said.

Solomon Ekanem
Solomon is a digital content editor and a Business/Tech contributor for Pulse.


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