The sale of the new naira notes has become a brisk business for currency merchants, who, according to the State Security Service (SSS), are collaborating with bank officials even as millions of Nigerians rush to obtain them.
In a statement released on Monday, SSS spokesman Peter Afunanya said that some of the engaged currency dealers had been “intercepted” and had admitted to cooperating with representatives of commercial banks.
“The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby informs the public that it has intercepted some members of organised syndicates involved in the sale of the new redesigned naira notes.
“In the course of its operations, in this regard in parts of the country, it was also established that some Commercial Bank officials are aiding the economic malfeasance,” according to Mr Afunanya.
“Currency racketeers should cease from this ignoble crime,” the SSS, also known as the DSS, advised.
“Appropriate regulatory authorities are, in this same vein, urged to step up monitoring and supervisory activities to expeditiously address the emerging trends.
“It should be noted that the Service has ordered its Commands and Formations to further ensure that all persons and groups engaged in the illegal sale of the notes are identified. Therefore, anyone with useful information relating to this is encouraged to pass the same to the relevant authorities.”
However, it did not specify whether people who were “intercepted” and their bank allies would face legal action.
The SSS statement was released one day after soucres claimed that the Central Bank of Nigeria has postponed till 10 February the expiration date for the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.
Despite the CBN’s statements that it had distributed enough of the new notes for circulation, many Nigerians had demanded the extension due to the limited availability of those notes.