Police Arrest Seven Over Alleged illicit Currency Trade Seven persons have been arrested by the Edo State Police Command for allegedly engaging in the illegal sale of the Nigerian currency. Meanwhile the suspects, comprising two females and five males, were said to have been apprehended in different locations within the Benin metropolis, including Sakponba Road and New Benin.

While parading suspects at the state police headquarters, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, said that over N12.8m was recovered from them.

Kokumo also noted the command had launched an investigation to identify bank officials who might have conspired with the suspects to commit the alleged crime.

He listed the suspects as Franklin Izukwu, Bright Mugbeyoghe, Obi Alex, Elvis Iyomana, Osazee Osagede, Victoria Igbinos and Deborah Uwa.

The commissioner explained that the police acted in line with the presidential order prohibiting the illicit sale of the Nigerian legal tender, as contained in Sections 20 and 21 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act No. 7, 2007, which also prescribed an imprisonment term not less than six months, a fine not less than N50,000 or both.

“In carrying out this order, on November 8, 2018, the Nigeria Police, Edo State Command and the Department of State Services, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria in Benin, engaged in a sting operation aimed at forestalling illicit sales of the country’s currency notes.

“The clampdown on the naira note vendors is a continuous exercise until the offenders are completely wiped out from the system,” he added.

One of the suspects, Izukwu, told Southern City News that he had been in the illegal business for five years.

According to him, while the N200 and N100 notes were purchased from commercial banks in Lagos and Abuja and parcelled as newspapers to Benin, the polymer notes were sold to him by banks in Benin.

The 25-year-old suspect said, “Sometimes, they (currencies) come as parcels. We do not collect them with police escorts. They are packaged in cartons or sacs and we label them as newspapers.”

However, Kokumo said that the suspects would be charged to court at the end of the investigation.

He also warned those engaged in the unlawful trade to desist from the crime.