According to reports, the Department of State Services (DSS) on Thursday raided the foreign exchange parallel market (Bureau de change) in Lagos and Abuja, arresting dealers who were selling the dollar above N400.
A dealer, who confided in newsmen, said some of his colleagues were among those arrested.
“The DSS visited the market and arrested some of my colleagues, but I was saved because I didn’t have dollar to sell at the time,” the middle-aged dealer said.
“They want us to buy at N390, and sell at N400. That cannot work for now; there is no dollar in the market.”
Ibrahim Baba, another dealer, who spoke to newsmen from Abuja, said DSS and police visited the markets, but made no arrest.
“They came yesterday and today, and said we should sell at N400. Anyone who sells above that will be arrested and detained,” he said.
“For now, the market is just dull, people are buying and selling cautiously.”
Other traders who spoke to newsmen from Alade market, Lagos, said the security agents came to the market, but that “everyone is still buying and selling at will”.
“If you want to sell dollars, I am buying at N440, but I don’t think I want to sell for now,” he said.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has been working on closing the gap between the parallel and the official markets, with little success so far.
The bank facilitated a deal between Travelex, an international money transfer agency and the parallel market, to ensure the gap was closed.
Travelex has been selling to BDCs at 370, giving them a premium to sell at N385 per dollar, a plan that has not worked as much as expected.
A senior CBN official, who is not authorised to speak on the matter, told newsmen, that the CBN is aware of the raid on the “illegal dealings”.