EFCC Cracks Down on International Schools Charging Fees in Foreign Currencies

EFCC places international schools in Nigeria charging tuition fees in foreign currencies under surveillance, aiming to reduce pressure on the naira. The agency sets up a 7,000-man task force to monitor schools and organizations involved in the illegality.

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Quadri Adejumo
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EFCC Cracks Down on International Schools Charging Fees in Foreign Currencies

EFCC Cracks Down on International Schools Charging Fees in Foreign Currencies

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has places, schools, charging, surveillance international schools in Nigeria that charge tuition fees in foreign currencies under surveillance. The move is part of the agency's efforts to reduce pressure on the naira, Nigeria's local currency, which has been in free fall against the US dollar. The EFCC has set up a 7,000-man special task force to monitor schools and other organizations that might be involved in the illegality of charging for services in foreign denominations.

Why this matters: This move by the EFCC has significant implications for Nigeria's economy, as it aims to protect the value of the naira and reduce the country's reliance on foreign currencies. If successful, it could help stabilize the naira and promote economic growth in Nigeria.

Dele Oyewale, EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, confirmed the development, emphasizing that it is illegal to charge in currencies other than the naira in Nigeria. "Yes, everyone knows that it is illegal to charge in other denominations apart from the naira. Whether in Chinese or American currency, any transaction that is not denominated in naira in Nigeria, the EFCC is against it," Oyewale stated. He further stressed that the naira is the symbol of Nigeria's economy and that everything related to the economy must be done in naira.

The EFCC's task force is not limited to monitoring naira abuse alone but extends to the entire economy. Oyewale explained, "The task force is not just to monitor naira abuse alone but for the whole economy. So, the EFCC is working to ensure that those breaking the rules find their way back to the right path so that the wrath of the law will not be on them." The agency has conducted several raids in Abuja, arresting currency traders suspected of speculating against the naira.

In February, the EFCC summoned proprietors of private universities and other schools charging tuition in dollars to curb the free fall of the naira against the US dollar. The agency reiterated that it is illegal for schools, hotels, and firms operating in Nigeria to charge for services in foreign currencies. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has declared its support for the EFCC's move to sanction erring international schools charging in dollars.

Titus Amba, NUT President, noted, "Though I am not meant to speak on this because these schools are private schools. However, it is necessary to note that this is Nigeria, and if you are going to charge for services, it should be in the national currency, which is naira. So, we support the EFCC on its mission." The Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre has urged the government to review its memorandum of understanding with foreign schools and other businesses demanding payment in foreign currencies.

Auwal Rafsanjani, Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre, pointed out, "This cannot happen in the UK, it cannot happen in America, it cannot happen in any serious country. And that is why the economy is suffering because they have destroyed the value of the naira." The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria has also stated that payment of dollars to foreign-owned institutions is unlawful and has urged the EFCC and other relevant agencies to take action against the concerned organizations.

Emmanuel Onwubiko, National Coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, emphasized, "The currency that we use in Nigeria is the naira, and there is no reason why any private institution or any service provider should charge their customers in a foreign denominated currency because that is unlawful." The EFCC's move to monitor international schools and other organizations charging in foreign currencies is a significant step towards reducing the pressure on the naira and strengthening Nigeria's economy.

EFCC continues its efforts to ensure compliance with the law and protect the naira, the effectiveness of the task force in curbing the illegal practice of charging in foreign currencies remains to be seen. The agency's actions have received support from various groups, including the National Union of Teachers and civil society organizations. The government's response to the EFCC's findings and recommendations will play a vital role in determining the future stability of the naira and the overall health of Nigeria's economy.

Key Takeaways

  • EFCC places international schools charging tuition in foreign currencies under surveillance.
  • Move aims to reduce pressure on the naira and promote economic growth in Nigeria.
  • Charging in currencies other than the naira is illegal in Nigeria.
  • EFCC sets up 7,000-man task force to monitor schools and organizations.
  • Various groups, including NUT and civil society organizations, support EFCC's move.