EFCC writes foreign minister, insists payment of embassies in dollars for services illegal


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has told embassies operating in Nigeria that it is illegal for them to collect dollars for services rendered to Nigerians.

The Chairman of EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, said this in a memo he sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar.

The memo, dated May 5, 2024, reads: “I present to you the compliments of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and wish to notify you about the Commission’s observation, with dismay, regarding the unhealthy practice by some foreign Missions to invoice consular services to Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country in United States Dollar.

“This practice is an aberration and unlawful as it conflicts with extant laws and financial regulations in Nigeria.

“Section 20(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 makes currencies issued by the apex bank the only legal tender in Nigeria.

“It states that ‘the currency notes issued by the Bank shall be the legal tender in Nigeria on their face value for the payment of any amount’.

“This presupposes that any transaction in currencies other than the naira anywhere in Nigeria contravenes the law and is, therefore, illegal.

“The refusal by some Missions to accept the naira for consular service in Nigeria and also comply with foreign exchange regulatory regime in fixing the exchange of the cost of their services is not only illegal, but represents an affront on the Country’s sovereignty symbolized by the national currency.

“It undermines Nigeria’s monetary policy and aspiration for sustainable economic development.

“This trend can no longer be tolerated, especially in a volatile economic environment where the country’s macroeconomic policies are constantly under attack by all manner of state and non-state actors.

“In light of the above, you may wish to convey the Commission’s displeasure to all embassies in Nigeria and restate Nigeria’s desire for their operations not to conflict with extant laws and regulations in the country.”

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