For over 7 years Nigerians have experienced various policy update from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). From the banning of forex sale in banks, restriction of travel allowance to a directive regarding an end to sale of forex for academic, travel and medical purposes. This list is not exhaustive. But it does paint in effect the instability in the handling of foreign exchange transactions by the apex bank in the country.
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On the 20th of July 2022, several media outlets did break with news from the CBN regarding the criminalization of Naira to Dollar transactions. At first glance, many may see this as a call for arrest of people who patronize black market for the purchase of dollars. This may seem a legitimate opinion as the government does not recognise such sources. Furthermore, in 2021 the CBN banned the reporting of open market rates for various currencies to the Naira. And there was a threat by the apex body to prosecute online platforms for not complying. Thus prosecution of people who convert Naira to Dollar was taken literally.
Various forex policies over the years has conditioned the behaviour of many. The purpose for requesting forex has been limited. A hand full of justifications for requesting forex which include personal travel allowance, tuition fees, medical and other business related transactions. Other expenses for eligible Nigerians when abroad is not covered. Spending has been restricted. Especially for people requesting currencies for business purposes. So much so it leads people to sources for forex through unrecognized routes.
The clarification of the statement by the Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele criticised the misinterpretation of his comments on the arrest. According to This Day live, the conversion of Naira to Dollar is as pertains to its use for political and election purposes. Further clarification is available: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2022/07/22/cbn-clarifies-stance-on-conversion-of-naira-to-dollar/