The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed concern over the increasing activities of Illegal Financial Operators (IFOs), saying it portends a grave risk to public confidence and the stability of the Nigerian financial system.
As a result, the apex bank advised Nigerians to shun unlicensed financial operators offering mouth-watering returns on investments.
Many Nigerians have fallen prey to such firms that offer up to 100% return on investments to unsuspecting people. The firms, usually online, with no physical office, disappear after receiving the investment sums from hundreds of people.
Some of the perpetrators of such firms, including those called wonder banks, have been arrested and prosecuted by relevant authorities.
The CBN, through its Financial Services Regulation Coordinating Committee (FSRCC), advised Nigerians to stop dealing with such firms.
In a statement posted on its website on Monday, the CBN said illegal financial operators lure and defraud unsuspecting members of the public by offering extraordinary returns on investments as bait.
The general public is advised to refrain from dealing with unlicensed or illegal financial operators, who lure and defraud unsuspecting members of the public by offering extraordinary returns on investments as bait.
The statement reads: “The FSRCC in its continuing efforts to end the scourge of IFOs in Nigeria, hereby issues the following advisory:
“The general public is advised to refrain from dealing with unlicensed or illegal financial operators, who lure and defraud unsuspecting members of the public by offering extraordinary returns on investments as bait.
“Members of the public are advised to visit the websites of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other relevant member agencies of the FSRCC to verify the registration and license status of such companies and schemes before investing in them.
“You are also advised to report any individual or entities suspected to be involved in such nefarious activities to the law enforcement agencies.”
It assured that financial regulatory agencies will continue to conduct all necessary due diligence before registering or licensing any operator under their regulatory purview.
“In addition, Agencies shall refer to relevant supervisory authorities for confirmation before finalising on any registration/licensing application.” the statement said.
It encouraged member agencies to engage in regular sensitisation campaigns on the threats posed by the activities of illegal financial operators.