By Okezie Nnadi
The Seme Border Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has announced the interception of $6million bills in fake currency, even as it has bursted an international passport syndicate operating along the borders.
CustomsArea Controller of the Seme Command of Customs, Comptroller Dera Nnadi while speaking at a press conference on Thursday said the seizure was made on the 31st of January 2033 at Gbaji checkpoint, where the officer in charge, Musa Istifanus Datsok, is holding forte.
According to the new graduate of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, the smugglers promised to bribe the customs officers with $150,000 original currency in order to allow the fake currently passage.
Nnadi described the seizure as a disturbing and dangerous trend, considering the fact that the general elections were around the corner.
He added that four suspects had been arrested in connection with the seizures.
Also on the 31st of January 2023 at a about 0530 hours, he said officers on patrol along Gbaji base intercepted six Maltese International Passports with the same picture of a lady but bearing different names.
Two Senegalese, Three Togolese, four Republic of Benin, one Republic of Niger and 10 international driving licenses of these various countries from two male suspects who are also in custody, pending further investigation, he disclosed.
Also arrested and seized were 1,300 by 30 litres jerry can of PMS equivalent 39,000 litres roughly over one fuel tanker of PMS with duty paid value of N9, 366.45 million only. The products were seized from along the creeks, the CAC stated.
Other items seized included 55 sacks containing 550 pieces of donkey skin with Duty Paid Value of N11.371.511. The significance of the seizure is that it shows how much our endanger species are being eroded by unpatriotic elements.
Speaking, he said “Custom officers a the Gbaji checkpoint intercepted a vehicle carrying two passengers and upon searching them, we discovered fake $6m US dollar bills in fake currency.
“It would only take the eagle eye of a trained officer to detect that they are fake. Some of these currencies bear the same serial number, and besides that, it will be very difficult for you to identify them as fake.
Two people were arrested in respect of this illicit act.
“Similar to this, we also arrested just few hours after this, two other passengers in a different vehicle and upon searching them, we discovered some international passports and these passports are from Malta Republic.
“All the six passports we got bears the same photograph of the same person, but with different names.
“The passport belongs to the republic of Malta, but bears the photograph of someone who appears to be an European and bearing different names for all the six passports.
“The same lady also has six international driver’s licenses bearing her photograph with six different names. The significance of this shows that we are dealing with a very serious syndicate that moves across the borders” Comptroller Nnadi stated.
Maritme Connect reports that there are six other countries across the border; Niger Republic, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
Nnadi said there is a suspicion that this international syndicate is using these passports to move across from one border to another country with a different identity.
“We suspect that it is a syndicate that is involved in cross border criminality. We also know that the election is around the corner and with this development, it is a dangerous trend.
“For the currency we have two suspects and for the international passports we also have two suspects”
Also speaking on the seizure, the Controller, Seme Command of Nigeria Immigration Service, Dr M.C Dike said the passport must be related to an international syndicate.
“It is possible for you to have a dual nationality, but from his explanation, it is clear that the suspects are international syndicates indulged in criminal behaviours.
“The seizure and the amount of money that have being seized marvels me. We are talking about billions of naira. These are criminals moving across the borders and this is the implication for us” he said