- Compt. Dera Nnadi of the Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (front), and Controller, Seme Command of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Dr M.C Dike, inspecting some of the seized contraband items at Seme boarder…Thursday
By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Seme Customs Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said its men intercepted fake $6 million bills (about N2.7 billion at the official rate of N460) at Gbaji in Lagos.
The Area Controller, Compt. Dera Nnadi, who addressed newsmen at Seme on Thursday, said the fake dollar bills were intercepted at a checkpoint at Gbaji on Monday, and two suspects arrested in connection.
According to him, the officers on duty resisted the smugglers, who had promised them a bribe of real $150,000 for free passage.
Nnadi said the patrol team also burst an international passport syndicate at Gbetrome Base, along the border, at about 5.30am on Monday. He revealed that six Maltese International Passports with picture of the same lady but different names were found with them.
Also found on two male suspects now in custody and being investigated were two Senegalese International Passports, three Togolese International Passports, four Republic of Benin International Passports, a Republic of Niger International Passport and 10 international driver’s license of these various countries.
Also seized were 55 sacks containing 550 pieces of donkey skin with Duty Paid Value of N11.4 million, and 1,300x30ltr jerry cans of PMS (about 39,000 liters) with DPV of N9.4 million, seized along the creeks.
Nnadi explained that “Customs officers at Gbaji checkpoint intercepted a vehicle carrying two passengers and upon searching them, we discovered fake $6 million 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 – from Malta Republic.
“All the six passports we got bear 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 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 is that we are dealing with a very serious syndicate that moves across the borders.”
According to Nnadi, this international syndicate is suspected to be “involved in cross-border criminality. We also know that the election is around the corner and with this development, it is a dangerous trend.
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,” Dike stated.
“The seizure and the amount of money seized marvel me. We are talking about billions of naira. These are criminals moving across the borders and this is the implication for us.”