The Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has disclosed that it intercepted N6 million wraps of fake US dollars, enroute to Benin Republic from Nigeria through the border.
While addressing journalists at the command on Thursday, the Customs Area Controller in charge of the command, Dera Nnadi, said the currency which is equivalent to N2.7 billon was intercepted on Tuesday.
Giving details of the fake dollars, he said that all the currencies have the same serial number.
He added that two suspects were arrested in connection with the fake dollars.
“On January 31, 2023, Customs officers at Gbaaji checkpoint, intercepted a vehicle carrying two passengers. And upon intercepting them, they discovered these currencies you are seeing here, which are fake US dollars.
“When we counted them, it was worth $6,000,000 in $100 wraps. But it will only take the eye of a trained officer to detect that they are fake. One of the landmarks we discovered was that they bear the same serial numbers.
“Besides that, it will be very difficult for you to discover that they were fake. Few people were arrested with regards to this,” he said.
Nnadi added that the suspects tried bribing the officers with genuine $150,000, but the officers declined the offer.
The Area Controller also said the command aintercepted 39,000 litres of petrol with a duty-paid value of N9 million about to be taken out of the country.
“Also intercepted was 30 litres each of 1,300 jereycans of PMS along the creeks. We have two suspects for the fake currency and two suspects for the PMS,” he said.
He said the command intercepted six international passports bearing the same pictures but with different names and nationals.
“Few hours after this, there were other passengers in a different vehicle, upon searching them and their baggage, we discovered some international passports.
“These passports you’re seeing here are for the Malta Republic. But one unique thing about them is that all the passports, six of them bear the photograph of the same person but with different names.
“The passports were from the Republic of Malta bear the photographs of someone supposedly a European lady but bearing different names for all the six passports.”
“The same lady also had six international drivers’ licenses bearing her photographs but with six different names.
“The significance of this is that we are dealing with a very dangerous syndicate here that moves across the border.
“You all know that the election is around the corner and we also know what the country is going through a lot, which the military is doing its best to curtail.
“These developments around here is a dangerous trend. The passports were also going out of the country and were intercepted at Gbatrume,” he said.
He also said that the command intercepted 550 pieces of Donkey skin with a duty-paid value of N11 million.
Nnadi noted that the achievements recorded were not made on a platter of gold, saying: “It took the painstaking efforts of the officers who spend hours on patrol and surveillance to record the seizures. We wish to reiterate that we will not relent on this effort.”
He said command will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitise and educate the public on social and economic implication of smuggling as well as performing statutory function of enforcing compliance in line with government fiscal policies.