October 4, 2023

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How Customs intercepted fake $6m, bursted international passport syndicate at Seme border 

Customs officers reject $150,000 bribe

Operatives of the Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service have intercepted fake United States dollars worth $6million just as it bursted an international passport syndicate operating along the Seme border route.

The fake currency is equivalent of N2.763 billion at exchange rate of N460.52.

Newly appointed Controller of the command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi mni who disclosed this at a press briefing on Thursday said the fake currency which bears same serial number was intercepted when it was been moved out of the country to Benin Republic at Gbaji checkpoint along the Lagos Seme highway.

He said two suspects arrested in connection with the fake currency attempted to bribe officers with $150,000 dollars original currency to allow passage of the fake currency but the offer was rejected by the officers.

The Customs boss disclosed that the command also intercepted six international passports of Malta Republic bearing same photograph of an European lady but with different names.

According to him, the same lady also has six international drivers license bearing her photograph with six different names.

He said the development was worrisome especially with the 2023 general elections around the corner as it indicated an international criminal syndicate that moves across the border.

Speaking, Comptroller Nnadi, who assumed duty barely a week and few days said, “In the last 13 days, the Command recorded milestones in its anti-smuggling operations. Some of the anti-smuggling landmarks by the Command include the seizure of fake $6m USD (equivalent of N2.763billion at exchange rate of N460.52 ) and the arrest of two suspects conveying the fake currency from Nigeria to the Republic of  Benin.

“Two male suspects were arrested in connection with the crime and are in currently in our custody pending prosecution. The arrest was made at Gbaji checkpoint along the Seme corridor on the 31 of January, 2023.

“Also on the 31 of January, 2023 at a about 0530 hours, officers on patrol along Gbetrome base intercepted 6 Maltese International Passports with the same picture of a lady but bearing different names, two Senegalese International Passports, three Togolese International Passports, four Republic of Benin International Passports, one Republic of Niger International Passport and 10 International Driving License of these various countries from two male suspects who are also in our custody pending further investigation.”

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Comptroller Nnadi said the command as part of its anti smuggling operations also seized 1,300 gallons of 30 litres PMS equivalent of 39,000 litres with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N9, 366,45.

How Customs intercepted fake $6m, bursted international passport syndicate at Seme border 
The seized petroleum products

He said the products were seized along the creeks within the review period.

Other items seized include 55 sacks containing 550 pieces of donkey skin with DPV OF N 11,371,511.

“These achievements  so far, were not made on a platter of gold. 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.

He assured that the command will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public on  social/economic implication of smuggling as well as performing statutory function of enforcing compliance in line with government fiscal policies.

He also appealed to parents and guardians residing in border communities to prevail on their children, wards and youths to desist from criminal acts such as smuggling.

“During my courtesy visit to the traditional rulers in various communities Seme Badagry axis. I sought for their support in combating smuggling and urged them to educate their subjects on the menace of smuggling and the need to support security operatives discharging their statutory duties,” he said.

Photo caption:

Controller, Seme Area Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi showcasing the seized fake US dollars during a press conference at the command in Seme on Thursday.


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