Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the Seme Border Command rejected $150,000 original currencies as bribe after they intercepted over $6million fake bills and an international passport syndicate operating along the border route.
The Area Controller of the Seme Border Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, mni, revealed this during a press conference at Seme, earlier today.
Going by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) exchange rate of N460.52, the fake currencies seized on Tuesday at Gbaji checkpoint, is equivalent to N2.763billion.
His words: “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 $6million (equivalent of N2.763 billion 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.”
“Also on the 31 of January, 2023 at a about 0530 hours, Officer on patrol along Gbetrome base intercepted Six (6) Maltese International Passports with the same picture of a lady but bearing different names. Two (2) Senegalese International Passports, Three (3) Togolese International Passports. Four (4) Republic of Benin International Passports. One (1) Republic of Niger International Passport and Ten (10) International Driving License of these various countries from two male suspects who are also in our custody pending further investigation.”
He also noted that the Command also arrested and seized 1300 gallons of 30 liters PMS equivalent to 39,000 liters with duty paid value of N9,366,450 only, adding that the products were seized from along the creeks.
Expressing delight at the high level of integrity of the Customs officers who facilitated the seizures, Comptroller Nnadi stressed that he would write to the Customs management to reward their exemplary conduct.
Speaking on the non-functional scanners and weighbridge at the Seme Border post, the Customs boss stated that his predecessor had made several interventions on the issue, even as he assured that the challenge will be communicated to the Customs management and the Ministry of Finance.
Also speaking on the seizures, 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
Meanwhile, the Customs boss stated that the Command will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public on social/economic implication of smuggling as well as performing statutory functions of enforcing compliance in line with government fiscal policies.
“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,” Nnadi remarked.
Industry observers, however, have expressed delight at the significant attainment of Customs at the border post barely a fortnight after the posting of Comptroller Dera Nnadi, mni, to the Command.
Comptroller Nnadi, who recently completed an 11-month training at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, stressed that the Seme border will be a gateway to facilitate legitimate trade anchored on inter-agency collaborations.