The Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has said it intercepted fake $6m en route to Benin Republic from Nigeria through the border.
The Customs Area Comptroller in charge of the command, Dera Nnadi, while addressing journalists at the command on Thursday, said the currency which is equivalent to N2.7bn was intercepted on Tuesday.
Giving details of the fake currency, he said that dollar notes have the same serial number, adding that two suspects were arrested in connection with the fake dollars.
“On the 31st of January, 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 $6m 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 have the same serial numbers. Besides that, it will be very difficult for you to discover that they are fake. Few people were arrested with regards to this.
He, however, said that the suspects tried to bribe the officers with genuine $150,000 but the officers declined the offer.
Nnadi said the command also intercepted 39,000 litres of Petroleum Motor Spirit with a duty-paid value of N9m about to be taken out of the country.
“Also intercepted were 30 litres each of 1,300 jerrycans of PMS along the creeks. We have two suspects for the fake currency and two suspects for the PMS”
He said the command intercepted six international passports bearing the same pictures but with different names and nationals.
“A few hours later, these other passengers in a different vehicle upon searching them and their baggage, we discovered some international passports. These passports you are 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. It bears the photograph of someone supposedly a European lady but bearing different names in all six passports.
“The same lady also had six international driver’s licences 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 that the country is going through a lot which the military is doing its best to curtail. These developments around here are dangerous trends. The passports were also going out of the country and we were intercepted at Gbatrume,” he explained.
He also said that the command intercepted 550 pieces of donkey skin with a duty-paid value of N11m.
The Seme Customs boss said that the command also intercepted 93 prices of fake herbicide with a duty paid value of N491m.