The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Command said it has intercepted $8,065,612million (about N2,929,685,309.79billion ) at the airport in 20 sealed wraps.
Comptroller-General of NIS, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), who briefed journalists on the interception at the airport today, explained that the consignment was packed in a coaster bus and loaded in six Bagco bags.
One suspect, he said has been arrested in connection with the sum.
He explained that the consignment was intercepted at about 1200hrs on January 16, 2020, at the E- Wing of the tarmac of the Lagos Airport.
Ali further explained that on Saturday, January 18, 2020, the service took an inventory of the consignment in the presence of the Directorate of State Security, Customs intelligence unit, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing unit, customs police and the suspect where the sum was confirmed.
The Command, he stated was able to intercept the sum through credible information gathered on the day the consignment was supposed to be moved out of the country.
He explained further that the service was conducting an investigation into the consignment, the real owners and cohorts in the attempted smuggling, adding that after a thorough investigation, the fund and the arrested suspect would be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further interrogation.
Ali said that names were written on each wrap of money, which were in $100 denomination.
He, however, noted that it was not a crime to ferry money out of the country, but noted any amount of money in excess of $10,000 must be declared to customs by the owners.
“Currently, the value of the threshold in Nigeria is the equivalent of $10,000 and above. Therefore, all travellers in and out of Nigeria must declare any physical cash in excess of this threshold of $10,000 or the equivalent of other currencies or monetary instruments.
“The question is often asked, why do customs or any agency of government need to know if a private person or company is taking out monies for their personal business out of the country. It is for the reason that illegal criminal activities like international terrorism, drug smuggling, arms proliferation are financed by illicit cash movements outside the recognised financial systems.
“Proceeds from other criminal activities like corrupt enrichments from public treasury are similarly siphoned out of the country in cash. To enforce compliance with the monitoring of cross border cash movement, registers are maintained all approved points of entry and exit, where voluntary declarations are maintained. The declaration is then followed up by EFCC to ascertain any possible link between the cash movers and criminal networks, he said”
Also commenting, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller of MMIA Command, stated that since the command was created in August 2019, it had recorded lots of improvements and promised that it would not relent in its efforts at cleansing the country.
According to him, “The management of customs wanted a better patrol of our airport to ensure laws are followed as regards international travels. One of our bits of intelligence led to the discovery of the latest seizure at the airport.”