(VIDEO, PHOTOS) Milliions In Cash Abandoned At Nigerian Airport. Five large 150kg sacks containing N49m was intercepted by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Kaduna Zonal office, on Tuesday, March 14. According to the EFCC, the sacks were intercepted following a tip off.
The EFCC said:
“During a routine baggage screening, five sacks were sighted unattended and without tags containing fresh bulk items suspected to be money,” the anti-graft agency said in a statement. Upon examination, the bags were found to contain fresh crispy naira notes of N200 denomination in 20 bundles totaling forty million naira and N50 denomination in 180 bundles totaling nine million naira with seal purportedly emanating from the Nigeria Security and Minting Plc as seen in the labeled sealed packs.”
The EFCC said investigation was ongoing “to unravel the culprits behind the attempted illegal movement of the cash”.
Niger Republic has detained a Nigerian carrying 4.6m euros (N1.05bn) in cash at the Diori Hamani Airport in Niamey on his way to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Niger’s National Union of Customs Officers at a press briefing “denounced the request of the Nigerian authorities” to recover the seized money. According to the customs official there had been several similar seizures in the Niger capital from people transferring money from Nigeria, estimating the amount seized as several billions of naira.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials denied knowledge of the confiscation in Niger Republic. Ogbole Ahmedu-Ode, the ministry’s spokesman, said the ministry had not received official communication on the arrest of any Nigerian. He said:
“I am hearing about this incident for the first time from you, we have not received any communication on the matter from any quarters.”
The Nigerien embassy in Abuja could not be reached for comment on Wednesday as calls to the mission’s phone lines failed to connect. A senior official the Nigerian Customs Service told reporters in confidence that the issue had yet to be brought to the attention of the agency.
The official said:
“As we speak now, the matter hasn’t been drawn to our attention. This is a diplomatic matter that has to be treated with caution in order to avoid diplomatic row between both countries. The identity of the person in question has not been established and it is the Nigerian embassy in Niger that would verify that. After that is done, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be notified before other security agencies would be invited on the matter. So, it is not something that the Customs will jump into and start investigating because the Customs in Niger don’t report directly to us in Nigeria.”
Buhari, who took office on May 29 after being elected on promises to fight endemic corruption, has said he believes corrupt officials have stolen around $150 billion from the public purse over the past decade.