The Airport Committee Special Task Force at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, at the weekend, handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Airport Command three bags containing $2,073,160 and SAR 20,300, seized from two suspects who did not declare the currency to officers on duty at the airport.
According to the Nigeria Customs Service Area Comptroller at the Lagos Airport, Mr Eporwei Edike Charles, the suspects, identified as Mr. Talal Hammoud with passport number A03599105, and Mr Hassan Rmaiti with Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), on duty card number 25009 and the three bags of money have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation and necessary action.
He explained that the foreign currencies were found on the two suspects at the " E" , wing departure area of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
He said the suspects violated regulations of government by attempting to take such amount of money out of the country without declaring the currencies to the Nigeria Customs currency desk officers on duty.
The Customs Area Comptroller explained that the airport committee special task force operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos consist of all security agencies, including, EFCC, State Security Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ( NDLEA), Nigeria Immigration Service, and other security agencies working at the airport.
The airport committee special task force was recently inaugurated by the Federal Government for the monitoring of the operations of security agencies, airlines and other stakeholders at the airport, at check in counters, departure screening areas and arrival halls.
Only last week, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Command of Nigeria Customs Service arrested a passenger with over $320,000 aboard a Qatar Airways flight bound for Doha, in the Gulf region.
According to a statement issued by the Customs, "At about 13 00 hours On November 19, 2012, a passenger by name Onwuekwe Anthony Chidi , with passport number A04086671 was checking in on Qatar Airways , he declared the sum of three hundred thousand and twenty thousand dollars on both forms CDFIA and Customs arrest passenger with $320,000 at MMIA but could not explain the source of the currency nor show adequate prove of his business to the customs officer at the currency desk at the " E" wing departure hall of Murtala Muhammed international Airport, Ikeja, Lagos".
He explained that the passenger only declared $70,000 after which the remaining amount was discovered.
But, when officials carried out search on the textbooks, they discovered that $67,437 was found that was not declared.
He explained that the area command has put in place measures to hand over the passenger to officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.
He said it had become imperative for Customs at the airport to comply with government regulations as it affects foreign exchange in line with the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP C 45 LFN 2004 as amended.
The Customs boss explained that since September 24, 2012 when the office received a letter from the EFCC, it has thereafter put in place a collaborative working arrangement with the command currency declaration officers at the international airport.
He explained that the collaborative efforts has been paying off as many passengers have been restrained from travelling and have been handed over to the EFCC.