NDLEA confiscates €325,640; $30,000 at Lagos Airport

National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has announced the seizure of €325,640 and $30,000 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos.

The sum is about N175 million when converted into the Nigerian currency. NDLEA said the money was smuggled from Greece and Austria into the country.

A statement by the spokesman of NDLEA, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, said the seized currencies were concealed inside envelopes and discovered during the inward screening of passengers on a Turkish airline flight.

Ofoyeju said two suspects have been arrested in connection with the smuggled currencies.

Speaking on the seizures, NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, Ahmadu Garba, said the money was found during routine search of passengers.

He gave the names of the suspects as Edos Nicholas, who was found in possession of €279,190, and Hallowell Prince Lovely, found in possession of €46,450 and $30,000.

Besides, chairman of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd.) has directed the director of Assets and Financial Investigation of the agency, Mrs. Victoria Egbase, to take over the investigation.

Abdallah explained that criminal groups seek to conceal the origin of illegally obtained money, noting that it was pertinent for the agency to trace the origin of the money and prevent the introduction of criminal funds into the economy.

The statement hinted that preliminary investigation so far revealed that both suspects are frequent travellers who are the targets of international drug trafficking organisations, stressing that their sources of income must be verified.

He posited that Nicholas claimed to be working in a bakery in Austria, but confessed that the money found on him was given to him by someone.

He confessed: “The money does not belong to me. I was given by different people in Europe to give to their relatives. I have been living in Vienna, Austria, for over 15 years.” He hails from Edo State.

The second suspect, Prince, who also hails from Edo State claimed that the money found on him belongs to people and that he was asked to deliver same to the recipients in Nigeria.

“I live in Athens and I work in an African shop. I have lived there for 12 years. The money belongs to many people and some of them are my friends,” he said.

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