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Police, SSS, EFCC, Customs hunt for Biafra currency importers

Posted by Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja and Sesan Olufowobi on 2005/08/06 | Views: 434 |

Police, SSS, EFCC, Customs hunt for Biafra currency importers


Security agents drawn from the Nigeria Police, State Security Service, Customs and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have mounted a massive manhunt for importers of Biafran currency.

Security agents drawn from the Nigeria Police, State Security Service, Customs and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have mounted a massive manhunt for importers of Biafran currency.

Security sources said during the week that the security agents were working on information that the outlawed currency was being imported through the borders.

Our correspondent, who visited Seme border between Nigeria and Benin Republic some days ago, learnt from a Customs officer that intelligence report indicated that the currency was being brought into the country in bags by unidentified persons.

According to the officer, who declined to be named, the importers usually conveyed them in small quantities to avoid detection.

The Customs officer said although security agencies were aware of the surreptitious importation of Biafran currency, they had refrained from searching persons coming into Nigeria in order not to breach the ECOWAS convention on free transborder movement.

He said, “It is not true that the money is being spent at the country’s borders. We know that they print the money outside the country and bring it in through the border, especially Seme here. Then they take it to their region (South-East) to spend.”

According to another officer, “Normally, it is when you have more than $5,000 or its equivalent that you declare your cash; and even then, it is voluntary. So, if they have less, they don’t have to declare and if they have more and they decide not to say anything, there is no way we can know about it. If they have this Biafran currency on them, there is no magic by which we can know.”

An SSS source told our correspondent on Thursday that the government was not initially disturbed when the news was first broken in the media but later became uncomfortable when intelligence reports showed that large quantities of the currency were in circulation.

When contacted, the Customs Public Relations Officer, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, confirmed that security agents were on the lookout for those circulating the currency.

Adeniyi said on Thursday, “This is a national issue and the agency has already put all its men manning the approved borders and entry points of the country on red alert to look out for the smugglers and the printers of these currencies.”

Also on Thursday, Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Ighodalo (SP), said, “The Federal Government is investigating the situation. The various security agencies saddled with the responsibility of unraveling the source of the currency are working on it, including the police.”

A team of security agents recently combed parts of Onitsha Main Market on a false tip that it was being printed there.

Members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) penultimate Saturday openly paraded bundles of the currency in a bold march in some parts of Onitsha, urging people to dump the naira for the Biafran pound.

SATURDAY PUNCH, August 06, 2005

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown