By Kenneth Ehigiator
The Murtala Muhammed Airport Command of Nigerian Customs Service yesterday arrested a couple for bringing $1.4 million into the country without declaration.
The agency also interdicted a carton of military camouflage uniform and police bullet proof vests, helmets, handcuff and plates, apparently imported illegally into the country for the 2011 elections.
The couple, who arrived from the United States when they were arrested at the airport, ran foul of the law which states that any amount beyond $5,000 perÂ individual and $10,000 for corporate bodies must be declared at the airport before the money can be taken out or brought into the country.
Customs Area Controller of MMA Command, Mr. Michael Adewole, who disclosed these at a news conference in Lagos yesterday, said the couple, whose identity he did not disclose, declared only $10,000 before the Customs, adding that when searched, they were discovered to have brought in $1.4 million.
Adewole said the money had been impounded and would handed over to the federal government.
â€œThey have committed a double offence because they didnâ€™t declare the money in the U.S., otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to bring the money in, and they lied here.
â€œNow, the money will be seized. They may even be sent to jail,â€ said Adewole, who noted that the Customs Service was doing everything possible to ensure that those who bring in such amount of money are prosecuted even after declaration.
According to him, the couple would not have run foul of the law if they had declared that they had $1.4 million on them.
On the illegal importation of military uniforms into the country, he said the items were illegally brought in to perpetrate fraud during the next elections, adding that the crisis situation in Jos might have been compounded by such illegal imports.
He said the importer of the military wares, still on the run, brought in 37 packages of goods, one of which contained 51 cartons with 198pieces Army camouflage shirts and trousers as well as 48 pieces of military hats.
He said the importer manifested the military wares as spare parts, stressing that the alertness of Customs personnel at the tarmac of the airport made the discovery possible.
Adewole said his office was in touch with office of the Directorate of Military Intelligence to take over the uniforms.
On police items illegally imported into the country, the area controller listed the items to include bullet proof vests, helmets, plates and handcuffs.
â€œWe are on the trail of the importer, and we are trying to transfer the items to the Army and Police respectively,â€ Adewole said, and warned smugglers of dangerous items to stay away from airports across the country.
He said the command had realised N7.11 billion of its N36 billion annual revenue target for the year, which, according to him, represents 78.28% performance.