A Nigerien Customs official alleged that there had been several similar seizures in Niamey from people trafficking money from Nigeria
Various reports reveal that the police in Niger Republic have arrested a Nigerian man carrying 4.6 million Euros (N1.05 billion) in cash.
According to the Punch Newspapers, the man was arrested at the Diori Hamani Airport in Niamey, the capital of Niger, on his way to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Reactions to the story have varied so far, with some Nigerians saying the incident was just a stunt to promote the image of the Buhari government and divert attention from the heated debates surrounding the Presidents recent appointments.
Per the Punch report, Nigerien police said they suspected that the arrested man was fleeing with the money so as to avoid being caught by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, which has been on a vibrant anti-corruption campaign since assumption of office on May 29.
The report further say the Nigerien Police also expressed concerned over apparent upsurge in the number of Nigerians trafficking huge sums of money in cash through the neighbouring country.
The report also say police in Niger are already working on the suspicion that the money traffickers have accomplices in the country.
In an interesting turn of events however, the Nigerian authorities on Wednesday claimed ignorance of the money seizure in the neighbouring country even though the Nigerien Customs Officers have reportedly refused to repatriate the seized cash to Nigeria.
According to Nigeria Communications Week, a media report in Niger on Saturday said the National Union of Customs Officers at a press briefing “denounced the request of the Nigerian authorities” to return the seized money.
The media report reveals that the Customs official alleges that there had been several similar seizures in Niamey from people trafficking money from Nigeria, putting the amount that has been seized at several billions of naira.
The official also said the seized money had been mainly in dollars, euros and pounds sterling, asking the Nigerian authorities to allow the Customs officials to do their job without interference.