The Deputy Controller, MMIA command, Abdulmumin Bako, told journalists at a briefing that four Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards were also intercepted with the suspect.

According to him, the suspect, one lshaq Abubakar with Passport Number A08333717 from Kano State, was intercepted when he was travelling to Dubai via Emirates flight.

“At about 1145 hours on Aug. 22, at the departure hall gate ’B’ of the MMIA. Abubakar with Passport Number A08333717 from Kano State, travelling to Dubai via Emirates flight was intercepted with 2,886 ATM Cards of various banks and 4 sim cards by our officers on duty.

“The ATM cards and sim cards were carefully concealed in a noodles carton by the suspect.

The suspect claimed that one Mr Musiliu was assigned to him to facilitate his movement through the checks at the airport by one Mr Suleiman but due to the diligence of our Officers who insisted on conducting physical examination, revealed the concealment,” he said.

He added that the suspect and the items would be handed over to the EFCC for further investigation as directed by the Comptroller General of Customs.

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Bako pointed out that the suspect claimed that he was due for evacuation and had bought an evacuation flight ticket for his use.

The Customs Legal Adviser, Mr Smart Akande, noted that handing over the suspect to EFCC showcased agency collaboration as customs does not have the jurisdiction to prosecute but to arrest.

“What we have here is the case file, ATM cards and the noodles used in concealing the ATM cards and we are handing them over to EFCC for further investigation and prosecution,” he said.

 From right custom legal adviser, Mr Akande and EFCC Lagos head, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa. [NAN]
From right custom legal adviser, Mr Akande and EFCC Lagos head, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa. [NAN]

The Zonal Head, EFCC, Lagos, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa said that the ATM cards would be used for money laundering, adding that investigation would start in ernest to unravel whether there was a conspiracy or not.

“We have taken over Abubakar, who is in possession of 2886 ATM cards concealed in a carton of noodle, together with 4 sim cards to investigate and know whether there is conspiracy, or foreign exchange malpractices.

“We are also to determine whether banks or bankers are involved in this crime. We will investigate and anyone found wanting will be prosecuted alongside the suspect."

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Bawa said that having more than one ATM card is not a crime but for someone to be arrested for being in possession of 2,863 at a time brings about lot of suspicion and its conspiracy itself.

He added that the cards being from different banks also raised suspicion.

Bawa also raised alarm of Nigerians selling their bank accounts to fraudsters, adding that in the last couple of years, that had been the trend among Nigerians.

“In the last couple of years, we notice a trend whereby Nigerians are selling their bank accounts to fraudsters as they advise people to open bank accounts and they buy from them as low as N10,000.

“They should know that anyone buying your bank account is using it for fraudulent transactions and banks also need to be investigated because that means they are not carrying due diligence such as Know Your Customers (KYC) on the respective bank customers."