Nollywood Media | 5 February 2011 06:21 CET

SSS seizes N1.7 billion cash at Lagos Airport .

By Geoffrey Ekenna

Who owns this huge money? Ten million American dollars and one million Euros, equivalents of Nigeria's N1.7 billion? In cash? And being moved out of Nigeria by four nondescript persons with no social or business pedigree?

Could this huge sum be a proceed of money laundering by some politicians or funds being funnelled to some sources for terrorist activities? These are questions that officials of the State Security Services (SSS) are currently seeking answers to.

Some SSS officials arrested the four men, believed to be of Northern origin, while they were attempting to board a flight to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The money was kept in sacks, commonly called Ghana Must Go bags. When the foursome could not explain how they came about the money and the purpose for which it was meant, the SSS officers promptly placed them on arrest and handed them over to officers of the Police Command at the Airport.

The Inspector General, Mr. Hafiz Ringim yesterday ordered a Commissioner of Police to lead investigation into the money-cache.

The chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri has also sent a team of her officials to get to the root of thge matter, which is within the purview of her organisation, since it borders on suspicion of money laundering and terrorism fund.

A source said that the four men, who looked “ordinary”, could not explain what they were doing with such huge sums of money, even as they claimed to be on their way to the United Arab Emirates.

It was further gathered that when the money was brought out from the bags and counted, the total sum was about $10m (N1.5b) and one million Euros about N205m.

Said a source: “You know that there has been serious suspicion that some politicians and even governors, move money out of the country when the allocations from the Federal Allocation comes. This large amount could be one of such. It is also possible that the money is for some other activities that are terrorism related. You know this period, where there is crisis all over the country, anything could happen, really.”

While Nigerian Compass on Saturday could not confirm from Police authorities, the spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi confirmed that his commission was aware of the development. According to him, “The EFCC is aware of the matter and we believe it is witin the purview of the EFCC to unravel the source of the money. We are already investigating the matter and would make it public soon”

It was further learnt that the suspicion of security agencies on the source of the money was not unrelated with the crises that have become the lot of some parts of Northern Nigeria in the past one year and the incessant bomb blasts in the country recently.

While Borno State has been witnessing mayhem from a religious sect, Boko Haram, Jos in Plateau State has become a shadow of itself, over internecine wars, that border on both ethnic and religious reasons.

Between October 1 and December last year, Abuja, the once peaceful Federal Capital Territory, has witnessed two separate multiple bomb blasts that has tens of persons killed. That is in addition to similar blasts in some other parts of the country.

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