Eagle-eyed officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, have arrested a man at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, MAKIA, Kano, with 870 Automated Teller Machines, ATM cards and two bank internet tokens.
The man, who was identified as Yahya Saifullahi, 29, was recently arrested aboard a Dubai-bound Ethiopia Airways’ Flight No ET 940 with Passport No. A06694052.
A member of the presidential task force on money laundering and illegal movement of foreign currency, Tukur Ibrahim, who disclosed the arrest of the suspect to Vanguard, said that he was nabbed when immigration officials singled him out for scrutiny.
Tukur Ibrahim disclosed that “the suspect lost his composure and psychological makeup at that moment and on frisking, a total of 870 ATM cards were found on him”.
While noting that the suspect concealed the ATM cards under his groin, Tukur gave a breakdown of the seized banking instruments as follows: Ecobank, 24; GT Bank, 118; Access Bank, 170; Diamond Bank, 71; Sterling Bank, three; Keystone Bank, nine; Skye Bank 34 and UBA Plc, eight.
According to the Immigration official, other confiscated ATM cards also include Wema Bank, three; Zenith Bank, 20; Heritage Bank, 21; Standard Chartered Bank, 10; First Bank, 42; Union Bank, 26; Stanbic IBTC, 30; Unity Bank, 45; Fidelity Bank, 40 and FCMB, 196.
Mr. Ibrahim revealed that the suspect had since been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for further investigation and prosecution.
The number of Nigerians arrested while traveling out of the country with a ridiculously high number of ATM cards, suspected to be the new trend among money launderers, is on the rise.
The trend could be traced to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy, which reviewed downward, the spending limit on the usage of the naira denominated debit cards for transactions abroad, from $150,000 per person annually, to $50,000 per person annually.
The daily cash withdrawal limit on the card was also pegged at $300 per person.