A man has been arrested at the Lagos airport with 2,886 Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards just before his flight to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates took off.
lshaq Abubakar Abubakar was picked up by officials of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the departure hall of Murtala Muhamed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos on August 22, and was yesterday handed over to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
Deputy Controller Abdulmumin Bako said the suspect also had four Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards on him when he was intercepted.
Bako said Abubakar, with Passport No. A08333717, from Kano State, was travelling to Dubai on an Emirates Evacuation flight.
“The ATM cards and SIM cards were carefully concealed in a noodles carton by the suspect,” he said.
“The suspect claimed that one Mr Musliu 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.”
Bako pointed out that the suspect claimed that he was due for evacuation and had bought an evacuation flight ticket for his use.
The Lagos Zonal Head, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa said the ATM cards could be used for money laundering or foreign exchange malpractices.
He said, “We have taken over Ishaq Abubakar who is in possession of 2886 ATM cards concealed in a carton of noddle together with four SIM cards. It is for us here to investigate and know whether the conspiracy is for foreign exchange malpractices or money laundering.
“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.
The EFCC said though, it’s not a crime to be with ATM cards but for a person to be in possession of 2886 at a time brings about lot of suspicion and threw up a lot of conspiracy.
“That the ATM cards are of different banks is another conspiracy and that raised a lot of questions that needed to be unravelled.”
Bawa also raised fresh alarm of Nigerians selling their bank accounts to fraudsters saying that has been the latest trend in the last couple of years.
His words, “In the last couple of years, we noticed a new trend whereby Nigerians are selling off their bank accounts to fraudsters. The fraudsters advise them to open bank accounts and they buy them off for as low as N10,000.
“Nigerians should know that anyone buying of their bank accounts is using it for fraudulent transactions and banks also needed to be investigated because that means they aren’t carrying out due diligence such as Know Your Customers (KYC) on respective bank customers,” he concluded.