Airport guard arrested with $1.4m


The guard has passed the money through all airport security and scanners.


An official of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Akinyele Adetule, was arrested, over the weekend, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, for being in possession of $1.4 million (N218 million).

The arrest, carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, follows that of Abubakar Tijjani, a bulk cash smuggler intercepted with over $7 million, also at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, on September 27.

The EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said the Commission has seized over $10.2 million (N1.6 billion), in Lagos alone in the last three months. He said the arrest of Mr. Adetule confirmed the suspicion that even airport officials are part of the money laundering syndicate.

According to Iliyasu Kwarbai, Head of Operations of EFCC, the suspect passed all security checks because he was wearing his FAAN identity card, but instead of boarding his flight, he proceeded to make phone calls.

“The suspect is a FAAN security guard. He wore his tag and was thus able to move freely in the airport without drawing any suspicion. He was carrying a bag and it went through the scanner.

“The suspect passed through NDLEA, and Customs and he went to the waiting area; but he started making phone calls instead of proceeding to board his flight. We accosted him and noticed that his bag was heavy.

“When we searched him, we saw the large sum of money, which he said did not belong to him and that he was only trying to telephone the owner who never showed up,” Mr. Kwarbai said.

Mr. Adetula said he was given the money by Ifeanyi Urama, a bureau de change operator, who was recently granted bail by the EFCC after he was arrested with $996 thousand (N155 million). The money allegedly belonged to a yet-to-be- identified person and Mr. Adetula was to help the unknown person get the money past security.

The EFCC said it is surprised that the suspect was able to pass the bag through the scanner without security agents raising the alarm, a move which implies that officials at the airport were beginning to connive with criminals.

Mr. Uwujaren said investigations are ongoing to unravel the complicity or otherwise of the airport officials in the passage of the bag through the various security checks, and the identity of the principal, if any.

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