By Gboyega Oni
Worried by incessant importations of military hard wears into the country just as the 2019 general elections are fast approaching, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) has inaugurated a high powered panel to conduct an investigation into the matter and unravel the causes with a view to fishing out the perpetrators.
Between 27th July 2018 and 16th August 2018, the Nigeria Customs Service Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘C’ and the Onne Area II Command Port-Harcourt at different times, intercepted a (2X40ft) containers, MRSU 3040288 and MRKU 4909151 found to contain Military Camouflages and other items.
This was contained in a press statement signed by Deputy Comptroller Josep Attah, Public Relations Officer of the Customs.
Inaugurating the panel, CGC Ali the panel became imperative in view of the danger such importation portends to the security of the nation and her citizens as the country is approaching the 2018 general elections, noting that five persons including the importers of dangerous weapons had been arrested.
“Even though preliminary investigations have led to the arrest of five persons including the importer of both consignments, it is imperative that a painstaking investigation is conducted to unravel all those who are remotely connected to the criminal importations with a view to punishing offenders and preventing re-occurrence,” said Ali.
The panel, is headed ACG Sanusi Umar, Zonal Coordinator Zone ‘C’ Headquarters, comprising ACG E,I&I, ACG Bukar Amajam, DC Olomu B.O, AC Okonmah, Mr. J.O Oloworaran – DIA and Barrister T.K Wudapba, NCS Legal Adviser as members.
The panel is expected (i) to investigate through the concerned parties, all alleged breaches of the Customs Import Clearance Procedure as set out in our extant law/statute books, to investigate and establish the full facts of the case in relation to the importation of both containers (MRSU 3040288 and MRKU 4909151), to identify all parties involved in the unholy importations and establish their degree of culpabilities and to profile all importation previously made by the sole importer or his cronies with the intent of discovering if possibly, this has been a trend.
The panel is also to make recommendation to the NCS Management on the way forward with the case based on the investigations made and to liaise with other security agencies, should the need arise during the course of the investigation.
Responding on behalf of the panel members, ACG Sanusi Umar thanked the CGC and members of his management for the assignment and gave the assurance of a very thorough investigation that will leave no stone unturned. He said, as Nigerians and Officers of the NCS, whose personal safeties and professional integrities can be negatively affected by these criminal importations, they will stop at nothing to bring back quality report.