By Gboyega Oni
The Nigeria Customs Service, TinCan Island Port Command, Lagos, Nigeria said it seized on September 6, 2017 a container with number GESU2555208 loaded with 1100 riffles being the second time in eight months that such a seizure would be made.
Addressing the press in Lagos, Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali stated that the container, which is 1x20ft by size, was discovered by the Intelligence Unit of the Service while monitoring activities at the terminals and noticed that the container, not listed for examination, was positioned with other containers for the day’s examination.
The Unit, said the Customs boss, also observed that the seal of the container had already been cut and padlocked thus subjecting it to suspicion and was immediately transferred to the Enforcement Unit.
Expressing worry over re-occurrence of importation of arms and ammunition into the country when the nation is not at war, Ali said the riffles were false fully declared as wash hand basins and water closets but after a thorough examination on September 7, 2017, it was discovered to be 600 pieces of Jojef Magnum Black Pump Action Riffles, 300 pieces of Jojef Magnum Silver Pump Action Riffles and 200 pieces of Jojef Magnum Plastic Single Barrels Hunting Gun Pump Action Riffles. The container was ferried into Nigeria by a vessel with a name MV Bella.
Ali said the audacity of those behind the importation calls for collective and all round concern of all stakeholders particularly shipping companies and terminal operators, charging them to support the Service to nip in the bud all attempts to smuggle such dangerous items into the country.
He informed that one officer of the Service who allegedly authorized the cutting of the seal and the terminal clerk had been arrested and are undergoing investigation.
“Importation of 1100 riffles at a time when the nation is undergoing some security challenges is a clear indication that there are indeed some elements who do not believe in the unity, peace and well-being of Nigerians.
“This particular seizure being the third in the series of arms seizure within 8 months of this year presents an all time high of the triumph of Nigeria Customs Service over evil forces.
“The two previous cases of 661 pump action riffles from Apapa Port and 440 pump action riffles from this command seized earlier in the year are already in court. We look forward to justice being served to deter other would-be arm smugglers.
“Nigeria Customs Service under my leadership will do all that is possible to fish out all those remotely connected to this devilish importation. We shall bring them to justice,” Ali vowed.
Commending the Customs Intelligence Unit operatives for a job well done, CG Ali said “seizure such as this is a testimony to the fact that a well reformed and intelligence driven Nigeria Customs Service will better serve the interests of the nation. The present management will continue to reposition and fine-tune operational strategies of the Service in line with the Federal Government’s drive towards new and better ways of serving Nigerians.”