FG adopts diplomatic approach over repeated arms seizure from Turkey
Strong indications emerged that Nigeria’s Federal Government may have adopted a diplomatic approach towards addressing the repeated cases of smuggling of arms from Turkey in Nigeria.
This is sequel to the seizure of yet another cache of arms from Turkey comprising a total of 470 assorted types of pump action riffles illegally imported into the country through the Tin Can Island Port Apapa less than 10 days after 1, 100 units of pump action riffles through the same port.
This latest seizure, laden in a 20-foot container with identification number CMAU189817/8, manifested as plumbing materials came on board MV Arkas Africa, a Hull Blyth vessel, was said to be imported by Great James Oil and Gas Ltd. and was discovered to contain 470 units of Jojefa pump action guns.
Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali, who spoke with newsmen on Thursday in Lagos over the seizure of another consignment of arms by the Tin Can Island Command of the service, said that the Federal Government was worried over the repeated cases of smuggling of arms into the country from Turkey.
Ali, who raised the alarm that Nigeria is under threat, alleged that a Nigerian syndicate based in Turkey, was responsible for the continued influx of arms into Nigeria, a development he said was dangerous for the safety and security of the people.
According to him, top management of the service are billed to meet with the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, with a view to opening up diplomatic channels to address the issue to forestall any disagreement with both countries.
He also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has decided to take up the matter at very top diplomatic discussions with world leaders with a view to checkmating the incessant illegal importation of such firearms, given the current security situation in the country.
It was gathered that the consignment was profiled from the country of import to the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos with the aid of useful intelligence gathering and management, which led to the picking of the container as soon as it arrived
The CG also hinted that the government was trying to unravel the possible reasons for the desperation of some people to smuggle arms into the country at all cost, whether it is for economic or other reasons.
“We are launching investigations into the matter because it has become necessary for the government to know whether it is for economic reasons or political.
Official records show that a total of 2,671 riffles have been illegally imported into the country in the last eight months with more than half of that coming from Turkey.
While warning that the government would not sit back and see the country flooded with illegal arms, he disclosed that all the commands of the service at the air, seaports and land borders have been placed on red alert.
According to him, this syndicate might begin to try to smuggle their arms through other commands since it seems that the Tin Can Island command, where a total of 2, 671 units of riffles have been seized in the last eight months.
He also hinted that the service was also working towards equipping its marine commands with a view to ensuring that these arms were not shipped into the country through the nation’s inland waterways.