Tin Can Customs intercepts over 300, 000 rounds of ammunition
Customs Area Controller, Tin Can Island Port Command, Comptroller Musa Abdullahi
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigeria Customs Service Tin Can Island Port Command has again impounded two containers laden with over 300,000 live arms ammunitions, between July 9 and 10, 2018, less than one year after it seized a similar consignments illegally imported from Turkey.
A statement by the Spokes Person of the command, Uche Egesieme, said that the first, which is a 40-foot container discharged at terminal ‘C’ II, of Ports and Cargo with container number TGHU 60143419 was scheduled for examination but was discovered to be laden with arms and ammunitions and had to be transferred to the Enforcement Unit of the command on the orders of the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Musa Abdullahi.
It was further gathered that on full examination, it was found to contain a total of 150 rounds of live ammunitions and 28 pieces of jack knife of various sizes, import of which contravene schedule Four of Absolute Import Prohibition List and No. 17 of the Common External Tariff as well as section 46 of the Customs and Excise Management Act CEMA, Cap C45 LFN 2004.
One suspect has been arrested in connection with the import and is currently being detained alongside the container and exhibits at the Enforcement Unit of the command, even as investigations are ongoing.
The statement also said that on July 10, 2018 at the Five Star Logistics Terminal during a routine tally operations, officers and men of the command while vehicles were being offloaded from a Roll-On-Roll-Off vessel MV Glovis Courage with voyage number: 036 discovered a black bag on an unpacked Ford Edge Sports Utility Vehicle SUV with chasis number 2FMDK48C98BA05947.
It was however gathered that on examination, the bag was said to container a total of 145 rounds of 38MM Calibre live ammunitions, 92 rounds of nine MM Calibre live ammunitions and two rounds of 7.62MM Calibre live ammunitions.
Others include11 cartridges of live ammunitions, 12 pieces of expended empty shells of various calibres and one magazine.
It was not clear whether any arrest was made in connection with this seizure, even as the vehicle and the exhibits have also been deposited with the Enforcement Unit pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
The command had in May last year impounded a large cache of arms imported into the country through the port numbering over 440 pieces of pump action riffles of various categories and species including the single barrel types, were made of the magnum brand and other components were concealed in a 20-foot container declared as Plaster of Paris POP, and cement and were said to be manufactured in the United States and Italy but imported from Turkey., few months after it made a similar seizure of 600 arms and ammunition.
Comptroller General of the service, Col. Hameed Alli had while inspecting the seized arms, sounded a note of warning to importers of such dangerous products to look elsewhere, arguing that the interception and seizure of the consignments was an indication that it is no longer business as usual since the service would continuously live to its responsibilities.
Stakeholders have attributed these rampant cases of arms smuggling into the country to the upcoming 2019 elections, as they believe that politicians are behind such illegal imports and would use same to arm their tugs for the purpose of winning elections at all costs.