Tin Can Customs seizes another cache of arms …As CG promises hail for smugglers
Some of the seized arms on display at the Enforcement Unit of the command.
Less than five months after the Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service intercepted a total of 661 units of pump action rifles, the command has once again impounded another large cache of arms imported through the port by some unscrupulous importers.
Comptroller General of the service, Col. Hameed Ali, who briefed newsmen on Monday in Lagos, said a total of 1, 100 pieces of pump action rifles imported from Turkey were intercepted and subsequently seized by the operatives of the command.
The CG, who sounded a note of warning to smugglers and importers of prohibited items, vowed that the service under his leadership will do everything humanly possible to fish out anyone who indulges in such acts of sabotage, and particularly those that are remotely connected to this current import with a view to bringing them to book.
It was gathered that the arms laden in a 20-foot container with identification number GESU2555208, was declared as wash hand basis and water closets but was on examination discovered to contain a total of 1, 100 pieces of pump action rifles of different configurations.
They include 600 pieces of Jojef Magnum black pump action, 300 pieces of the Jojef Magnum silver colour of the gun and 200 pieces of the Jojef Magnum plastic single barrel hunting pump action guns, bringing to a total of 1, 100 pieces.
The container came on board a vessel identified as MV Bella Shuttle of January 1, 2017.
The CG, who gave a vivid account of how the container was intercepted and seized said: “On the 6th of September, 2017, operatives of the Intelligence Unit of the service on routine monitoring of activities at the terminals discovered one 20-foot container, which was not previously listed for examination positioned alongside other containers meant to be examined for that day”
“They also observed that the seal of the unlisted container had already been cut and padlocked, a development that made it suspicious and was therefore transferred to the Enforcement Unit of the command for necessary action”.
“The importation of 1, 100 rifles at a time the Nigerian 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 wellbeing of Nigerians”, the visibly perplexed CG also said.
The Customs helms man also disclosed that two suspects have already been arrested and are currently being interrogated comprising one officer of the command, who was alleged to have authorised the cutting of the seal and a clerk at the terminal.
Recall that the current seizure is the third in the series in the last eight months, having seized a total of 661 units of pump action riffles imported from Italy and Turkey around April and another 400 pieces of arms and ammunition and some gas masks imported from the United States sometime in February or thereabout.
The 440 units of pump action guns and other components were concealed in a 20-foot container declared as Plaster of Paris POP, and cement.
The Customs boss argued that the seizure of these items even within the short time is an indication that the service is winning the war against smuggling and importation of prohibited items.