Operatives of Tin-Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Monday, September 11, smashed a syndicate that specialized in smuggling weapons into the country, discovering a consignment of 1,100 loaded in a 20-foot container.
Here are 11 details about the worrisome scenario as complied by encomium.ng
1] The Comptroller-General of NSC, Hameed Ali, who paraded the arms at Tin Can port command yesterday, disclosed that the rifles were discovered in a 20-foot container with number GESU2555208 which originated from Turkey. He said two people had been arrested – the customs officer that authorised the cutting of the seal and a terminal clerk.
2] The customs had in January seized 661 pieces of guns, which were found in 49 boxes. And in May, the operatives intercepted 440 pieces of assorted guns, which originated from Turkey and were concealed inside a 40-foot container.
3] Ali, who was apparently worried about the incessant smuggling of arms in recent months, said the two cases were already in court, “while the service looks forward to justice being served to deter other would-be arms smugglers.” He expressed displeasure that all the three containers of arms intercepted by the service this year were from Turkey.
4] Other stakeholders in the maritime industry have also raised concerns over the cargoes from Turkey. Some advised the Federal Government to urgently halt general importation from Turkey, saying recent events indicated that the country was contributing to insecurity in Nigeria.
5] Giving details on how the 20-foot container was intercepted, Ali said it was falsely declared to contain wash-hand basins and water closets. “On the 6th of September, 2017, operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service intelligence unit on a routine monitoring of activities across the terminals discovered a 1x20ft container with number GESU2555208, which was not previously listed for examination, positioned with other containers for the day’s examination.”
6] The Chief Executive Officer, Ships and Ports, Bolaji Akinola, had earlier urged the Federal Government to ban importation from Turkey. He said: “I will suggest that government should halt all manner of importation from Turkey and institute a thorough investigation both at the diplomatic and intelligence levels.”
7] According to Akinola, the arms should have been discovered in Turkey while examining the cargo as it is done in every country, but this was not done in these cases, thereby raising suspicion. The President, International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA), Sam Onyemelukwe, urged the customs to get to the root of the matter and allow the law to take its course on the culprits.
8] He said: “Nobody should be seen as above the law. They must be allowed to face the music in order to serve as a deterrent to others that may be interested in such an illicit trade. “To a security expert, Ona Ekhomu, the development has a dire security implication for the country. He said the customs would have to re-strategise to curtail the menace.”
9] Upon thorough examination, the container was discovered to contain 600 pieces of Jojef Magnum Black Pump action, 300 pieces of Jojef Magnum Silver Pump action and 209 pieces of Jojef Magnum Plastic Single Barrels Hunting Gun.
10] This is especially now that the period of politics is inching closer, while militancy, herdsmen invasion, hate by ethnic groups, kidnapping and robbery, among others, are on the rise.
11] Ekhomu urged the Federal Government to register a protest to the Turkish authority to ensure that some foreign collaborators were not forging alliance with the locals in Nigeria to destroy the country.
– Akinola Eniola for encomium.ng