The Tin-Can Island Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted 2,671 pump action rifles imported from Turkey belonging to same importer of 1,100 refiles intercepted on September 11, in what the Comptroller-General of the Service, Retired Col. Hameed Ali, said was the “fourth at the Lagos port within eight months”.
Ali said, “following increased arms seizures in recent times, the Customs Area Controller of Tin-Can Port, Comptroller Yusuf Bashar, ordered a detailed profile of all imports, especially those coming from Turkey.
“Customs decided to follow profiling approach of 100 per cent examination on containers, especially those from Turkey.
“Tin-Can Customs command intercepted another 20ft container No CMAUI817/8 containing 470 pump action rifles immediately the container landed from the port of origin to Nigerian ports. “The terminal operator was consequently directed to quarantine the container for analysis.
“The container was later transferred to Enforcement Unit of the command where 100 per cent examination revealed it contained 470 pump action rifles.”
He disclosed that the Bill of Landing of the container indicated Elbow Plumbing Plastics.
According to Ali, the importer of the cargo is Great Oil and Gas Ltd and the vessel is named “MV Arkas Africa” owned by Hull Blyth.
The Customs boss urged Nigerians to “remain vigilant to deal with enemies of the country”, adding that Customs officers were now on alert, following the directive he issued to customs area controllers on Wednesday.
He announced that he would meet with the ambassador of Turkey to discuss the continuous importation of containers of ammunition into Nigeria, assuring that Customs would continue to subject all containers to 100 per cent examination “to safeguard lives of citizens.
“Customs has to go beyond examination because none of the importers has come to pay duties on those vehicles intercepted in August.
“Some of the vehicles are customised. What we are after is to collect duties on any vehicle coming into the country.
“Section 147 of Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) gives right to Customs to enter any premises even without search warrant.
“Also, Section 158 of CEMA gives Customs the right to stop and search at any time”, Ali said.
This is coming barely days after the Customs revealed another seizure of 475 rifles.
Many have expressed worries over the recent discoveries, calling for improved surveillance, while also pressing for exhaustive investigation to discover and penalize any guilty person or group where applicable.
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