– The comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, says the service has ordered a detailed profile of all imports, especially those coming from Turkey
– The customs boss urges Nigerians to rise up and remain vigilant to deal decisively with the enemies of the country
– Ali says the service will continue to subject all containers to 100 per cent examination until 80 per cent of the customs agents abide with global practices
The Tin-Can Island command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted another 2,671 rifles illegally imported into Nigeria.
The guns were alleged to have been imported from Turkey through profiling approach.
The comptroller-general of NCS, retired Col Hameed Ali, told journalists in Lagos on Thursday, September 21 that the seizure was the fourth at the Lagos ports within eight months, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
“Following the increase in the number of 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 containers coming 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 operators have been was consequently directed to quarantine the container for analysis.
“The container was later transferred to the Enforcement Unit of the command where 100 per cent examination revealed 470 pump action rifles,” Ali said.
He said that the Bill of Lading of the container indicated Elbow Plumbing Plastics.
According to him, the importer of the cargo is Great Oil and Gas Ltd and the vessel named “MV Arkas Africa” owned by Hull Blyth.
He said that the NCS would now be responsive and capable of meeting the challenges being posed.
Ali urged Nigerians to rise up and remain vigilant to deal decisively with the enemies of the country, adding that this was what the federal government required all citizens to do.
The comptroller-general assured Nigerians that customs officers were now on alert, following the directive he issued to all Customs area controllers.
Ali said that the management of the NCS had implemented a policy of rewarding good deeds as well as punishment for those who compromised.
He said that he would be having meeting with the ambassador of Turkey in order to rub minds over continuous importation of containers of ammunitions into Nigeria.
Ali said that customs would continue to subject all containers to 100 per cent examination until 80 per cent of the Customs agents abide with global practices.
He said that some innocent importers were being affected as a result of constant false declaration of cargoes.
“We are going to subject all areas of Customs operations to 100 per cent examination to safeguard life of the citizens.
He, however, said that since the container belonged to the same importer of 1,100 refiles intercepted on Sept.11, investigation was on-going to fish out those connected with the container.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service arrested and detained 28 officers working at the Tin Can Island port on Wednesday, September 20, following the interception of over 1,500 rifles, Vanguard reports.
The development comes on the heels of the resolve of the command to fish out and prosecute officers who were part of the scheme to clear the container which brought in the weapons.
We gather that the affected officers are being interrogated to ascertain their level of involvement and many more officers are likely to be detained over the development.
According to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, after the service has conducted a thorough investigation, the detained officers would be charged to court, alongside their civilian collaborators.
However, some of the arrested officers may be released and let off the hook if the investigation proves that they are not culpable; as reports indicate that some of them were only involved in documentation, but were not aware of what was contained in the cargo.