The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in Ikeja, Lagos, has arrested three men identified as Oscar Okafor, Mahmud Hassan and Sadique Mustapha for the unlawful importation of 49 boxes containing 661 pump action rifles which were concealed in a container conveying steel products and other merchandise goods.
The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col Hameed Ali (rtd.) who disclosed this at a press conference in Lagos yesterday, stated that the arms were cleared at the Apapa Port with the aid of two customs officers who are now under investigation.
He said the arms originated from Turkey and routed through China before they were smuggled into Nigeria and falsely declared as steel doors.
He said the roving team of the NCS’ federal operations unit, while on intelligence patrol on Sunday, January 22, 2017, intercepted a Mark truck with registration number BDG 265 XG, conveying a 1×4 container with number: PONU/825914/3 along the Mile 2, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in Lagos.
The truck, he said, was immediately taken to the premises of FOU Zone A, Ikeja, where a physical examination revealed what was in the container.
While decrying the harm that hard drugs and arms had inflicted on Nigerians over the years, he said: “These rifles are under absolute prohibition, therefore their importation was illegal. Such deadly contravention of the law is even more unacceptable considering the fragile security situation in some parts of the country.
“Already, three suspects have been arrested in connection with this illegal importation. Investigation has already commenced and I have directed that the dragnet should be wide enough to fish out all persons involved in the importation and clearing of the consignment.
“The customs officers involved in the clearance of this container are with the Comptroller, FOU Zone A, Ikeja.”
The seizure, he added, underscored the determination of the NCS to enforce all laws relating to importation and exportation of goods into and out of Nigeria, thereby contributing to the economy, security and wellbeing of the country.
He added: “This feat was no doubt commendable and represents the new normal in the service, where most officers and men are on a daily basis ensuring that illegalities are not allowed unchecked.
“I commend the FOU Zone A Comptroller, all officers and men involved in this great seizure.”
Ali also called on all Nigerians to work with the customs service by giving information that would help in stopping unscrupulous elements from importing harmful products into the country.