By Kenneth Jukpor
Barely one week after the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) seized 1,100 pump-action rifles at the Tin Can Customs Command, the Customs has announced another set of 470 pump-action riffles intercepted in a 20-foot container.
Following the 1,100 rifles seizure, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Tin Can Command; Compt Bashar Yusuf ordered a detailed profiling of the importer of the 1,100 riffles intercepted, last week, which led to findings that the importer, Great James Oil and Gas Ltd, had another container yet to arrive and 470 rifles were found in the 20-foot container numbered CMAU189817/8 owned by the same importer.
This seizure is the fourth in the series of arms seizure within eight months all in 2017, with a total of 2671 rifles seized.
While showcasing the arms which were entered on the bill of laden as elbow plumbing plastics, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) expressed worry that criminals have become very audacious to think that they would succeed with such illicit deals.
“We must rise up and remain vigilant to deal decisively with the enemies of the nation. As our seaports become increasingly impenetrable, we suspect they may try other entry points. Let me assure Nigerians that the service is presently at critical alert following my directive to all Customs Area Controllers yesterday. We will do all in our powers to further secure this country” Ali said.
Speaking on the investigation, Ali said, “Since this container belongs to the same importer of the 1,100 rifles, the ongoing investigation will be reinvigorated to fish out all those directly or remotely connected with these dangerous arms”
Reacting to pressure from the media that the Customs should have traced the consignment to its destination, the Customs boss said, “As much as we are using intelligence, these criminals also use intelligence. We stopped it because we want to be ahead of them. If the Nigerian Police finds it after it had exited the ports it would be an extremely different story”.
Meanwhile, Ali lamented that the Customs would have to suspend procedures that should enhance ease of doing business at the ports as all cargoes would be subjected to 100 percent physical examination by the Customs.
“70 percent to 80 per cent of what comes into Nigeria is falsely declared but with these activities we have to do 100 percent physical examinations. This hampers the ease of doing business and innocent importers would suffer as a result of the long and strenuous clearance process” Ali noted.
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