Customs Intercepts Cache Of Arms At Lagos Ports, Detains 2

By Babajide Okeowo

Customs Intercepts Cache Of Arms At Lagos Ports, Detains 2
Adeniyi and other senior customs officers at the Monday briefing

Operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) within the spate of two weeks in July 2023 have intercepted a large cache of arms and ammunition comprising pump action rifles, pistols, magazines, and other live ammunition in two different seaport locations in Lagos and some along Nigeria’s border with the Republic of Benin.

Newly appointed acting Comptroller General of the Service, Adewale Bashir Adeniyi made the disclosure while engaging newsmen in Lagos.

He disclosed that two suspects have been arrested in connection with the seizures and warned that the service would give hell to the smugglers if they fail to turn a new leaf.

According to him, operatives Customs Intelligence Unit CIU during a joint operation with other sister agencies comprising the Nigeria Police, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA and the Department of State Security DSS at the Ports and Terminal Multi-Services Limited PTML, while conducting a physical examination on a 40-foot container, detected the concealment of 10 dangerous arms and various live ammunitions hidden in plastic drums on July 5, 2023.

The concealed arms include three new pump action rifles and one new unit of an armed rifle, six new different makes of pistols, one new millennium G2 pistol, one new Sarsilmaz SAR-9X pistol, and one new Lugger Security-9 pistol.

Others include one new Taurus Banbridge G3C pistol, one new SCCY CPX-2 pistol, and one new Taurus (63 pistols), 14 empty magazines, and 442 rounds of live ammunition.

It was gathered that two suspects, who are also the clearing agents for the consignment identified as Shokunbi Olarewaju of Shooler Global International Limited and Mr. Joseph Nwadiodor, who were supposed to take delivery of the consignment have been arrested and currently helping with the investigations.

The CGC also disclosed that within the same period, the Tin Can Island Command of the Service also in Lagos, following credible intelligence also intercepted one unit of 40-foot container, which was also subjected to 100per cent physical examination with relevant security agencies, which led to the discovery of 18 arms, packets of cartridges and rounds of live ammunition inside a drum.

Details of the seizure include six different makes of pistols comprising two pieces of Sar9 Sarsimarz pistols, one Ruger American pistol and three pieces of Taurus G3C-Bainbridge pistols as well as another 12 pieces of different makes of rifles. They include five pieces of Rz17hd rifles, one piece of Gamo rifle, five pump action rifles and one unit of Rz17 tactical rifle.

Also intercepted in the container were 10 packets of cartridges, two packets of 9mm ammunition, 100 rounds of 9mm Winchester ammunition, one carton of Frontier cartridges, and two packets of Buckshot ammunition.

He further disclosed that during a routine patrol on July 12, 2023 also the Owode-Ajilete axis of Ogun State, Operatives of the Joint Border Patrol Team Sector 2 intercepted an unregistered Toyota Camry loaded with six sacks of charcoal, which were used to conceal three units of pump action rifles with 174 live cartridges. These bring to a total of 31 rifles, which were seized within the first two weeks of July.

It was gathered that the driver of the car, who is believed to have known the content he was conveying and possibly the likely consequences of the action abandoned the car and jumped into the bush in order to evade arrest by the Customs operatives.

  While speaking on the likely implication of these attempts to flood the country with illegal light weapons, especially given the fragile security situation in the country, he said:

“Illicit arms obtained by non-state actors have boosted the proliferation of small arms and ammunitions across the country. This accounts for the increase in violent kidnappings, robberies, and mass killings in society.

“Let me state at this point that the Service has re-strategized its operations while our officers have raised their levels of professionalism and have keyed into the mantra of renewed hope aimed at facilitating legitimate trade. In doing this, we are assuring all compliant traders and importers that they have nothing to fear.

“We have re-injected new tactics to tackle the economic and security menace caused by recalcitrant importers and their agents. The Service’s human resources and logistics are collectively harnessed to combat and prevent economic sabotage. I implore importers and agents to be patriotic by making sincere declarations and to be properly guided by the import/export prohibition lists. I also urge the public to see security as a collective responsibility. We will appreciate information on illegal importation and cross-border movement of dangerous weapons used to create mayhem in our country.”

He however noted that investigations into the various seizure are currently inconclusive but assured that the outcomes of the investigations would be made public while the seized items would be handed over to the relevant security agencies for further action.

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