By Jerry Aguigbo
The Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted a concatenation of smuggled and concealed arms and ammunition from various Customs Commands and Units. The Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Compt. Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, who made this known when he addressed the press Monday, at the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’ Lagos.
Speaking to newsmen, while displaying the high caliber weapons and ammunition, the Ag. CGC said, “…Pursuant to this commitment, I stand before you today to highlight the recent achievements of the NCS in our ongoing efforts to suppress smuggling and safeguard national security. Some of our dedicated and diligent officers uncovered some smuggled arms and ammunition while on duty at various Commands and formations. On the 5th of July 2023, during a joint operation with the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Security, the National Drug Law Enforcement and Administration, and the Customs Intelligence Unit at the Ports Terminal and Multi Services Limited Command, a thorough physical examination of a 40ft container was conducted. The examination revealed the concealment of 10 dangerous arms and various rounds of live ammunition inside plastic drums. The details are:
3 new Pump Action rifles and one new unit of an armed rifle,
6 new different makes of pistols. One new millennium G2 pistol. One new sarsilmaz SAR-9X pistol.
One new Lugger Security-9 pistol.
One new Taurus Banbridge G3C pistol. One new SCCY CPX-2 pistol, and
One new Taurus (63 pistol).
Others are: 14 empty magazines, 442 rounds of live ammunition
The clearing agent, Mr Shokunbi Olanrewaju of Shooler Global International Ltd and Mr Joseph Nwadiodor, who was expected to take delivery of the container, are currently detained as suspects in connection with the seizure.
Similarly, within the same period, the Tincan Island Port Command of the Service, while acting on credible intelligence; a 1x40ft container was also subjected to 100% physical examination with the relevant security agencies at the ports. The physical examination uncovered 18 arms, packets of cartridges and rounds of live ammunition inside plastic drums. The details are: 6 different makes of pistols
2 Sar9 Sarsilmarz Pistols,
1Ruger American Pistol and 3 Taurus G3c – Bainbridge Pistols).
12 different makes of riffles,
5 Rz17hd Rifles,
1 Gamo Rifle,
5 Pump Action Rifles And
1 Rz17 Tactical Rifle.
10 packets of cartridges, 2 packets of 9mm ammunition,
100 rounds of 9mm Winchester ammunition, 1 carton of Frontier cartridges,
2 packets of Buckshot ammunition.
Again, during a routine patrol along Owode/Ajilete Axis of Ogun State by officers of the Joint Border Patrol Team Sector 2, on Wednesday 12 July 2023, intercepted an unregistered Toyota Camry loaded with six sacks of charcoal, which was used to conceal three (3) pump action riffles with 174 live cartridges.
The driver of the vehicle, who knew the content he was conveying vis-a-vis the attendant consequences of his action before the law; jumped into the bush and escaped arrest.
In summary, a total of 31 rifles were intercepted within the first two weeks of July 2023.”
Investigation into the seizures according to Compt. Adeniyi, is inconclusive. “The outcome of our investigations together with the seizures will be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further investigation and prosecution,” he stated.
Continuing, he said, “Illicit arms obtained by non-state actors have boosted the proliferation of small arms and ammunition 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 urged the public to see security as a collective responsibility. We will appreciate information of illegal importation and cross border movement of dangerous weapons used to create mayhem in our nation,” he pleaded.