Customs announced yesterday another shocking discovery – 1100 rifles – in Lagos.
The guns, concealed in a 20-foot container with number GESU2555208, were seized by the Area Controller, Tin-Can Island Customs Command, Mr Bashar Yusuf .
The importer declared the prohibited items as wash hand basin and water closets. But after the suspected container was transferred to the Enforcement Unit of Tin-Can Command and examined, the items inside the container were found to be guns.
Speaking with reporters in Lagos yesterday, Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Col. Hameed Ali (retd) said the guns were shipped into the country from Turkey.
Col. Ali told reporters that a senior officer of the service who allegedly authorised the cutting of the seal on the container and one of the clerks working in the terminal where the container was discharged have been arrested. They are undergoing investigation.
A Vessel, MV Bella Shuttle, Col. Ali said, brought the 600 Jojef Magnum Pump Action Rifles, 300 Jojef Magnum Silver Pump Action rifles and 200 Jojef Magnum Plastic Single Barrels Hubting gun pump action rifles into the country.
The seizure, the Comptroller-General said, is the third in eight months. He praised the “dedicated officers and men” for their triumph over those who “do not wish this country well”.
Ali warned that any Customs officer involved in the release of suspected containers would, henceforth, be arrested, paraded the way the police parade suspected criminals and charged to court.
“The audacity of these criminals to think that they can succeed in smuggling such quantity of weapons into the country calls for all-round responsibilities. Shipping agencies and terminal operators must wake up to support the Customs to nip in the bud attempts to smuggle such dangerous items into the country.
“As you may already be aware, the previous cases of 661 pump action rifles from Apapa and 440 pump action riles from this command seized earlier in the year are already in court. W.e look forward to justice being served to deter other would-be arms smugglers.
Ali described the seizure as a testimony that a well-reformed and intelligence driven Nigeria Customs Service “will better serve the interest of the nation”.