Fresh facts have emerged on the interception of 661 pump-action rifles by the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) A, Ikeja of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos Last week.
Investigation have revealed that neither physical examination nor scanning was conducted on the container before it exited the Lagos Port.
However, it was further gathered that the 661 rifles was not the first time containers are exiting Apapa port without conducting examination.
Recall that in May 2016, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Maritime Command Musa Katsina intercepted a truck conveying a 40-foot container that he alleged was moved out of the ports at midnight.
The container when examined contained used tyres that were not declared and used vehicles that were under declared leading to revenue leakages.
Public Relations Officer, Apapa Command of the service, Emmanuel Ekpa said preliminary investigations showed that preliminary investigations have revealed that the containers were not examined before being released by the command.
He said, “This said container was not dropped for examination. I can authoritatively tell you that no examination was conducted and It was not among the list of containers to be examined the day it was released.
“When containers are brought in, it will be brought for examination or scanning to determine what it contained but nothing of such was done on this.”
When asked why it was released by the command when it was not scheduled for examination, he said, “only investigation can reveal why the container was released without scanning or examination,” he told our correspondent.
Meanwhile, clearing agents operating at the Apapa port have accused Customs officers of abetting and aiding containers leaving the port without proper examination.
The Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC) , Ositachukwu Patrick said, “It has always been happening like that, you know that in every twelve their must be a Judas, they have their ways of accomplishing this act, I was the first person that alleged that containers were leaving the port without being examined
“There are lapses in the customs service, sometimes you go there and they would tell you that the server is not working, the government itself is shying away from its responsibilities
“The container did not go through proper procedures, there are officers who aided and abated, the real officers were not aware of the exit of that container.”