The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced that it had intercepted 31 rifles within the first two weeks of the month, which were shipped in from United States.
The acting Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, at a news conference in Lagos today, July 16, said that the operation was carried out by some dedicated and diligent officers.
“On July 5, 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 was conducted.
“A thorough physical examination of a 40 ft container was conducted. The examination revealed the concealment of 10 dangerous arms and various rounds of live ammunition inside plastic drums.
“The details are: 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.
“Others are one new Lugger Security-9 pistol, one new Taurus Banbridge G3C pistol, one new SCCY CPX-2 pistol, and one new Taurus (63 pistol), 14 empty magazines and 442 rounds of live ammunition.”
Adeniyi said that the clearing agent, Shokunbi Olanrewaju of Shooler Global International Ltd., and one Joseph Nwadiodor, expected to take delivery of the container, are currently detained as suspects in connection with the seizure.
Similarly, he said that within the same period, the Tincan Island Port Command of the Service, while acting on credible intelligence; a 1x40ft container was subjected to 100 per cent physical examination with the relevant security agencies at the ports.
He said that the physical examination uncovered 18 arms, packets of cartridges and rounds of live ammunition inside plastic drums.
Adeniyi listed the details as: six different makes of pistols, two Sar9 Sarsilmarz Pistols, one Ruger American Pistol and three Taurus G3c – Bainbridge Pistols.
“Others are 12 different makes of riffles, five Rz17hd Rifles, one Gamo Rifle, five Pump Action Rifles and one (1) Rz17 Tactical Rifle.
“Also included are 10 packets of cartridges, two packets of 9mm ammunition, 100 rounds of 9mm Winchester ammunition, one carton of Frontier cartridges, two packets of Buckshot ammunition.”
Adeniyi said that during a routine patrol along Owode/Ajilete Axis of Ogun State by officers of the Joint Border Patrol Team Sector 2, on July 12, intercepted an unregistered Toyota Camry loaded with six sacks of charcoal, used to conceal three pump action riffles with 174 live cartridges.
He said that 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.
“Investigation into the seizures is inconclusive. The outcome of our investigations together with the seizures will be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further investigation and prosecution.
“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,” Adeniyi said.
He said that they had re-injected new tactics to tackle the economic and security menace caused by recalcitrant importers and their agents.
Adeniyi implored importers and agents to be patriotic by making sincere declarations, and to be properly guided by the import and export prohibition lists.
He urged the public to see security as a collective responsibility.
Adeniyi noted that information on illegal importation and cross border movement of dangerous weapons, used to create mayhem in the country, would be appreciated.