By Ajibola Abayomi,
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted container load of 440 pump action guns imported from Turkey at the Tin-Can Island Port in Lagos.
This is another major seizure of guns by the service.
This is coming barely three months after the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service intercepted 661 pieces of pump action guns along Mile 2 axis of the Apapa-Oshodi express road, also in Lagos.
Displaying the guns to journalists at the Tin Can Island Customs Command on Tuesday, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs Monday Abueh said that the import originated from Turkey and that the guns were concealed inside a forty footer container with numbers PONU210024 (1) 22G1 carrying POP powder used for design of houses.
He said that the container was intercepted based on intelligence obtained by the Tin Can Island Customs Command.
He added that the container was whisked away by customs even before declaration was made.
One suspect has been apprehended in connection with the seizure.
According to Abueh, “these are pump action of various designs intercepted based on intelligence report of the Tin-Can Island Customs under Controller Bashir Yussuf.
He is one of our best officers. He was able to make use of the intelligence report made available to him and the container was identified and intercepted, there is no question of any officer releasing container here, it was intercepted even before declaration.
“We discovered that they used POP powder to conceal it in order to beat the Customs examination.”
“We have one defendant but for the purpose of indemnity we don’t intend to detain him for long because of security reason.
“As of the consignee, we are still keeping it under lap because investigations is still ongoing. We have about 440 pieces of pump actions guns from Turkey.”
Abueh said that investigations was ongoing and that the Customs lawyers would get to the root of the interception.
“Prosecution of matters like this in Nigeria involves a lot of time to push out the culprits, but our lawyers have all what it takes to prosecute those involved,”Abueh added.
On his part, The Tin Can Island Customs Controller, Bashir Yussuf said the guns were manufactured from the USA and Italy.
“We have other accessories in this container, several parts dismantled but definitely to be reassembled (CKD). Investigations would go deeper so as to know where the factory for arms assemblage is located in Nigeria. They were manufactured in the USA and Italy, but shipped to Nigeria from Turkey.
“Generally anytime we have interceptions like this, it requires a lot of intelligence and profiling of importers. The 21st century calls for that, you don’t have to wait for things to start happening before you start working.
“POP is a very safe item to conceal weapons because it is not injurious to anyone. It is mainly used on building, it is an attempt to distract the customs attention, but whatever anyone might use, it would attract our attention,” Bashir said.
By Ajibola Abayomi,