By John Iwori
A serving Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Jack Bot, has been arrested for gun running.
Bot and his orderly, Mr. Shehu Ahmed, were arrested by men of the State Security Service (SSS) at Customs Headquarters, Wuse, Abuja, for allegedly buying ammunitions from the Niger State Police command.
Two police officers were also arrested for their alleged involvement in supplying arms and ammunition to armed robbers. It was gathered that the information provided those earlier arrested by security operatives in connection with the incident led to the arrest of Bot and his accomplices.
Bot, an indigene of Plateau State, and his collaborators, were alleged to have a connection with the disappearance of some ammunition from the Police Armoury, Minna, Niger State.
The embattled Comptroller was alleged to be purchasing arms and ammunition from an insider in the Nigeria Police, who was serving in Niger State command, and which he was said to be supplying to his kinsmen to perpetrate violence and arson which have been on the increase in the Plateau State, especially the capital, Jos in the last five years.
It was learnt that the arrest of Bot and his orderly was facilitated by the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi, who vowed that the Service will not harbour in its fold gun-runners whose activities constitute a threat to national security.
Public Relations Officer (PRO), NCS Headquarters, Alhaji Adewale Adeniyi, who confirmed the development in a statement, quoted Abdullahi as saying that “despite the fact that the investigating officers came to my office without a warrant of arrest, I decided to produce the officers on account of the weight of allegations levied against them.
“Bot Jack, a Comptroller in the Inspectorate Division of the Service, was fingered in an on-going investigation into illegal procurement of weapons from the Police Armoury. The offence was alleged to have been committed in Minna, Niger State sometimes in 2002, when Jack was an Assistant Comptroller of Customs.
“Another Junior Officer, Shehu Ahmed, who worked with Jack as his orderly in Minna alleged to have been an accomplice in the crime was also handed over to the Police. Both officers are now on suspension from the Service pending the outcome of investigations”, the statement added.
Reacting to the development, some stakeholders in the maritime sector of the economy expressed displeasure over the alleged involvement of the Customs Officers in the act.
A Lagos-based licensed customs told THISDAY in Lagos that reported involvement of the Customs Officers have confirmed the statement of President Goodluck Jonathan that members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, are in the government.
The licensed customs agent said the incident has also lend credence to the fact that the part of the laws of the violated as regards the clearance of goods in the seaports, airports and international borders without an active connivance by an insider, especially a willing Customs Officer.
“I will therefore ask the authorities to dig deeper into the matter. They will surely find more things that will be beyond their widest expectation. There is no doubt about that”, the agent who preferred anonymity added.