By Eromosele Abiodun
For the third time this year, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced that it intercepted a container load of arms and ammunition imported from Turkey.
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) enforcement team had in January intercepted a container load of arms along the Apapa-Oshodi expressway. In the same vein, the Tin-Can Island Command of the NCS intercepted another container load of arms on May 23.
On the latest seizure, the Customs Service said the Tin-Can Island Command intercepted 1,100 pump action rifles imported from Turkey on September 6.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) frowned at the importation of arms into the country through Turkey.
He disclosed that all three containers loaded with arms that had been intercepted by the service this year were imported into the country through Turkey.
Giving a lowdown on how the more recent container was intercepted by the service, Ali said the 20ft container was originally declared as containing wash hand basins and water closets.
According to him,Â Â â€œOn the 6th of September, 2017, operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service intelligence unit, on a routine monitoring of activities across the terminals, discovered a 1x20ft container with No. GESU2555208 which was not previously listed for examination, positioned with other containers for the dayâ€™s examination.
â€œThey also observed that the seal of this unlisted container had already been broken and padlocked. The container became suspect and had to be immediately transferred to the enforcement unit.â€
Ali further disclosed that a customs officer and a terminal clerk had been arrested in connection with the broken seal.
â€œUpon thorough examination, the container contained 600 pieces of Jojef Magnum Black pump action riffles, 300 pieces of Jojef Magnum Silver pump action rifles, and 209 pieces of Jojef Magnum Plastic single barrels hunting pump action rifles.
â€œImportation of 1,100 rifles at a time when the nation is undergoing security challenges is a clear indication that there are indeed some elements who do not believe in the unity, peace and well being of Nigeria,â€ he added.