The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone “A”, Ikeja of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday intercepted bales of police uniforms, tearas canisters and other paraphernalia of the Nigeria Police Force.
The uniforms which were intercepted along Lagos-Ibadan road were concealed in a Toyota Sienna space bus heading out of Lagos.
Speaking to journalists after the arrest of the vehicle, the Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Compt. Muhammed Aliyu, said a suspect was in the custody of the unit in connection with the seizure.
According to him, the uniforms are a threat to national security as they were destined to get to the wrong hands.
He stated further that the ranks, belts, berets and police badges with identity cards were part of what were intercepted by the unit.
The CAC said, “The seizure is a threat to national security because the uniform can be used for kidnapping, Boko Haram or elections but generally, it threatens natonal security,”
the unit customs boss said.
Giving details on the paraphernalia of the police seized, he said, “We have the ranks of sergeants, inspector, the belt and the badges on the ranks. You can see that the identity cards have no name on them. They are only printed and later they will be affixed with any names they want to put on it.”
The CAC who further disclosed that the vehicle was intercepted on Lagos road, said the service would ensure that the offensive goods of such nature are not allowed into the country.
“They were intercepted along the road on the highway and what we know is that it was caught on Lagos road enroute another state. The seizure is of great concern because it concerns the national security. Also, the quantity alone is not the concern but also the havoc it will cause.
“For instance, one bundle of this uniform can accommodate about ten persons and Nigerians will complain about atrocities of Police, not knowing they are not real police but impostors.”
When asked whether part of the contraband may have evaded the eagle eye of the officers of the service, Compt. Muhammed said the service knows how to recover the remaining if any.
“There are certain issues we don’t need to tell the press. We strategise our operations and when I get more Iwill call you because if I say our strategies now, they will be aware.”
Speaking further on the seizure, he said, “Not only the identity cards and the ranks were intercepted but also cutlass; what will a supposed police do with cutlass? Have you ever seen a genuine policeman with cutlass? These are part of the atrocities they will use the uniform to commit,” he said.
He however, warned those involved in the unwholesome practice to stop because the service will always be a step ahead of them.
“I am telling those who are doing this unwholesome practice should stop it and the one they have in stock they should destroy it because we are coming for them.”