WAR ON SMUGGLING: Airport Customs Intercepts another Set of Arms, Military Wears

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By Innocent Orok

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is living up to its expectations in anti- smuggling feats and frontally tracking down perpetrators in their game.

Barely two days ago at the Onne Customs Command, the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has showcased arms, ammunition and other items worth over N13billion .

Again on Wednesday at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Cargo Command, in Ikeja, Lagos State, he brief the media and showcase another seizure of arms and assorted military equipment. Just like the Onne seizure, the arms were moved in from Turkey.

Addressing the media and other stakeholders today , Adeniyi said “you may recall that the Nigeria Customs TCIP Command recently impounded 11 rifles and 6 pistols, among other items. Similarly, just two days ago, a press briefing of this kind was held in Port Harcourt, where we showcased the seizure of 844 rifles and 112,500 rounds of ammunition.

“In a related development, we are here again to inform the public that the Murtala Muhammed Area Command, acting on credible intelligence from our local and international collaborators, on 19 June 2024, deployed its personnel to man all the exit points effectively and mandated all examination officers to conduct 100% examination of all consignments.

“During the examination, an item was discovered and suspected to be part of a rifle from a console consignment with airway bill number 235-58737755, emanating from Turkey. Consequently, the entire consignment was isolated for thorough examination. At the end of the examination, it was established that 4 packages were used to conceal 55 PIECES OF UNASSEMBLED JOJEF MAGNUM (TOMAHAWK) SEMI AUTOMATIC SHOTGUN.

“The unassembled rifles were concealed using SHOWER FAUCET. The Duty Paid Value of these illicit arms is N270, 888, 109.29. A suspect is currently in our custody in connection with this illicit arms importation and is assisting with an ongoing investigation to uncover the perpetrators of this heinous crime”, he said

Adeniyi in analysing, said similar recent seizures indicates that some unscrupulous Nigerians based in Turkey are purchasing, packaging and exporting these illicit arms to Nigeria. Intelligence further revealed that they are exploring new frontiers to perpetrate their nefarious activities. “Still, I can assure Nigerians that all our Commands are on red alert to intercept any such illicit arms importation.

“Also, on display this afternoon are some Military and Paramilitary accoutrements improperly imported without end users’ certificates with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1,298,019,276.91 only”.

The breakdown of the items were given as follows: Drones148pcs, Ballistic Vest 172pcs, Ballistic Plate 15pcs,
Ballistic Helmet 1pc, Walkie Talkie 8pcs, Military & Paramilitary Badges. 9,172pcs. Others are
Camouflage uniform 20pcs,
Camouflage Vest 100pcs, Camouflage Cap 172pcs and Binoculars 120pcs.

The total Duty Paid Value of all the displayed items amounted to N1,568,907,386.48 only.

Relying on the relevant provisions of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023, the Customs boss said the following decisions have been taken on the illicit items.

“The 55 pieces of unassembled JOJEF MAGNUM SEMI AUTOMATIC SHOTGUN are hereby seized, with the concealing items.The items would be handed over to the Coordinator of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, under the office of the National Security Adviser, for diligent investigation and prosecution.

“The suspect arrested will be handed over to the centre for further processing; we will work diligently with other Agencies of Government to apprehend all other parties to this illicit importation. All other controlled items imported without the requisite end-user certificates are hereby seized.

“Officers whose diligence, integrity and dedication to duty resulted in this remarkable seizure would be adequately rewarded in a manner provided by the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.”

In closing, CGC Adeniyi said ” I extend my heartfelt commendation to Customs Area Comptroller MMAC, MT AWE and his dedicated officers and men for these interceptions. Their unwavering professionalism and commitment are truly commendable. I also wish to express our deep gratitude to our various partners, both local and international, who provided invaluable intelligence that was crucial for this interception”.

He said the seizure sends an unequivocal warning to anyone considering similar illicit importation. “The Service is relentless in its pursuit of securing our national frontiers and fostering national security. Under my leadership, the Service will not condone any act that threatens this nation’s national security and economic prosperity”, Adeniyi warned.

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