By Sulaiman Shuaib
The Nigerian Customs Service has explained how it seized another container loaded with 440 pump action rifles imported from Turkey at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.
He said that the container was intercepted based on intelligence obtained by the Tin Can Island Customs Command.
In January, the service had intercepted a container of 49 boxes containing 661 Pump Action Shotguns in Lagos.
Displaying the guns to journalists at Tin Can Island on Tuesday, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs Monday Abueh said the import originated from Turkey and that the guns were concealed inside a 40-foot container with numbers PONU210024 (1) 22G1 carrying POP powder used for design of houses.
“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 reasons.
“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,” Mr Abueh added.
Also speaking The Tin Can Island Customs Controller, Bashir Yussuf said they also uncovered other firearm accessories in the container.
“We have other accessories in this container, several parts dismantled but definitely to be reassembled.
“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 Customs attention, but whatever anyone might use, it would attract our attention,” Mr Bashir added.