By Ismail Aniemu & Joshua Okoria
Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi has disclosed that a total of 31 guns of various kinds and ammunition were seized from smugglers in Lagos Ports and Ogun State in the first week of July.
Adeniyi , who was addressing newsmen in his first official media briefing in Lagos, said the prohibited arms and ammunition were seized at Tin Can Island Port, Port Terminal Multiservices Limited(PTML) and Owode-Ajilete axis of Ogun State.
The Comptroller General also disclosed that 2 suspects have been arrested in connection with the Tin Can Island Port seizure while a driver who concealed guns with charcoal in Ogun State fled into the bushes before the arms were discovered.
Breaking down the seizures according to location, the customs boss said 10 guns were seized at PTML; 18 guns were seized at Tin Can Island Port while 3 units of rifles were seized at the Owode-Ajilete area of Ogun
Explaining details of the seizures to reporters, the Customs chief said “On the 5th of July 2023, during a joint operation with the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Security, the National Drug Law Enforcement and Administration, and the Customs Intelligence Unit at the Ports Terminal and Multi Services Limited Command, a thorough physical examination of a 40ft container was conducted.
“The examination revealed the concealment of 10 dangerous arms and various rounds of live ammunition inside plastic drums. The details are:
- 3 new Pump Action rifles and one new unit of an armed rifle
- 6 new different makes of pistols.
(1) One new millennium G2 pistol.
(2) One new sarsilmaz SAR-9X pistol.
(3) One new Lugger Security-9 pistol.
(4) One new Taurus Banbridge G3C pistol.
(5) One new SCCY CPX-2 pistol, and
(6) One new Taurus (63 pistol)
- 14 empty magazines
- 442 rounds of live ammunition
“The clearing agent, Mr Shokunbi Olanrewaju of Shooler Global International Ltd and Mr Joseph Nwadiodor, who was expected to take delivery of the container, are currently detained as suspects in connection with the seizure.
“Similarly, within the same period, the Tincan Island Port Command of the Service, while acting on credible intelligence; a 1x40ft container was also subjected to 100% physical examination with the relevant security agencies at the ports. The physical examination uncovered 18 arms, packets of cartridges and rounds of live ammunition inside plastic drums. The details are:
- 6 different makes of pistols
(1) Two (2) Sar9 Sarsilmarz Pistols
(2) One (1) Ruger American Pistol And
(3) Three (3) Taurus G3c – Bainbridge Pistols).
- 12 different makes of riffles
(1) Five (5) Rz17hd Rifles,
(2) One (1) Gamo Rifle,
(3) Five (5) Pump Action Rifles And
(4) One (1) Rz17 Tactical Rifle)
- 10 packets of cartridges
- 2 packets of 9mm ammunition
- 100 rounds of 9mm Winchester ammunition
- 1 carton of Frontier cartridges
- 2 packets of Buckshot ammunition
“Again, during a routine patrol along Owode/Ajilete Axis of Ogun State by officers of the Joint Border Patrol Team Sector 2, on Wednesday 12 July 2023, intercepted an unregistered Toyota Camry loaded with six sacks of charcoal, which was used to conceal three (3) pump action riffles with 174 live cartridges.
“The driver of the vehicle, who knew the content he was conveying vis-a-vis the attendant consequences of his action before the law; jumped into the bush and escaped arrest” Adeniyi said
He added that Investigation into the seizures is inconclusive and that the outcome of customs investigations together with the seizures will be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further investigation and prosecution.
Adeniyi said Illicit arms obtained by non-state actors have boosted the proliferation of small arms and ammunition across the country which accounts for the increase in violent kidnappings, robberies, and mass killings in society.
He also stated that the Service the NCS has re-strategized its operations with its officers raising their levels of professionalism and have keyed into the mantra of renewed hope aimed at facilitating legitimate trade.
While assuring compliant traders and importers that they have nothing to fear ,he said the service has re-injected new tactics to tackle the economic and security menace caused by recalcitrant importers and their agents.
According to him,customs human resources and logistics are collectively harnessed to combat and prevent economic sabotage.
The Acting CG implored importers and their agents to be patriotic by making sincere declarations, and to be properly guided by the import/export prohibition lists.
He also urged the public to see security as a collective responsibility advising citizens to volunteer information of illegal importation and cross border movement of dangerous weapons used to create chaos in parts of the country