The Ogun 1 command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has intercepted 975 rounds of live ammunition concealed inside five bags of locally produced rice at Imeko Afon, Ogun State.
Speaking during a press briefing in Idiroko, Ogun State, on Wednesday, the acting Customs Area Controllers, Ahmadu Shuaibu, said the ammunition were intercepted through the ingenuity of the officers of the command.
According to him, the command has intensified efforts at tracking down the perpetrators in other to bring them to justice.
He said two teams were set up to foil the smuggling plan. While the smugglers were concentrating on the first team and monitoring their movement, a second team was dispatched unknown to the smugglers, who were suspected to be armed.
He added that the second team, unexpected to the smugglers,effected the seizure and got back up from the first team
Shuaibu said “We are delighted to report that we have thwarted the evil plans of the enemies of the State from smuggling of live ammunition into the country. Arms and ammunition smuggling is a high intelligence operation as it often attempts to evade the watchful eyes of law enforcement. It requires concerted and collaborative efforts of law-abiding citizens of this country to checkmate.
“On Monday, 27 November 2023, our operatives went on a professional and intelligence-based operation to unravel the antics deployed by unscrupulous elements to bringing in live ammunition through Imeko axis of the State. We have been on the trail of the ammunition for about a week ago.
“Fortunately, at 0005hrs of the day, we got an intel that the 5 bags of foreign parboiled rice containing live cartridges of red star ammunition had been carefully hidden in a bush path along the Palace/Ayetoro road, Imeko Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State. Our operatives went to the spot and evacuated the 5 bags of rice without any encounter.
“The bags of rice were suspected because of the unusual threading and sewing of the sacks. This quickly arouse the suspicion of our operatives leading to their opening for proper examination at the Border station. During the examination, about 975 rounds of red star live cartridges were found to have been ingeniously concealed in the bags.
We have intensified efforts at tracking down the perpetrators of this nefarious act for them to be brought to justice. We recognize the potential danger of arms and ammunition trafficking which is life threatening. We shall not renege in our efforts in combatting smuggling activities in its entirety,” Shuaibu, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs said.
According to him, the operations took the command three weeks to intercept the expired bags of rice, saying the command is resolute to promoting national security and economic wellbeing of the country.
Shuaibu, however, rued the consequences of unchecked smuggling of arms and ammunition, saying smuggling of ammunition empowered criminal organizations and escalate crisis and compromise national security.
“Proactive intelligence is required in this regard. Smuggling of arms and ammunition are menace that knows no border and feeds on the vulnerability of our society. The consequences of unchecked smuggling of arms and ammunition is severe, ranging from the empowerment of criminal organizations to escalating crisis and compromise of national security. For these reasons, we will not relent nor compromise waging war against smuggling of unlawful arms and ammunition in building a safe and stable nation.”
“We appreciate our gallant officers and men for their bravery and commend the patriotism of our informant in partnering with us. We call on well-meaning Nigerians with useful intel to collaborate with us in enhancing the security of our dear nation.
” You are assured of maximum security cover. Let me use this medium to reiterate that we remain resolute in promoting national security and economic wellbeing of our beloved Country. We will not be deterred by any means possible in discharging our statutory responsibilities to our fatherland,” he stated.