Customs intercept 661 pump-action rifles, detains officers

Customs intercept 661 pump-action rifles, detains officers
Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali displaying one of the pump-action rifles seized by Customs officers in Lagos yesterday.

The Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Monday said it intercepted a Mack truck along the Mile 2 – Apapa Road containing 49 boxes of 661 pump-action rifles.

Customs Comptroller-General, Hameed Ali, told newsmen in Ikeja, Lagos yesterday that the weapons were falsely declared as steel doors and other merchandize. He said the Customs officers who cleared the cargo at the port have been arrested and detained.

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“On Sunday 29 January 2017 the roving team of the NCS Federal Operations Unit while on information patrol intercepted a Mack Truck with registration number BDG 265XG conveying a 1/40 container with number PONU /825914/3.

“In the declaration of the items in the container, the importer concealed these weapons and declared them as steel doors.

“The truck was immediately taken to the premises of the FOU where physical examination revealed 49 boxes containing a total number of 661 pieces of pump action rifles concealed with steel doors and other merchandize goods,” he said.

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He explained that not only do the rifles fall under absolute prohibition; their importation was unacceptable considering the present state of insecurity in the country.

“In the past, when I was a young officer, pump action would be licensed by the police but with regards to the security nature of the country, government decided to prohibit the licensing of pump action and therefore put it under absolute prohibition, so the importation and transaction of pump action is against the law of the country,” he said.

He disclosed that three suspects, Oscan Okafor (51); Mahmud Hassan (56) and Sadique Mustapha (28) have been arrested in connection with the seizure while investigation has commenced to fish out those involved in the importation of the consignment.

The Customs boss added that officers involved in the clearance of the container, which he said are currently in detention at the Federal Operations Unit, would be investigated and prosecuted for allowing such consignment exit the port.

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Ali said the seizure underscores the determination of the NCS to enforce all laws relating to import and export.

He commended the Controller of FOU, Comptroller Haruna Mamud and operatives of the unit who effected the seizure. He said the items would be handed over to the concerned agency for custody.

Ali appealed to members of the public to assist Customs with information that could assist it perform its statutory responsibilities adding that security of the country should be the concern of all.

“Without information, there is no way we can stop this menace. This happened because we got the right information and our men acted promptly.

“We need the assistance of the public because if these weapon had escaped they would be offloaded by some people, transferred by some people and if we do not get information, there is no way we can arrest the situation and you and I are all liable to be killed by these weapons because nobody knows whose side it is going to be,” he said.

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