Reps summon heads of Customs, DSS over illegal arms influx

Hameed Ali

By Patience Danjuma

The House of Representatives has summoned the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali and Director-General of the Department of States Services, Lawal Daura over frequent illegal importation of firearms into the country.

The lower legislative chamber also called on the Nigeria Customs Service and other regulatory agencies to intensify checks to control the influx of small arms and light weapons into the country.

The resolutions of the House were sequel to a motion sponsored by Obinna Chidoka, a lawmaker from Anambra on Wednesday.

While moving the motion of the floor of the house, the lawmaker said the arms were “the lifeblood of organised crimes and criminality”.

Chidoka told his colleagues that it appeared that syndicate behind the importation of the arms into the country had stepped up their “nefarious trade” which would have “far-reaching consequences for the country”.

He also said the service may not be equipped and motivated to handle the influx of arms into the country because of the absence of functional scanners at the ports.

“The recent influx of firearms into the country has confirmed the recent report of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, which identified Nigeria as a destination of choice for smugglers of small arms and light weapons,” he said.

The motion was adopted after it was put to a voice vote by Yakubu Dogara, the speaker.

So far this year, officials of Nigeria Customs Service have intercepted four container loads of pump action rifles imported into the country from Turkey. A total of 2,671 pump action rifles have been seized in all this year with all of the illegal imports emanating from Turkey.