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NIGERIAN CUSTOM AND UNANSWERED QUESTION OF SEIZED ARMS

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NIGERIAN CUSTOM AND UNANSWERED QUESTION OF SEIZED ARMS

Severally, Nigerians have been jostled by a plethora of news of how large caches of arms and ammunition, as well as military uniforms heading to unknown destinations were intercepted by the officers of the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) and other security agencies. Custom authorities have openly displayed ammunition of different make and sizes it recovered as illegally imported items into the country. So you wonder: How endangered in Nigeria’s national security?

For instance, a good example is that, in September 2018, it was reported that the NCS has intercepted 470 pump action rifles imported from Turkey at the Tin-Can Island port in Lagos. Ali told journalists in Lagos that, “Following increased arms seizures in recent times, the Customs Area Controller of Tin-Can Port, Comptroller Yusuf Bashar, ordered a detailed profile of all imports, especially those coming from Turkey. Customs decided to follow profiling approach of 100 per cent examination on containers, especially those from Turkey.

“Tin-Can Customs command intercepted another 20ft container No CMAUI817/8 containing 470 pump action rifles immediately the container landed from the port of origin to Nigerian ports. The terminal operator was consequently directed to quarantine the container for analysis”, he said. Further details reportedly revealed that the importer of the item was Great Oil and Gas Ltd and the name of the vessel was “MV Arkas Africa” owned by Hull Blyth.

Ali promised to meet with the Turkish ambassador to Nigeria on the matter; however, not much has been heard thereafter.

In another related development, a source quoted a report from the NCS that 21,548,608 arms and ammunition were shipped into Nigeria illegally between 2010 to 2017. The largest portion, 21,407,933 live ammunition was intercepted at the Apapa port in November 2010 while 1,100 pump action guns were seized at Tin-Can port in September of 2017, investigation shows.

On January 9, 2016, 510 live cartridges were intercepted in Agbara, Ogun State. On July 26, 2018, a revolver gun was seized at Tin-Can ports. On the November, 10, 2016, three Unnamed Aerial Vehicle Drone were intercepted at the Lagos Airport while two Fighter Jets Helicopters were also intercepted at the same airport on the 30th of December, 2016. On January 30th, 2017, 661 Pump Action guns were intercepted along Mile 2 area of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, among several other cases. What of dozens other criminal importation of arms that are not reported? What of the ones that were allowed to slip into the country by corrupt personnel? What of the ones not even seen at all?

Something must be very wrong here. Granted that Nigeria’s international borders are very porous, border security agencies grossly under staffed or ill-equipped, but how well are the reported and documented cases properly handled? Where are those weapons that were serially intercepted by the Nigerian Custom? Who owns them? What purpose were they imported for?

Why have intelligence agencies silent on these reports? What are the roles of the National Security Adviser to the President, the Department of State Service, the Police, etc, to show that those illegal items were traceable to identifiable sources of origin and destination? How many have been prosecuted? Nigerians need answers to these questions.

QUOTE

Something must be very wrong here. Granted that Nigeria’s international border have been porous, border security agencies grossly under staffed or ill-equipped, but how well are the reported and documented cases properly handled? Where are those weapons that were serially intercepted by the Nigerian Custom? Who owns them? What purpose were they imported for? How many have been prosecuted? Nigerians need answers to these questions

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