Metro News

Customs impounds container load of guns in Rivers

By: Felix Ikpotor

The Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, have intercepted a container loaded with  guns, live  ammunition and other contraband goods worth over N13.9bn at the Onne seaport in Rivers State.

Comptroller of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniye who spoke while displaying the seized items during a press conference at the Onne Port said the ammunition which came in from Turkey.

He said in an attempt to circumvent procedures, the ammunitions were concealed in doors, furniture and other fittings.

The CG  also disclosed that men of the Command  intercepted container loads of codeine cough syrup, tramadol and second-handed clothing at the port.

Adeniyi explained that intelligence sharing and collaboration between customs and other security agencies led to the seizure while stating that three persons have been arrested in connection with the seizure.

He assured that all those found culpable incourse investigations shall be dealt with in accordance with the law.

“And so it was the case with this 1X40 foot container MAEU165396, which originated from Turkey, and based on a number of risk factors, became a subject of interest. We had followed its sail across the Continents, as we benefitted immensely from credible information produced through our collaboration with the intelligence communities, both at the local, national and international levels.

“Working within our local structures, we followed diligently as the Importer attempted to circumvent our procedure through the outlet of a Private Bonded Terminal.  Consequently, on Friday, 21 June 2024, the suspicious container was subjected to thorough physical examination. The examination result revealed the following alarming contents:

Eight Hundred and Forty-Four (844) units of rifles

One Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Five Hundred (112,500) pieces of live ammunition

The breakdown is as follows:

764 units of Tomahawk Jojef Magnum Black Pump Action Rifles

10 units of VC Verney Caron Gunmakers Jojef Magnum Silver Pump Action Rifles

50 units of VC Verney Caron Gunmaker Double Barrel Rifles

20 units of VC Verney Caron Gunmaker Single Barrel Rifles

Exclusive Series, Sterling High-Quality Live Ammunition 34g – 25 Plastic Shotgun Shells (70MM)

“The rifles and ammunition were concealed using various items such as doors, furniture, plumbing fittings, and leather bags. The duty-paid value of the container is Four Billion, One Hundred and Seventy-One Million, Seven Hundred and Ten Thousand Naira (₦4,171,710,000.00).

“In connection with this, we have three suspects in our custody after securing a detention warrant from a competent court of justice while a thorough investigation is ongoing to ensure all those involved face the full wrath of the law,” he stated.

Speaking further the CG said, “In another development, our officers, through synergy, collaboration, and intelligence sharing, on Saturday, 29 June 2024, intercepted yet another 8×40-foot container on transit to a bonded warehouse from Onne Port. The container numbers are TCKU6879285, CMAU5985012, CMAU7515384, CMAU4297020, SEKU5488437, BMOU4363156, MRKU4616024, and MRSU3068928. Upon examination, they were found to contain the following:

Six containers laden with:

1,050,000 bottles of CSC Cough Syrup with Codeine (100ml)

3,500,000 tablets of Trodol Benzhexol Tablets (5mg)

Duty-paid value: Nine Billion, Six Hundred Million Naira

          (₦9,600,000,000.00)

Two containers laden with:

720 bales of used clothes

With Duty-paid value: ₦144,000,000.00″

The Customs boss said the total duty-paid value of the nine displayed containers is Thirteen Billion, Nine Hundred and Fifteen Million, Seven Hundred and Ten Thousand Naira (₦13,915,710,000.00).

Adeniyi said the seizure serves as a warning to those contemplating similar activities, stressing that his administration will not tolerate any action that seeks to undermine the security of the nation.

While receiving the seized guns,  the  Coordinator, National Centre for Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Johnson Kokumo said the  seizure is a significant milestone in the security anal of the nation as it underscores the collective commitment by agencies to ensuring the safety and security of  the country.

He assured diligent investigation to apprehend those behind the importation of the illegal weapons and proper disposal inline with international best practices.

“This is a significant milestone in the security annal of our nation as it underscores our collective commitment to ensuring the safety and security of Nigeria.

“This handover is in line with our mandate which includes amongst others retrieval, safe keeping and subsequent destruction of all intercepted or illegally acquired weapons.

“I want to sincerely assure you that the centre is making all necessary arrangements to set a day for destruction and further action. Investigation will be carried out to unravel the origin, motive of people who illegally acquired these weapons, their possible sponsors and end users. This investigation will not be swept under the carpet, perpetrators will surely be prosecuted,” he stated.

On his part, Major General, A.G. Laka (Rtd) who represented the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu said the interception of the various weapons, ammunition and containers of drugs and used clothing underscores the Federal Government’s effort at ridding the country off illicit weapons exacerbating insecurity in many parts of the nation.

He called for strengthening of existing corporation between agencies to rid the nation of all forms of criminality.

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