The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Tincan Island Ports Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Yusuf Bashar has said that the command had handed over weapons and accessories of weapons, Military uniforms and boots for the fourth time in a row since he assumed office at the command.
Bashar who made this known in a press briefing he held at the command headquarters in Lagos on Monday where he displayed arms, military kits and military already made food seized by the command alongside a suspect recently said that he had continued to hand over seized arms and ammunitions to the appropriate government agency for them to further their job.
While he revealed that the command had recorded quite a number of seizures starting with 900 pieces of live ammunitions discovered in a container with one pistol which they handed over appropriately to the agency concerned.
He observed that the command believed so much in inter-agency cooperation as the only way the nation could move forward saying that whatever they discover in the cause of discharging their duties, they always look for the appropriate agency be it the Police or the Department of State Security (DSS) and hand over the items to them.
“And after that, we discovered also 2 other ruffles which we as well handed over, we discovered bullets without ruffles, all those ones we do hand over, military kits, military uniforms coming illegally, we do hand over, we have had a little over 300 pieces. Since my arrival here, we do a lot of inter-agency relationship, whatever concerns Police, DSS or NDLEA or NAFDAC, we ensure that we hand that over so that they will follow up and do their investigations. Like of recent when we made the cocaine seizure here, we called in NDLEA and handed it over to them. It was later they told us that the cocaine is worth N2 billion on the streets.
“Not quite long too, we handed over the ready to eat jollof rice, beans porridge and similar things to NAFDAC and Standards Organization, we gave them substandard cables that were imported in as if it were Nigerian company so that they deceive Nigerians and you buy it and you get your house burnt. So, whenever we see things, we always hand it over. I think this is the fourth time we are handing over weapons or accessories of weapons like pallets, bullets, pistol it military uniforms, boots”, he said.
The Customs boss pointed out that the level of enforcement put in place by the command during this season was enormous even as he said that aside the traditional enforcement operation, the command rely a lot on intelligence adding that it was intelligence that led them into the discovery of cocaine.
According to him,”That we discovered these in a container is purely an enforcement operation, not just intelligence because if you open a container of personal effects and you see everything neatly packaged, you get suspicious. Yes! There are people who are very neat but you will as well become suspicious. And if you look at it, the way we function now, we open things without destruction, that is the 21st century customs. We are not fighting importers or beneficiaries, so, we do it neatly and we have started getting some items that are suspicious.
“Why should somebody have a gas mask while we do not have fog in Nigeria? Gas Mask for s a little suspicious article for a returning Nigerian when our environment and our air is so clean. When it was reported , I said no, turn the container upside down, let us see what is there. And so, pure enforcement and we thank DC Enforcement for doing that”.
He disclosed that every container was a suspect in a 21st century customs operation as no two imports were the same saying,”that us one of the things we want you to tell those doing cross border trade”.
He continued,” Every importation is a unique importation which will be viewed in such way and please educate people on what is absolute prohibition, it is on customs website, it is as well being published severally to say the following items are absolutely prohibited for importation, the following items are absolutely prohibited for trade purposes. These are two different things.
“The prohibition list consists of two different categories of items, one is for trade purposes, the other one is being absolute prohibition whether for trade purposes or for personal use, you shouldn’t engage in them like these items just presented. So, they should look for absolutely prohibited items list and educate Nigerians and whoever is coming into Nigeria, he must not bring in these kind of items because it will cause havoc. If one is endangered, all of us are endangered”.
He therefore challenged the journalists to go the extra mile to educate the world on the prohibition list adding that they should not be contented with reporting trade and duty collection alone as according to him, Nigeria must be protected as it is the only thing that can be bequeathed to the next generation.
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