2023: Customs intercepts 31 rifles, ammunition within first two weeks of July


…Arrests two suspects 

The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS has intercepted a total of thirty one (31) riffles and ammunition within the first two weeks of July 2023.

The Acting Comptroller General of the Service, Mr. Adewale Bashir Adeniyi who disclosed this at a press briefing in Lagos today stated that the Customs Intelligence Unit, CIU in a joint operation with the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security, DSS and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA carried out on the 5th of July, 2022 at the Ports & Terminal Multiservices Limited uncovered ten (10) dangerous arms and ammunition concealed inside a plastic drum during a physical examination conducted on a 40ft container.

He gave a breakdown of the concealed items to include: a. Three (3) new Pump Action rifles and one new unit of an armed rifle; b. Six (6) new different makes of pistols including: one new millennium G2 pistol; one (1) new sarsilmaz SAR-9X pistol; one (1) new Lugger Security-9 pistol; one (1) new Taurus Banbridge G3C pistol; one new SCCY CPX-2 pistol, and one (1) new Taurus (63 pistol). Others include fourteen (14) empty magazines and 442 rounds of live ammunition.

The Acting Comptroller General further explained that the clearing agent, Mr. Shokunbi Olanrewaju of Shooler Global International Limited and Mr. Joseph Nwadiodor, who was expected to take delivery of the container, were currently detained as suspects in connection with the seizure.

He observed that the Tincan Island Port Command of the Service, within the same period, while acting on credible intelligence; subjected a 1x40ft container to 100% physical examination with the relevant security agencies at the ports. According to him, the physical examination uncovered 18 arms, packets of cartridges and rounds of live ammunition inside plastic drums.

He gave the details as follows: a. 6 different makes of pistols namely: two (2) Sar9 Sarsilmarz Pistols; one (1) Ruger American Pistol and three (3) Taurus G3c – Bainbridge Pistols). b. Twelve (12) different makes of riffles namely; five (5) Rz17hd Rifles; one (1) Gamo Rifle,; five (5) Pump Action Rifles and one (1) Rz17 Tactical Rifle). c. Ten (10) packets of cartridges. d. Two (2) packets of 9mm ammunition. e. One hundred (100) rounds of 9mm Winchester ammunition. f. One (1) carton of Frontier cartridges and g. Two (2) packets of Buckshot ammunition.

He also said, “Again, during a routine patrol along Owode/Ajilete Axis of Ogun State by officers of the Joint Border Patrol Team Sector 2, on Wednesday 12 July, 2023, intercepted an unregistered Toyota Camry loaded with six sacks of charcoal, which was used to conceal three (3) pump action riffles with 174 live cartridges.

“The driver of the vehicle who knew the content he was conveying vis-a-vis the attendant consequences of his action before the law; jumped into the bush and escaped arrest.

“In summary, a total of thirty-one (31) rifles were intercepted within the first two weeks of July 2023.”

While stating that investigation into the seizures was inconclusive, Acting CG Adeniyi announced that the outcome of their investigations, together with the seizures would be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further investigation and prosecution.

“Illicit arms obtained by non-state actors have boosted the proliferation of small arms and ammunition across the country. This accounts for the increase in violent kidnappings, robberies, and mass killings in society.

“Let me state at this point that the Service has re-strategized its operations, while our officers have raised their levels of professionalism, and have keyed into the mantra of renewed hope aimed at facilitating legitimate trade. In doing this, we are assuring all compliant traders and importers that they have nothing to fear.

“We have re-injected new tactics to tackle the economic and security menace caused by recalcitrant importers and their agents. The Service’s human resources and logistics are collectively harnessed to combat and prevent economic sabotage”, he said.

The Customs boss, therefore, implore importers and agents to be patriotic by making sincere declarations, and to be properly guided by the import/export prohibition lists while urging the public to see security as a collective responsibility.

“We will appreciate information of illegal importation and cross border movement of dangerous weapons used to create mayhem in our nation”, he concluded.

Photo: Mr. Adewale Bashir Adeniyi, Acting Comptroller General of Customs during the Press briefing at the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A headquarters, Ikeja, Lagos today.

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