By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
All customs officers that were involved in the release of the dangerous cargo containing about 661 guns from the port have been arrested and detained by the service to serve as deterrent to others.
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali made the order on Monday while inspecting the guns and addressing the media in Lagos on Monday
Operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had intercepted the rifles in Lagos after a tip- off from members of the public on Monday.
The items, concealed in a 40-foot container number PONU 825914(3)45G1 were seized along Mile 2 Oshodi/Apapa Expressway by the officers and men of the Federal Operation Unit ( FOU) Zone “A” Ikeja.
The guns, imported from China, were declare by the unscrupulous importer as iron doors before they were intercepted and subjected to 100 per cent examination at FOU office.
Speaking with newsmen, Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Col. Hameed Ali ( Rtd) said the importer, one Mr Oscan Okafor, age 51, his clearing agent, Mr Mahmud Hassan age 56, and one Mr Sodique Mustapha , age 28, who accompanied the Mack Truck with registration number BDG 256 XG used in conveying the guns on Sunday, 22 January, have been arrested.
The inscription on each of the gun is Tornado and designed in Italy for JOJEFF MAGNUM.
The items, Ali said, are under absolute prohibition which renders its importation illegal, saying “Such deadly acts are contravention of the law is even more unacceptable considering the fragile situation in some parts of the country.
“Investigation has commenced and I have directed that the drag net should be wide enough to fish out all persons involved in the importation and clearing of the consignment. Already, the officers involved in the clearance of the container are with the Comptroller FOU Zone ‘A”, Ikeja,” Ali said.
Other items inside the container included iron doors, water equipment, furniture, Solo toilet roles, spageties, Ideal vegetable oil, used chairs, foams and other house utensils.
The seizure, the CGC said, underscore the determination of the service to enforce all laws relating to importation and exportation of goods into and out of the country, thereby contributing to the security, economy and well being of our nation.
The feat achieved by the FOU officers in detecting the seized guns, Ali said, was commendable because it represents the new order in the service where most officers and men are on daily basis ensuring that illegalities are not allowed unchecked.
“I commend the Comptroller, all officers and men involved in this great seizure,” the CGC said.
The Comptroller-General however, called on well meaning Nigerians and the press to support the service with useful information that would assist Customs officers in carrying out their core responsibilities in the interest of the nation and it’s people.