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Customs Seizes Illegal Shipment of Pump Action Rifles at Lagos Airport

Barely 48 hours after announcing the interception of a container laden with arms, and ammunition imported into the country from Turkey in Onne Port, Rivers State, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, announced another interception of Cache of Arms and ammunition at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos worth N270 million.

The consignment which was intercepted at the cargo section of the MMA was also imported from Turkiye with one suspect in custody.

According to the Customs Boss, military hardware and accoutrements were also intercepted by the airport command.

He said, “You may recall that the Nigeria Customs TCIP Command recently impounded 11 rifles and 6 pistols, among other items. Similarly, just two days ago, a press briefing of this kind was held in Port Harcourt, where we showcased the seizure of 844 rifles and 112,500 rounds of ammunition.

“In a related development, we are here again to inform the public that the Murtala Muhammed Area Command, acting on credible intelligence from our local and international collaborators, on 19 June 2024, deployed its personnel to man all the exit points effectively and mandated all examination officers to conduct 100% examination of all consignments.

“During the examination, an item was discovered and suspected to be part of a rifle from a console consignment with airway bill number 235-58737755, emanating from Turkiye. 

Consequently, the entire consignment was isolated for thorough examination. At the end of the examination, it was established that 4 packages were used to conceal 55 pieces of unassembled Jojef Magnum (Tomahawk) semi-automatic shotgun.

“The unassembled rifles were concealed using shower Faucet. The Duty Paid Value of these illicit arms is N270.8million and a suspect is currently in our custody in connection with this illicit arms importation and is assisting with an ongoing investigation to uncover the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

“Analysis of this and similar recent seizures indicates that some unscrupulous Nigerians based in Turkey are purchasing, packaging and exporting these illicit arms to Nigeria. Intelligence further revealed that they are exploring new frontiers to perpetrate their nefarious activities. 

Still, I can assure Nigerians that all our Commands are on red alert to intercept any such illicit arms importation,” he said.

The Customs Boss also stated that other military and para-military hardware and accoutrement were also seized by the command worth N1.29 billion.

According to him, the military accoutrements are drones, ballistic vests, helmets, walkie talkies among others.

“Also, on display are some Military and Paramilitary accoutrements improperly imported without end users’ certificates with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.29 billion. The breakdown of these items is as follows: 148 pieces of drones; 172 pieces of ballistic vests; 15 pieces of ballistic vests; one piece of ballistic helmet; 8 pieces of walkie-talkies; 9,172 pieces of military and para-military badges.

“Others are 20 pieces of camouflage uniform; 100 pieces of camouflage vest; 172 pieces of Camouflage caps and 120 pieces of binoculars. The total Duty Paid Value of all the displayed items is N1.56 billion.

“Relying on the relevant provisions of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023, the following decisions have been taken on the illicit items. The 55 pieces of unassembled JOJEF MAGNUM SEMI AUTOMATIC SHOTGUN are hereby seized, with the concealing items.

“The items would be handed over to the Coordinator of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, under the office of the National Security Adviser, for diligent investigation and prosecution. The Suspect arrested will be handed over to the centre for further processing; we will work diligently with other Agencies of Government to apprehend all other parties to this illicit importation.

“All other controlled items imported without the requisite end-user certificates are hereby seized. Officers whose diligence, integrity and dedication to duty resulted in this remarkable seizure would be adequately rewarded in a manner provided by the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.

“Lastly, this seizure sends an unequivocal warning to anyone considering similar illicit importation. The Service is relentless in its pursuit of securing our national frontiers and fostering national security. Under my leadership, the Service will not condone any act that threatens this nation’s national security and economic prosperity,” he explained.

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