Recently, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) declared seizure of 31 arms of different kinds from the Tin-Can and Port and Multi-Purpose Terminals (PTML) located in Lagos. Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, the new Comptroller-General of the Customs, made this announcement, stating that the seizure saw the arrest of two suspects who are currently in the agency’s custody. In his statement, it was discovered that the service, at the Ports Terminal and Multi Services Limited Command, had a joint operation with the Police, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Department of State Security (DSS), and the Customs Intelligence Unit on July 5, 2023.
During the operation, a 40ft container was critically examined and was discovered to contain 10 dangerous arms and different rounds of ammunition hidden in plastic drums. According to Mr. Adeniyi, the discoveries include three new pump action rifles, six new different models of pistols, one new sarsilmaz SAR-9X pistol, one new Taurus Banbridge G3C pistol, one new Taurus (63 pistol) 14 empty magazines, one new unit of an armed rifle, one new millennium G2 pistol, three new Lugger Security-9 pistol, one new SCCY CPX-2 pistol, and 442 rounds of live ammunition.
Customs officers to curb smuggling and promote national security.
He added that the agency officers have proven true commitment to their obligations, affirming that they have been diligent and perseverant to their operations. Adeniyi stated that the actions of the NCS is backed by a sense of purpose, alongside the motto of renewed hope, which is the vision of the current administration. He asserted that the NCS is aware of the importance of its responsibility in achieving the objectives of the administration of President Tinubu, as stated in the Road Map of the Policy Advisory Council document.
There has been further alignment of the NCS activities with the goals of the government given the declared state of emergency in national security and revenue generation. Emphasising the commitment of the NCS, the Customs’ Comptroller-General said that the service has been working relentlessly, with recent achievements, to curb smuggling and promote national security. Some of the diligent and dedicated officers in the agency at different Commands and formations, have discovered various smuggled ammunition and arms while on duty.
Illegal arms purchased by non-state actors increase violence in the country.
It was further revealed that two clearing agents, Mr. Joseph Nwadiodor and Mr. Shokunbi Olanrewaju from Shooler Global International Ltd, who were to deliver the container have been detained as suspects due to the seizure of the container. Within the same period, besides the seizure of arms at PTML Customs Command, the Tin-Can Island Port Command of NCS, following reliable intelligence, carried out a 100 percent physical examination of a 1×40ft container at the port. During the examination, they discovered packets of cartridges, 18 arms and rounds of live ammunition concealed in plastic drums.
Also, on July 12, 2023, there was an interception of an unregistered Toyota Camry by officers of the Joint Border Patrol Team Sector 2 during a routine patrol around Owode/Ajilete Axis of Ogun State. The Toyota Camry had six sacks of charcoal in it, which was used as a camouflage to hide 174 live cartridges and 3 pump action rifles. It has, therefore, become apparent that illegal arms purchased by non-state actors have promoted an increase in the spread of arms and ammunition across Nigeria, accounting for increased robberies, violent kidnappings and mass killings.
Importers and agents were encouraged to be patriotic.
Assuring everyone of the NCS commitment, the customs boss said that the agency has re-strategised its operations, improved the professionalism of its officers and focused on the mantra of renewed hope enable legitimate trade. New plans have been reinstated to address the security and economic problems caused by disobedient importers and agents. With this, he encouraged importers and agents to embrace patriotism by being sincere and abiding by the prohibition lists of import and export. He also stressed that the public should view security as a collective responsibility.