Arms Importation: Indicted Customs Officer, Clearing Agents Languish In Prison

Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Hakan Cakil  ( R)   during a recent meeting with the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) to discuss issues relating with the serial importation of arms into Nigeria from Turkey

There are fresh indications that two clearing agents who were arrested in connection with the importation of 440 pump action rifles in May 2017 are still languishing at the Kirikiri prison in Lagos.

Reliable sources confirmed to Shipping Position Daily at the Tin Can Island Port yesterday that the case is yet to be taken to court, even though a similar import of 660 rifles is currently being tried at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Also, two weeks after the seizure of 1, 100 pieces of pump action riffles imported from Turkey by the Tin Can Island Command of Customs, three suspects comprising of one Customs officer of the command and two persons connected to the clearing agent that handled the job are still languishing in detention.

A clerk at the Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) who was also accused of complicity was however interrogated and released.

It was also gathered that the 20-foot container with identification number GESU2555208, which arrived the Tin Can Island Container Terminal on board MV Bella Shuttle, in which the arms were concealed was actually listed for examination, contrary to earlier reports.

Investigations showed that the container was actually listed and dropped for physical examination, but the import duty was yet to be paid at that time.

Sources disclosed that the affected officer and two other suspects are still incarcerated as the command has since launched investigation into the matter.

The officer was alleged to have authorised the cutting of the seal on the container.

In the case of the two suspects at the Kirikiri prison, a source told our correspondent that the importer of the guns is still at large and yet to be arrested while the clearing agents are made to suffer.

Recall that the container of 1, 100 guns was declared as wash hand basin and water closets, but was on examination discovered to contain a total of 1, 100 pieces of pump action rifles of different configurations.

They include 600 pieces of Jojef Magnum black pump action, 300 pieces of  the Jojef Magnum silver colour of the gun and 200 pieces of the Jojef Magnum plastic single barrel hunting pump action guns, bringing to a total of 1, 100 pieces.

The consignment was said to have been intercepted and seized on the 6th of September, 2017, when operatives of the Intelligence Unit of the service on routine monitoring of activities at the terminals discovered one 20-foot container.