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How we burst syndicate smuggling expired tyres into Nigeria —AIG

•Police arrest one suspect, traces others to Dubai

By Bashir Adefaka

Maritime Police Command, under  Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Alhaji Musa Katsina, covering 21 states with coastal lines across Nigeria, has arrested a  suspected  clearing agent allegedly working for a  syndicate that specialised in smuggling.

During  a press briefing in Lagos, the AIG said the suspected agent (names withheld) was arrested  along Ikorodu Road, Lagos when his men, working on  intelligence, trailed  a truck conveying a 40-foot  container  he moved out of the ports at  midnight.

tyresAlthough he said the agent was cooperating with the command, names of the container’s  owner and other details declared on the documents the suspect was holding were said  to be fake. It therefore occurred to the police top-notch that the man  would need to prove why the police should not believe  he was the arrowhead  of the syndicate that was said to be operating from Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE).

In the meantime, Katsina  stated that the said agent would be treated as a  principal suspect even as the police boss stated that  investigation was on to uncover how the 40-foot container left  the port at  midnight without being checked  by Customs.  Sunday Vanguard  investigation also  revealed that the agent claimed to have bribed some Customs officers at different points at the ports who then let him go with the container said to  holding  four cars including a Jeep, Mercedes Benz car and a Toyota Camry car, which was declared as a  2001 model on paper as against the 2010 model that it truly was.  Also in the container  were  about 500 tyres the AIG said expired five years ago.

The AIG Maritime Police Command said: “How they found their way into the Nigerian territorial space is what we are investigating. But let me tell you that this issue of expired tyres, going beyond that, I must tell you that if we had not intercepted the container, these tyres would have gone into an illegal secret processing area where they would subject them to all forms of recycling only for them to appear as new. They would therefore present them to the market as new tyres only for me and you to take our money to buy our own coffin.   You fix it into your vehicle, you ply the road, the next thing you hear is a deafening bang of a burst tyre and the next thing you see is obituary made possible by this crime.

 

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