•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.
Although 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.