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Customs C-G orders relocation of seized 440 rifles to FOU

…As Nigerians express concern

By Godwin Oritse, Godfrey Bivbere & Glory Onyeagu

LAGOS—FOLLOWING the interception of a 20-foot container laden with arms at the Tin Can Island Command of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hammed Ali (retd), has ordered that the import be moved to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the service in Ikeja, pending investigation.

Disclosing this to Vanguard, yesterday, Public Relations Officer of Tin Can Island Customs Command, Mr. Uche Ejesieme, said the container would be moved to FOU before the close of work today (yesterday).

Ejesieme also said the Customs Area Comptroller, Mr. Yusuf Bashar, has expressed concern over the frequency with which illegal imports were shipped into the country and as such, directed all officers in the command to be on the alert to ensure unwholesome cargoes were detected.

A visit to the port showed that the offensive consignment had been loaded on a truck waiting to be moved to the FOU in Ikeja.

Meanwhile, Nigerians have expressed concern over the rate of importation of the dangerous cargoes.

Speaking to Vanguard on the development, Mr. Chris Ebare, a certified ship broker, said the development reflected the security situation in the country.

Ebare blamed the development on the faulty scanning machines in the ports, adding that if the cargo in question had gone through scanning, it would have been immediately detected.

Similarly, Mr. Oluwaseyi Adeyemo, a former Customs officer, said the rate with which arms were being imported into the country was a reflection of the state of the nation.

Adeyemo, however, warned against the frequency, adding that the government needed to come down hard on the culprits.

Meanwhile, National Deputy President of National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, Uchu Block, expressed doubt about the genuineness of the seizure as a result of the processes leading to the interception of the container in question.

Block said it was obvious that the Customs authorities had prior knowledge of the consignment, wondering why they did not allow the owners of the cargo to lodge their Single Goods Declaration, SGD, form which would have given them more information about the importer.

He suspected foul play by some officers of the service and the importer and opined that Nigerians were always in a hurry and, therefore, not patient enough to thoroughly investigate issues to get the root.


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