Shipping companies and terminal operators doing business in Nigeria are to face more scrutiny it has emerged. The increased scrutiny follows three arm seizures within eight months that had been false concealed as others goods imported into the country by individuals and companies.
Only on Tuesday, the head of the Nigerian Customs service, Hameed Ali, said the latest interception had been 1,100 pump action machine guns that had been falsely brought into the country as wash-hand basins and water closets.
It followed two earlier interceptions in the year of 661 pump action rifles in January and another 440 pump action rifles in May, 2017. It brought the total number of such illegal importation of fire arms into the country to 2,221 in eight months.
The increasing number of such importation appears to now worry the customs authorities who are now set to increase their scrutiny of shipping companies and terminal operators, who are thought to be likely accomplices in the act.
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Ali had warned shipping companies and terminal operators against complicity in importation of arms into the country, promising that the Customs would hold them accountable for any such importation in future.
On the part of terminal operators and shipping companies, Ali quipped that the appropriate laws would be applied on any terminal operator or shipping line that carries such consignments to the shores of Nigeria.
The CG said that on the 6th of September, 2017, operatives of the Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU), on a routine monitoring of activities at the terminals suspected a 1x20ft container with identification number: GESU2555208 which was not listed for examination, positioned with other containers scheduled for examination with the seal cut and locked with padlock.
“The bill of lading falsely indicates the content to be wash hand basins and water closets, but thorough examination the following day, 7th September, 2017, revealed the following; Jojef Magnum Black Pump Action Rifles (600pcs), Jojef Magnum Silver Pump Action Rifles (300pcs) and Jojef Magnum Plastic Single Barrel Hunting Gun Pump Action Rifles (200pcs). The vessel MV Bella Shuttle of 01-01-2017 conveyed the container.
“Importation of 1,100 rifles at a time when the nation is undergoing some security challenges is a clear indication that there are indeed some elements who do not believe in the unity, peace and well being of Nigerians” he said.