OFFICERS of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) attached to the Tin Can Island Command in Lagos, on Friday, intercepted a container loaded with arms and ammunition during a routine check.
This was disclosed by Spokesperson of the Tin Can Customs Command Uche Ejesieme, who revealed that operatives stationed at the Tincan Island Command, during a routine physical examination at the TIC Terminal, discovered the suspected weapons.
He also said the contents of the consignment were disguised as electronics but the suspicious NCS officials, upon close examination of the cartons, discovered that they were filled with guns.
“The Command wish to confirm very categorically that during a routine examination at the terminal B2 (Vehicle) of the TICT on Friday, 17th December 2021, our operatives stumbled on a suspected container laden with arms and possibly ammunition.
“We quickly sealed it up and intimated the terminal operators to quickly move the container to our enforcement unit where we hope to conduct 100 per cent examination by Monday morning,” he said.
According to a 2020 report released by SBM Intelligence, the number of small arms in circulation in Nigeria in the hands of civilian non-state actors was estimated at 6.145 million while the armed forces and law enforcement collectively accounted for 586,600 firearms.
It also stated that the trend of arms proliferation in Nigeria had a direct impact on Nigeria’s internal security, driving kidnapping, banditry, cultism and communal clashes.
The public relations officer of the Tin Can Customs Command also confirmed that investigations would be carried out to ensure the criminal gangs were exposed.
“Consequently and in line with our standard operating procedure, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Musa Abdullahi has written to the Terminal Operators of TIC requesting that the said container be immediately moved to the Enforcement Unit of the Command for 100 per cent re-examination.
“We want to assure Nigerians that the Command will continue to decimate and degrade the activities of these criminal gangs whose unpatriotic activities are creating avoidable tension,” he said.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.