By Anozie Egole
The Nigeria Customs Service, on Monday, said it intercepted 31 rifles and ammunition coming to Nigeria from the United States in the first two weeks of July.
Addressing journalists at the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A Ikeja, Lagos, the acting Controller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, said the contrabands were seized at the Ports and Terminal Multipurpose Limited, Tincan Island Ports and at Ogun State.
Adeniyi said a 40ft container carrying 10 arms and various rounds of live ammunition concealed inside plastic drums were intercepted.
He said they were intercepted during a joint operation with some other security agencies.
The Customs boss said, “On July 5, 2023, during a joint operation with the Nigeria Police, the Department of State Services, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and the Customs Intelligence Unit at the PTML Command, a thorough physical examination of a 40ft container was conducted.
“The examination revealed the concealment of 10 arms and various rounds of live ammunition inside plastic drums. The details are, three new Pump Action rifles and one new unit of an armed rifle, six new different makes of pistols, one new millennium G2 pistol, one new Sarsilmaz SAR-9X pistol, one new Lugger Security-9 pistol, one new Taurus Banbridge G3C pistol, one new SCCY CPX-2 pistol, and one new Taurus (63 pistols), 14 empty magazines and 442 rounds of live ammunition.”
He said two suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure.
“The clearing agent, Shokunbi Olanrewaju of Shooler Global International Limited and Joseph Nwadiodor, who was expected to take delivery of the container, are currently detained as suspects in connection with the seizure,” he said.
Adeniyi added that within the same period, a 40ft container was intercepted at Tincan and 18 arms, packets of cartridges and rounds of live ammunition hidden inside plastic drums were uncovered.
“The details are six different makes of pistols, two Sar9 Sarsilmarz Pistols, one Ruger American Pistol and three Taurus G3c – Bainbridge Pistols), 12 different makes of rifles, Five Rz17hd rifles, one Gamo rifle, five pump action rifles and one Rz17 tactical rifle), 10 packets of cartridges, two packets of 9mm ammunition, 100 rounds of 9mm Winchester ammunition, one carton of frontier cartridges and two packets of Buckshot ammunition,” he added.
He added that during a routine patrol by officers of the Joint Border Patrol Team, Sector 2 along the Owode/Ajilete area of Ogun State, an unregistered Toyota Camry loaded with six sacks of charcoal, which was used to conceal three pump action riffles with 174 live cartridges were also intercepted.
Adeniyi said the driver of the vehicle jumped into the bush and escaped arrest.
“Illicit arms obtained by non-state actors have boosted the proliferation of small arms and ammunition across the country. This accounts for the increase in violent kidnappings, robberies and mass killings in society.
“In summary, a total of 31 rifles were intercepted within the first two weeks of July 2023,” he said.