Some of the 440 pieces of assorted pump action rifles and other ammunitions intercepted by customs officers from a container marked as Antisera and Cannule (Chemical Formular) at the Tin Can Port in Lagos

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) yesterday impounded another 440 pump action rifles at the Tin Can Island Command, Lagos.

The 440 pieces of automatic pump action rifles were said to have been imported into the country from Turkey.

Customs operatives attached to the Federal Operations Unit earlier this year intercepted 49 containers with 661 pump action rifles at the Mile 2 area of Lagos.

Three persons among who are the importer, the clearing agent and the driver were arrested in connection with the 661 rifles.

Unlike the rifles intercepted in January, which were all same models, yesterday’s recovery was of various designs.

The contraband was carefully concealed in containers laden with Plaster of Paris (POP).

The Assistant Comptroller General of Customs (ACG) Monday Abueh, who represented the Comptroller General of Customs, told journalists that customs agent were able to carry out the arrest based on intelligence report.

According to him, the pump action rifles were manufactured in the U.S and Italy but imported from the Turkey.

Abueh who stated that arrests had been made in connection with the importation, added that for security reasons, the service was not ready to reveal their identities for now.

“They are pump actions of various designs, this is black colour, they are all pump-action and also the single barrel device that you’re familiar with.

“Based on intelligence report our officer under the command of Controller Bashar (Tincan Island Command), the container was identified and intercepted.

“We discovered that they used POP to conceal the importation and so there is no way you could know but based on intelligence report, we were able to know that the container was laden with arms.

“We have one defendant but due to security reason, we don’t want to make it public for now even the consignee, we are still keeping them under wrap because such information could hamper investigations which are still ongoing,” he said.

According to the ACG, the nation has been saved from another round of problem that the pump actions would have caused.

The 661 pieces intercepted at the Apapa port in January were concealed with steel doors and other merchandise good.

Following the January incident, the Customs declared two of its senior officers wanted over the importation of the rifles into the country.

The officers declared wanted were Abdulahi I., an assistant superintendent of customs (ASC), with service number 44483 and ACIC Odiba Inah, with service number 133386.

According to the Customs, the two officers later turned themselves in.

DCG Dan Ugo, Enforcement, Investigation & Inspection said at the time that  “the three (3) Officers earlier declared wanted in connection with the clearance of the 661 pump action riffles have all reported and are being investigated.

“NCS remains resolute on its determination to ensure that justice is served to all those found involved”.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali (rtd) also said in January that the agency had arrested three suspects including,  Oscar Okafor (importer), Mahmud Hassan (clearing agent) and Sadique Mustapha (escort) in connection with the arms smuggling.

Our correspondent gathered that investigation is still ongoing and those arrested in the January importation of the illegal arms importation are being detained by the Custom

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