Customs intercepts rifles worth N270m at Lagos airport


The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted a cache of arms and ammunition valued at N270 million at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) in Lagos.

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adeniyi, made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) through the Customs spokesman, Abdullahi Maiwada, in Lagos on Wednesday.

The consignment, which was intercepted at the cargo section of the MMA, was also imported from Turkiye with one suspect in custody.

According to the Customs boss, military hardware and accoutrements are also intercepted by the airport command.

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“You may recall that the customs recently impounded 11 rifles and six pistols, among other items.

“Similarly, just two days ago, a press briefing of this kind was held in Port Harcourt, where we showcased the seizure of 844 rifles and 112,500 rounds of ammunition.

“On June 19, we deployed our personnel to man all the exit points effectively and mandated all examination officers to conduct 100 per cent examination of all consignments.

“During the examination, an item was discovered and suspected to be part of a rifle from a console consignment with airway bill number 235-58737755, emanating from Turkey,” he said.

He said that the entire consignment was isolated for thorough examination.

“At the end of the examination, it was established that four packages were used to conceal 55 pieces of unassembled Jojef Magnum (Tomahawk) semi-automatic shotgun.

“The unassembled rifles were concealed using shower faucet. The duty paid value of these illicit arms is N270.8 million and a suspect is currently in our custody.

“The suspect is in connection with this illicit arms importation and is assisting with an ongoing investigation to uncover the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” Adeniyi said.

He added that the analysis of this with similar recent seizures indicated that some unscrupulous Nigerians based in Turkey were purchasing, packaging and exporting these illicit arms to Nigeria.

“Intelligence further revealed that they are exploring new frontiers to perpetrate their nefarious activities.

“Still, I can assure Nigerians that all our commands are on red alert to intercept any such illicit arms importation,” he added.

Adeniyi said that other military and para-military hardware and accoutrements were also seized by the command worth N1.29 billion.

“The military accoutrements are drones, ballistic vests, helmets, walkie-talkies among others.

“Also, on display are some military and paramilitary accoutrements improperly imported without end users’ certificates with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.29 billion.

“The breakdown of these items is as follows: 148 pieces of drones; 172 pieces of ballistic vest; 15 pieces of ballistic vest; one piece of ballistic helmet; 8 pieces of walkie-talkies; 9,172 pieces of military and para-military badges.

“Others are 20 pieces of camouflage uniform; 100 pieces of camouflage vest; 172 pieces of Camouflage caps and 120 pieces of binoculars,” he said.

The Customs boss noted that the total Duty Paid Value of all the displayed items was N1.56 billion.

He explained, “Relying on the relevant provisions of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023, the following decisions have been taken on the illicit items.

“The 55 pieces of unassembled JOJEF Magnum AGNUM SemiEMI Automatic Shotgun are hereby seized, with the concealing items.

“The items would be handed over to the coordinator of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, under the office of the National Security Adviser, for diligent investigation and prosecution.

“The Suspect arrested will be handed over to the centre for further processing. We will work diligently with other agencies of government to apprehend all other parties to this illicit importation.”

NAN also report that less than 48 hour the Nigeria Customs Service discovered 844 riffles and 112,500 rounds of ammunition in onne on Monday, July 1.

NAN recall that NCS seized the arms and ammunition at the Port Harcourt Area II Command in Onne.

The Customs boss had said that they acted on credible intelligence on June 21, 2024, Customs officers, while inspecting a suspicious 1×40-foot container from Turkey, found it to contain 844 rifles and 112,500 rounds of live ammunition.

Adeniyi said the items were concealed among doors, furniture, plumbing fittings, and leather bags, with a total duty-paid value of N4.1 billion.

He said that three suspects were detained in connection with the seizurebof ammunition at onne with a thorough investigation underway to ensure all involved face legal consequences.

Adeniyi said in June 29, 2024, customs officers also intercepted eight 40-foot containers destined for a bonded warehouse from Onne Port.

He said the containers contained 1.05 million bottles of CSC Cough Syrup with Codeine, 3.5 million tablets of Trodol Benzhexol, and 720 bales of used clothes with the duty-paid value of N13.9 billion.

The customs boss said that the interception underscored Customs’ commitment to national security and public safety. (NAN)

By Aisha Cole

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