The Nigeria Customs Service ( NCS ) yesterday intercepted military uniforms, bullet proof jackets, boots and other dangerous items at the Lagos port.
The items were intercepted at the Port and Terminal Multipurpose Services Limited (PTML), Tin-can Island Port, by its Area Comptroller, Mr Folorunsho Adegoke.
Adegoke, while parading a suspect, Mr. Emmanuel Eko who was the importer of the cargo, said the military wares were intercepted at the terminal on Monday.
According to the Controller, the suspect, who claimed to be a member of the British Army and presented a Nigeria passport, had few years ago been arrested at the command for disguising as a Nigerian army officer.
The military wares included camouflage uniforms, military jackets, military helmets,berets, boots, rain coats, armoured jackets, communication radio jackets, face masks, ear protectors among others.
Although, the area comptroller did not give the number of uniforms seized, sources closed to the Command alleged that about 500 Army camouflage uniforms, 60 pairs of bullet proof jackets, 30 boots and other classified items were brought to the port by the importer.
Adegoke, who displayed the intercepted items to reporters at the terminal, said the military uniforms and boots which were mixed up with other items in a white bus shipped in from Britain, were discovered during routine examinations and checks.
He said: “It is the practice that when we have military wares, they are normally imported by military officers and they will write a letter to our headquarters to that effect, and when the goods come, they are always on ground to receive them.
“When you look at the list, one tends to suspect foul play, moreso the person bringing it is just an individual as far as the country is concerned, hence the need to do a thorough check on the consignment.”
Considering the security challenge in the country, the Customs chief said the military wares could be used to wreak havoc in any part of the country. He noted that terrorists now dress like solders.
According to him, the suspect refused to cooperate with his officers and nobody has come forward to speak on his behalf.
“The enforcement officers asked him many questions but he was just dribbling them. He is not cooperating with them.
“During our routine examination and checks, we discovered that a Volkswagen LT bus owned by the suspect has all thess stuffs inside. What we discovered are seizable numbers of Army camouflage uniforms and we have also discovered during examination some pairs of Army boots, bullet proof jackets and other items.
“Although the suspect has refused to make statement, but we always tell them that they should not come to our ports because we have our officers and men on ground to deal with the unusual situation. We have issued series of warning that any illegal trader should not come here because we have the entire wherewithal and intelligence readily available to discover this type of things.
“You can see that this thing is illegally imported. It is against Federal Government’s laws for somebody to import this kind of stuff. What we are trying to do is to hand over these items to the State Security Services (SSS), to continue investigation and get to the root of the matter. The suspect is with us. We are going to hand him over together with the items to SSS.”
Adegoke said the Comptroller-General, Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi, has warned them to be up and doing and extra vigilant at the ports because of the activities of the Boko Haram.
The items and the suspect were handed to SSS operatives at the event in the presence of reporters.
Source: The Nation


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