The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali has expressed concern over the 671 pump action rifles imported from Turkey which appeared to suggest complicity of both Nigerian and Turkish officials.
He expressed his worry at a meeting with the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Hakan Cakil, who paid him a courtesy call at the Customs Headquarters in Abuja.
In a statement by the customs spokesman, Joseph Attah, the customs boss said he was concerned that four recent major seizures of illegal arms came from Turkey.
However, the Turkish Ambassador defended his country saying that all the four shipments intercepted had ”false declarations on the bills of lading.”
Mr. Cakil restated his country’s support for Nigeria’s security and wellbeing adding that the Turkish government will cooperate with Nigeria in every step to deal decisively with those found involved.
Security operatives recently nabbed five suspects who reportedly brought 661 pump-action rifles into the country from Turkey through the Apapa Port in Lagos, using a 40-feet container, which they falsely claimed contained steel doors.
To facilitate the illegal importation, the accused allegedly forged a number of documents including a bill of lading, and a ‘Form M and a Pre-Arrival Assessment Report.
In order to evade payment of customs duty, the suspects allegedly forged a bill of lading issued at Istanbul on January 9, 2017, falsely claiming that it was issued at Shanghai, China.
In the forged bill of lading, they allegedly filled “steel door” as the content of the container instead of rifles.
They were also said to have also offered a bribe of N400,000 to an official of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, attached to the Federal Operations Unit to influence the said officer not to conduct a “hundred per cent search on the 40-feet container with number PONU 825914/3.”
The Nigerian Customs has since dismissed four of its officials in August according to Mr. Attah. This reportedly became necessary, after the accused officials were allegedly found complacent in the arms smuggling case.
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