Customs impound over 60,000 rounds of ammunition

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The Nigerian Customs Services has seized arms and ammunition imported into the country from the United States and Europe, on 17 different occasions at the various points of entry between 2012 and 2016.

This revelation was contained in a report prepared by the Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection Department detailing its general anti-smuggling performance for the each of the four years.

It said the seizures were carried out during the period under review as part of its anti-smuggling activities.

It stated that the anti-smuggling activities covered all the airports, seaports, creeks and border stations nationwide.

In the report, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, the service did not provide the monetary value of the confiscated arms and ammunition.

This is opposed to other confiscated items where their monetary values were provided by the service.

But sources within the agency confided in our correspondent that over 60,000 rounds of ammunition would have been confiscated at different entry points into the country within the last four year.

The report stated that while the service recorded just one case of seizure of arms and ammunition in 2012, the figure rose by 700 per cent to eight cases in 2013.

In 2014, according to the report, six cases of confiscation of imported arms and ammunition were recorded by the NCS while none was recorded in 2015.

He said the development if left unchecked is capable of affecting the peace and economic development of the nation.

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He said, “It is a must for us to curtail the influx of firearms. You could recall that the Libyan episode and Mali episode have now created more serious nature of circulation of arms in the whole of Africa.

“The influx of arms is what gives impetus for criminals to operate. If we are able to block and make sure that arms is not circulated the way it is, I am sure we will reduce to minimum the menace.

“Some of the people who are armed robbers and kidnappers, without arms in their hands, they cannot confront most of their victims.”

Commenting on the development, the Public Relations Officer,NCS, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, told our correspondent during a telephone interview on Saturday that the influx of arms and ammunition into the country was worrisome.

He explained that despite the fact that the NCS had limited of scanners, the agency had been performing its statutory anti smuggling duties subject to the constraint.

Adeniyi who did not provide the amount of arms and ammunition seized, added that just last week, the service recorded the seizure of arms in Tin Can Island Port.

Before that, he explained that another case was the one involving large cache of armunition concealed in foodstuffs in a border in Oyo state.

He said “It’s a worrisome development for all well meaning Nigerians because of the direct nexus between arms smuggling and various criminal acts like insurgency, militancy, communal crisis, kidnapping and others.

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