The Nigeria Customs Service yesterday said it has identified a criminal syndicate made of Nigerians based in Turkey behind the illegal importation of weapons into the country.
This is even as it impounded another 470 pump action rifles allegedly being smuggled into the country from Turkey.
This brings to about 2,671 pump action rifles impounded by custom operatives in the last nine months.
A total of about 1,100 pump action guns also imported from Turkey by the syndicate were intercepted on Monday last week by customs operatives attached to Tin-Can Island Command.
Yesterday’s seizure was the fourth in a series of such seizures this year.
Briefing media men on the latest seizure at the Enforcement unit of Tin-Can Island Command, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) yesterday revealed that the service had been able to identify the syndicate behind the illegal importation of fire arms into the country.
Ali who made this revelation at Tin-Can Island Command Lagos while displaying another 470 pump action rifles, said that the Customs High Command would be meeting with the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria on today to discuss the issue, stressing that the rate of importation of fire arms from Turkey to Nigeria was alarming, as the recent seizure would be the fourth in a roll of such seizures this year.
He said, “We have identified a particular Nigerian syndicate in Turkey involved in the criminal importation of arms. We will go to all length to ensure that they are brought to book. We have narrowed down this particular seizure to the person who signed the import document. This is aside identifying the company used for the importation. We have written to the Turkish Embassy in Nigeria. Fortunately, we have made an inroad into the investigation.”
He said the importer of the latest cargo is Great James Oil and Has Ltd, while the vessel is MV Arkas Africa owned by Hull Blyth.