By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service On Friday intercepted a 1x40ft container with number TRHU8058369, reportedly declared as plasma television, but on examination Customs discovered it to be loaded with cartons of guns.
DAILY TREND NEWS gathered exclusively that the incident was surprising to the examining officers and the clearing agent because the shipper made very feeble attempt at concealing the firearms.
Sources told our correspondent that the clearing license used to clear cargo was commercialised, this means that the clearing agent owning the license sublet it for a fee for another person to use.
When he was contacted by our correspondent, Public Relations Officer of the Tin Can Customs, Mr Uche Ejesieme confirmed the report of the gun import
He however declined further statements as the command is yet to brief the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali and the Zonal Office in Lagos about the development.
He said more information would be revealed after the top echelon of the service have been intimated with the development.
He however confirmed that the container of guns were discovered during routine examination at terminal B2 (Vehicle) of the TICT.
“The officers intercepted a container loaded with weapons, but as we speak, what we have done as a command is that we have written to the terminal to evacuate the container immediately to enforcement unit for 100 percent examination so that we can actually ascertain the quantity and other relevant information”
“So, as we speak, we expect the terminal to evacuate the container to the enforcement unit where we intend to strip it, and the quantity, names of people involved and other further information would be available”
He reiterated that for now, the event is still sketchy and that no arrest has been made.
The customs however vowed to trace the matter to its very roots and apprehend those suspects in connection.
“Most times, the suspect you see is those freight forwarders and agents coming for examination, but we are more interested in getting to the importer and everyone involved in that criminal importation to nip it in the bud” he assured
Also speaking with our correspondent, Public Relations Officer of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Port Chapter, Mrs Onome Monije charged all agents to be careful on the kind of job they accept to clear.
She equally warned agents to be wary of subletting their clearing license to third parties to use.
According to Onome, the agent who went for the examination might have had no knowledge of the criminal import.
In admonition, she said “To those of us commercializing our license because of peanuts, let us wake up and ask questions before we sign and be in charge of our license before we land in trouble”
“As it is now, there is no way this license owner would not land in Abuja and cool his brain in kirikiri lets be wise, ignorance is not an excuse in court of law” she said