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Written by Dele Aderibigbe and Okey Muogbo Wednesday, 27 October 2010
MEN of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Tuesday, seized 13 container loads of arms and ammunition, at the Lagos Ports Complex. They were brought into the country allegedly to prosecute the 2011 general election.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr Marvel Akpoyibo, heads of the State Security Service (SSS), Directorate of Military Intelligence, Naval Intelligence and other security chiefs were still at the port when Nigerian Tribune reporter left there at 7.46 p.m.
Impeccable sources told the Nigerian Tribune that the containers, which were off-loaded at the AP Moller Terminal, drew attention when the clearing agent reportedly pledged to pay any amount to have them transferred from the port to an off-dock terminal, preferring to have the containers screened outside the ports.
The containers, which the sources disclosed were shipped in from Iran, allegedly contained various sizes of grenades, rocket launchers, different types of bombs, assault rifles and heavy machine guns.
Nigerian Tribune further learnt that once the agent’s entreaties had failed, the report was communicated to relevant people, who decided to perform an on-the-spot evaluation, even as the importers reportedly went underground.
“We cannot quantify the contents yet. All we know for now is that they are concealed in tiles,” a source, pleading anonymity said, adding that nobody was going home from the port till today (Wednesday).
“When the Customs Public Relations Officer was contacted, he confirmed it, highlighting that the first container which was opened at about 6.00 p.m. was still being examined.
“As I am speaking right now with you, the first container is still being examined. We understand they are 13 in number. And the content of the first showed it had mortals, bullets and such related items,”Customs Public Relations Officer, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, said at 8.07 p.m.
Commenting on the development, spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, an Assistant Director, confirmed that the bill of lading accompanying the containers listed their contents as building materials.
According to her, of the 13 containers, 12 were still to be examined as operatives were busy searching the first container which carried 24 different crates containing what were suspected to be explosives, including grenades, rocket launchers and ammunition of different capacities.
Mrs Ogar, however, said that investigations were still ongoing to establish more issues about the imports, adding that the country of origin could not be disclosed at press time because of bilateral concerns.