Syndicates smuggling weapons, drugs into Nigeria for insurgents, say NCS, NDLEA

The Tin Can Island command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have revealed that syndicates operating within West and Central Africa are involved in smuggling arms, ammunition, and hard drugs into the country.

The NCS stated that these syndicates intend to use these items for nefarious activities, such as supporting insurgents and kidnappings, along with other vices detrimental to the well-being and security of the nation.

This revelation follows the seizure of rifles, including pump action guns, pistols, semi-automatic arms, and pepper spray guns, as well as heroin, cannabis and military camouflage vests, concealed in various containers at the Tin Can Island Port from January to March 2024.

The Customs Area Controller for the command, Dera Nnadi, handed over the seized items to the Department of State Security Service (DSS) and the NDLEA, respectively.

Additional items seized included flat-screen television sets, an HP printer, six cartons containing scanner machines, five empty metal jerry cans, two washing machines, three sets of bed frames, a set of living room furniture, three used microwaves, four sets of used sound systems, and 16 bags containing used clothes and personal effects, among others.

Nnadi stated that the NCS would continue making seizures to support the Federal Government’s resolve to ensure national safety.

“The command’s anti-smuggling drive remains vigorous. As the lead agency at the port, the enforcement unit, under my supervision and in collaboration with critical stakeholders, has coordinated several 100 per cent physical examinations to ensure compliance with international trade,” he said.

Regarding revenue generation, Nnadi disclosed that the command generated over N240 billion from January 1 to March 15, 2024, surpassing the N188 billion targets.

He said in January, the command collected a total of N88.4 billion, exceeding the expected revenue of N42.5 billion by 7.89 per cent, while in February, it generated N100.3 billion, higher than the N94 billion expected, and collected N42.5 billion from March 1 to 13.

Nnadi also praised the Federal Government for opening the Tin Can/Mile 2 port access roads, noting that this would enhance the port’s output through greater efficiency and faster cargo evacuation.

Receiving the seized psychotropic substances, the NDLEA Commander of Narcotics at Tin Can Island port, Mohammed Abubakar, noted that some narcotics seizures were linked to the arms.

He revealed that a syndicate operating within the West and Central African region was connected to the seizures and advised freight agents to properly profile their clients to avoid being conduits for arms and hard drugs.

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