SSS Intercepts 13 containers of rocket launchers
By Godwin Oritse, Godfrey Bivbere & Ifeyinwa Obi
LAGOS—COMBINED security operatives, yesterday, intercepted 13 containers laden with arms and ammunition including rocket launchers, catridges and hand grenades at the A P Moller Terminals in Apapa port.
Although, no arrest had been made at the time of going to press, the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Marvel Akpoyibo, said the command has launched a manhunt for the owners as the Police Anti-bomb squad was busy opening the crates containing the arms.
The Apapa Area Customs Controller, CAC, Alhaji Abdulkadir Azerema said contents of the containers were not declared before they were intercepted.
The first container that was opened by the various security agencies that carried out examinations discovered the 24 crates of rocket launchers and other weapon of mass destruction.
Vanguard gathered that SSS, acting on a tip off intercepted the containers and cordoned off the entire examination bay of A.P. Moller where the containers were to be examined.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police ordered a re-enforcement of a full unit of Police Mobile Force to beef up the security of the area until the containers are examined.
The containers with numbers 7869612, 7827707,7868370, 7869356,7870064, 7866819,7868318, 7868771, 7866676, 9478240,7868431, 1301980 and 7869464, were suspected to have been shipped from Iran.
Besides, officers of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, State Security Services, SSS, Cotecna Inspection Services, the Security department of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and officers of the Nigeria Police Force were also present at the venue of examination.
Security agents made futile bids to stop the publication of the seizure yesterday.
Another senior security officer threatened to take it up with any media house that reported the matter.
The security officer said: “No media report yet until we have gotten ‘A, B, C, D. This is what is done abroad. This bothers on national security. I am not begging over this, it concerns you and I.
I am not bribing you not to report I am only saying that this thing bothers on security, do not impede the investigation by reporting what you have seen and what you have not seen. Any media house that reports this I will take that person up.”
Customs CG expresses shock
Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service ,Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, expressed shock at the cache of arms intercepted adding that he was happy that the arms were discovered.
He commended the commitment of the officers which led to the interception following the joint operation by various security agencies. and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, in collaboration with the Beninoise gendarmes have commenced joint border patrol with a view to tracking down containers suspected to carrying prohibitive equipment including arms and ammunition.
The command’s public relations officer, Mr. Ernest Olatha, a Deputy Superintendent of Customs, DSC, said although no such containers had been intercepted since the commencement of joint border patrols, the Customs were not relenting in their efforts at ensuring that the border was not used for small arms deal.
Olatha said: “We have commenced combing of all illegal routes, bushes and swampy areas to ensure that no incidence of arms proliferation takes place through this border.
At the approved routes, we ensure that all trucks are inspected to the letter and as I talk to you now, no such incidence has occurred.”
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