Customs declare two officers wanted over seized 661 rifles
Two officers of the Nigeria Customs Service who allegedly examined and cleared the ammunition-laden container at the Apapa port, Lagos State, have been declared wanted.
Our correspondent learnt on Tuesday that the officers, Abdullahi I, with service number 44483 ASC, and Odiba Haruna Inah, with service number 133386, fled after the weapons were uncovered by the operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja.
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), had said the agency arrested three suspects – Oscar Okafor (importer), Mahmud Hassan (clearing agent) and Sadique Mustapha (escort) – in connection with the arms smuggling.
He had explained that some other customs officers were arrested, adding that investigations were ongoing.
However, the spokesperson for the FOU, Jerry Attah, told our correspondent on Tuesday that the suspects were cooperating, saying the two officers were declared wanted for their roles in the incident.
He said, “Immediately the weapons were uncovered, they took to their heels and that is why we are declaring them wanted. They were the ones that examined and checked the container at the Apapa port.
“The other suspects, including three other officers, are still in our custody pending the conclusion of investigations. There will be no half measures. We will get to the root of the case.”
Our correspondent saw a document, signed by the DCG Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Dan Ugo, declaring the two men wanted.
The document, which displayed their pictures and force numbers, said, “The above customs officers are wanted in connection with the clearance of a one-by-40-foot container no PONU/825914/3 found to contain 661 pump-action rifles.
“Whenever/wherever seen, they should be arrested and taken to the nearest customs formation….”
The PUNCH had reported that customs officers on patrol along the Mile 2 Apapa Expressway intercepted a container with 49 boxes stuffed with 661 pump-action rifles.
The manifest, which accompanied the 40-foot container was said to have declared that ‘steel doors and other merchandise goods’ were in the container.
The officers, however, found boxes of the weapons concealed deep in the container which came from China and was routed through Turkey.