30th September, 2011
There was a confrontation between the operatives of the Ports Authority Police Command (PAPC) and the Tin-Can Island Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) over the seizure of items suspected to be explosives at Five Star Logistics terminals at the Tin-Can Island Port Complex.
The Customs Area Controller, CAC, of the command, Comptroller Charles Edike, had, on discovery of the explosives by his officers during physical examination of the 40 foot container with serial number KKFU 7662007, initiated moves to brief the press, only for a squad of police officers led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the Tin-Can Island Port Police Station, Sup. Ahmed Daura, to request that the container be moved out of the port.
According to our source, some of the explosives had already been loaded into a vehicle, about to be taken out of the terminal when the CAC arrived and stopped the evacuation.
It was alleged that the face-off between the two government security agencies is due to lack of communication and unending rivalry between them.
Speaking with newsmen after about two hours of waiting, Edike said the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Abdulahi Dikko, had directed that the container should not be allowed to leve the port without his authorisation.
He stated that the explosives, which were shipped into the country from China, were falsely declared to be baby toys, pipes and lanterns, adding that his officers are on the trail of the importer.
The Customs boss attributed the seizure to the re-invigoration of the Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU) by the Comptroller-General.
“The Customs Intelligent Unit gave us information about the container suspected to contain explosives and immediately we swung into action and the container was brought down,â€ he said.
Edike noted that an expert would be required to ascertain the capacity of the explosives. â€œWe are not experts, so we would not tell you categorically what it is but our suspicion is that they are explosives even from what is written on the carton, we know that they are sensitive material that borders on the security of the nationâ€, Edike said.
The explosives, according to him, will be warehoused at the terminal until further directives from the Comptroller General. â€œThe CGC has assured Nigerians that the Nigeria Customs Service is prepared to secure every port in Nigeria. Wherever anything that will jeopardize the security of the nation is coming from, they will not have their way because all officers are on red alert,â€ Edike said.