30th March, 2012
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at Tin-Can Island Port discovered during a routine examination recently, a container containing bales of army uniforms.
Customs Area Controller, Tin-Can Island Command, Comptroller Issah Nuhu told newsmen at the unveiling of the seized military uniforms in Lagos that his men found the uniforms in a 40-foot container.
According to him, the container was declared to contain vehicles, but after a routine examination, one of the vehicles had in it bales of army uniforms packed in its boot.
He said his men had arrested the owner/importer of the container, while another person has claimed responsibility for the army uniforms.
“On Tuesday 20 March, 2012, during a routine examination of cargoes, we were able to fish out the under-listed items which were concealed in the boot of a vehicle inside a 40 foot container with a number ECNU 920690/0. We have somebody who claimed ownership of the container, and he is already with us. And we equally have somebody who claimed the ownership of the camouflage (army uniform) and he is also with us.
“The numbers of camouflage are: 10 pieces in Nigerian Army colour, we have six camouflage in the same Nigerian army colour. We have 10 pairs of army shoes in army colour, one T-shirt, two belts, two pairs of slippers in camouflage colour and 17 army face caps,” he said.
Nuhu however stated that investigation had begun on the matter to know if the alleged importer secured a clearance from the National Security Advisers office for the items before the importation.
He said that his command had briefed all relevant security agencies on the matter.
He equally said that the NCS responsibility went beyond revenue collector for the country, adding that the ports were places where security measures must be in place to forestall security risk.
“Meanwhile, a full investigation is on to know the circumstance that led to the importation. I know that investigation will reveal how and why they came in.”
Reacting to the risk of importing the camouflage, Nuhu said: “If these army uniforms are brought in by wrong hands, you can imagine the disaster it can cause, because you will not be able to identify if the person is a genuine army person or not. The only thing that gives identity to a person is his uniform. And if the uniform gets to a wrong hand, you may not know who is who. In most cases, we hear certain atrocities being committed by security agencies, not knowing these uniforms are obtained illegally. And after the incident, the public will see the security agencies as the culprits. I believe that this could be something like that.