Security agencies at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport ( MMIA) under the aegis of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), Murtala Muhammed International Airport ( MMIA), Command yesterday intercepted eleven cartons of explosives weighing 95 kilogrammes which were allegedly smuggled into the country.
The eleven cartons of explosives labeled catridge powder devices and chargers were flown in from South Africa since February 24, 2012, but vigilant personnel at the Nigeria Aviation Company Limited ( NAHCO), warehouse alerted security agencies, when they observed that the importer wanted to smuggle them out of the cargo terminal without declaring the items, even as the relevant duty on the items were not been paid to government.
Speaking on the seizure, the Customs Area Controller, MMIA Command, Mr Charles Eporwei Edike, while parading the suspect, before journalists affirmed that the importer, who claimed that he is a miner in Kaduna State brought in the explosives into Nigeria concealed in pallets made of other goods without disclosing to the relevant authorities the content.
Mr. Edike further explained that it was those vigilant security agents at the terminal that discovered that the goods were undeclared explosives that were concealed along other goods that notified the Customs authorities as well as other relevant agencies including the Nigeria Police to carry out tests on the items, which were found to be prohibited explosives.
The Customs Area Comptrollers also gave the name of the consignee as Miero Marble Granite and Stones Limited in Kaduna State, with one Mr Michael Awara Ernest as the representative to collect the explosives at the cargo terminal.
The Customs boss added that the name of the manufacturer ( consigner ) of the explosives as Nobleteq Arms and Ammunition Gateway Industrial Park in Centurion, South Africa.
The Customs boss added hat the explosives and the suspects have been adequately handed over to the police and other security agencies for proper investigations in order to ascertaining the motive for the importation of such items into the country.
He however assured that the long arm of the law would be meted out on operators who do not abide by government rules and regulations, affirming that it was wrong and criminal for anybody to import and want to clear any prohibited goods out of the airport without proper documentation and payment of the prescribed duties.
He said : "There was no documentation and duty paid. The explosives were concealed in a pallet with other items. Even, the law does not permit that any consignment is released without physical examination, which must be done after the relevant payments has been done. In this case the explosives were almost released until the vigilance of our officials led to the discovery’’
“What has happened is an absolute prohibition, the importer needed a permit and user certificate and police permit, but all these he did not secure, yet embarked on the criminal way to smuggle out the explosives. We want to warn that no agent should have access to any consignment until relevant payments including government duty are paid’’
‘‘In this case the consignee only paid handling charges; rather he evaded customs duty, which should have been paid first’’ he added.