Nigerian security, customs services seize 56 750 rounds of ammunition


Security and customs services in Nigeria’s Oyo State have seized more than 56 000 rounds of ammunition stashed into 277 crates disguised as bags of dry cassava during a security operation which also uncovered 2 176 bags of smuggled rice and an assortment of consumer and industrial goods.

Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Area Controller for the Oyo-Osun State, Richard Oteri, told journalists that the operation, carried out by the NCS, Nigerian Army and Police, uncovered 56 750 rounds of live ammunition after intercepting and searching a suspicious truck.

Oteri said the suspected smugglers abandoned the truck and fled as the security officers closed in and no arrest have been made to date.
“The vehicle conveying the ammunition was intercepted along the Igboho Road, Saki Axis (in Oyo). The ammunition was concealed in bags packed with dried cassava. I take this opportunity to appeal to our royal fathers and community leaders to enlighten and sensitise their wards on the attendant dangers of smuggling. This is necessary in the light of the serious security challenges facing our nation,” Oteri said.

The discovery of the large quantity of ammunition in transit through Oyo State came days after police in Ogun State arrested a man who was found in possession of 3 500 rounds of live AK-47 ammunition.

Oteri said the operation also led to the seizure of smuggled goods including vehicles, food and clothing.

Last month, the inter-agency taskforce set up to coordinate the collection of illegal firearms under the government’s amnesty programme for militants in the Niger Delta handed over some 20 000 weapons surrendered by former combatants who accepted President Goodluck Jonathan’s offer of amnesty.

Adebayor Olaniyi, General Officer Commanding the Enugu-based 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army, said the militants handed over 18 971 locally-made rifles, 482 automatic assault rifles, 20 132 rounds of ammunition and 295 magazines. He said the weapons would be destroyed.

Taskforce co-ordinator Air Vice Marshal Gbum said they will continue operations to recover and destroy unlicensed firearms and munitions to pave way for reconciliation among communities in the strife-torn Delta and Bayelsa states.

Because of the porous nature of its land, sea and air borders, Nigeria remains a key transit point and consumer destination for weapons which are smuggled into the country from South America and the Middle East and couriered overland into the insurgency-plagued northwest Africa.

With US assistance, the country is seeking various types of digital border surveillance systems to strengthen its capacity to secure its land, air and maritime boundaries.