Island Stockpiled With Cache of Weapons Discovered by Task Force

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The National Task Force against the Importation of Illegal Arms on Wednesday in Abuja disclosed that it had uncovered an island stockpiled with arms and ammunitions.

The task force also pointed fingers at the Nigerian Customs Service and other security agencies for collusion in the importation of small arms and light weapons into the country.

The Director-General, NATFORCE, Chief Emmanuel Okereke, raised the alarm at a press briefing adding that security agencies were frustrating their activities.

The task force, which is the product of a public-private partnership between the importers’ association and the Federal Government came into being on July 16, 2010 under the Office of the National Security Adviser to checkmate the flow of small arms into the country.

Okereke said, “We have unearthed an island where a large cache of arms and ammunition are stockpiled and we will need a combined team of Police and the Army to launch a successful raid on the place. You people will soon hear of it and you will be surprised at the cache of arms and there are very highly-placed individuals behind it.”

He went on, “We have come to understand that the cause of seemingly stubborn security crisis in this country is in part due to the neglect of roles by the some members of security agencies. This has allowed several criminal activities to take place.

“The Customs have been trying to frustrate us from carrying out our work because they have been compromised by those engaged in arms deals.

“This has gone beyond being a matter of interest. We want to liberate Nigeria from the clutches of criminals. We are ready to do whatever it takes to safeguard our lives.”

Okereke, who is also the National President of the Importers’ Association of Nigeria said that the previous cordial relationship which the group enjoyed with the police had gone sour.

This, he noted, occurred when the task force arrested oil bunkerers in Benue State suspected to be linked with some top policemen.

He also called on the Presidency to caution officers and men of the Customs Service whom he said were frustrating the efforts of the team.

However, the Deputy Spokesperson for NCS, Mr Joseph Attah disputed the statements of the NATFORCE boss.

He said, “I will not join issues with him, but if someone will sound that way, one thing is clear that such a person is not up to date with the level of development in the Customs. The man is out of tune with what is happening at our ports and borders. Maybe, the man is still thinking that the Customs of today is still the Customs of yesterday where manual processes are involved.

“Today, most of our operations and processes are electronic, which he is most likely unaware of. As human beings, if he is talking of people passing unapproved routes, those are some of the challenges the NCS is dealing with appropriately.”

“But to go as far as to accuse the NCS of being compromised is an unfair allegation.”

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