Officials of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) command and other security agencies were shocked yesterday when they discovered 11 cartons of explosives carefully packaged to beat security checks.The lethal weapons, which were literally abandoned at the Nigeria Aviation Company Limited (NAHCO),warehouse weighed 95 kilogrammes.
The cartons, labelled cartridge powder devices and chargers were flown in from South Africa since February 24, 2012, but vigilant personnel at the NAHCO warehouse alerted security agencies to further look into the cargo, judging from the crooked way the importer handled the clearing process.
The NAHCO staff observed that the importer wanted to smuggle them out of the cargo terminal without properly declaring the items.
More so, the importer evaded import duty payment, making the items more suspicious.
The Customs Area controller in charge of MMIA, Mr. Charles Eporwei Edike, while parading the suspect, before journalists explained that the importer, who claimed that he is a miner in Kaduna State, brought in the explosives concealed in pallets made of other goods without disclosing to the relevant authorities the true content.
This, he said, contravenes the rules of the government and added that he colluded with some clearing agents to take the explosives out of the cargo terminal without securing the relevant police permit and making payments to government on the duty for such goods.
Edike 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.
“The explosives, according to our investigations, are meant for marine and offshore operations. It is against the Explosives Act of 1964. The imported has violated all existing regulations and even contravened the law. If these items were released to him, they could have been used to cause mayhem; we are now going to hand him and the items over to the police for further investigations.”
He explained that vigilant security agents at the terminal noticed that the goods were undeclared explosives that were concealed along other goods. According to him, security agents had notified the Customs, which in turn informed other relevant agencies, including the Nigeria Police to carry out tests on the items, which were found to be prohibited explosives.
He 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.