The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has intercepted bales of police uniforms, tear gas canisters and other paraphernalia of the Nigeria Police Force.
The uniforms, were intercepted in Lagos concealed in a Toyota Sienna mini-van that was heading out of the state.
Addressing the media, the area controller of the unit, Comptroller Muhammed Aliyu, said a suspect was in the custody of the unit in connection with the seizure. He said that the uniforms were a threat to national security as they were meant to get into the wrong hands.
According to him, ranks, belts, berets and police badges and identity cards were part of the siezure.
Aliyu said, “The seizure is a threat to national security because the uniform can be used for kidnapping, Boko Haram or elections but, generally, it threatens national security”
Giving details of the paraphernalia of the police seized, he said: “We have the ranks of Sergent, inspector, the belt and the badges on the ranks. you can see that the identity cards have no name on them. They are only printed and later they will be affixed with any names they want to put on it .”
The controller, who further disclosed that the vehicle was intercepted on a Lagos road, said the service would ensure that offensive goods of such nature are not allowed into the country.
“They were intercepted along the road on the highway and what we know is that it was caught on a Lagos road en-route another state. The seizure is of great concern because it concerns national security. Also, the quantity alone is not the concern but also the havoc it will cause.
“For instance, one bundle of this uniform can accommodate about 10 persons and Nigerians would complain about the atrocities of the police not knowing they are not real police but impostors,” he said.
When asked whether part of the contraband may have evaded the the officers of the service, the comptroller said the service knew how to recover the remaining, if there was any.
“There are certain issues we don’t need to tell the press. We strategize our operations and when I get more I will call you because if I say our strategies now, they will be aware. “
Speaking further on the seizure, he said, “Not only the identity cards and the ranks were intercepted but also cutlasses, what will a supposed policeman do with a cutlass? Have you ever seen a genuine policeman with cutlass? These are part of the atrocities they would have used the uniform to commit.
He warned those involved in the unwholesome practice to stop because the service would always be a step ahead of them.
He said: “I am telling them, those who are doing this unwholesome practices, should stop it and the ones they have in stock they should destroy them because we are coming for them. “