The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday intercepted bales of illegal police uniform, tear gas canisters and other paraphernalia of the Nigeria Police.
Coming some days to the general elections, the Customs Area Comptroller of the unit, Muhammed Aliyu, said the uniforms were concealed in a Toyota Sienna space bus, heading out of Lagos.
He said a suspect was arrested in connection with the seizure.
Aliyu explained that the illegal uniforms are threat to national security, as it is destined to get to the wrong hands, especially at this critical moment in the history of the nation.
He added that ranks, belts, berets and police badges with identity cards were part of what were intercepted by the unit.
The CAC said: “The seizure is a threat to national security because the uniform can be used for kidnapping, Boko Haram insurgency, or elections. But generally, it threatens national security.”
Giving details on the police paraphernalia seized, he said: “We have the ranks of sergeant, inspector, with the belt and badges on the ranks, even though the identity cards have no name on them.
He added that they were only printed with a view to later affixing any name they would want to put on them.
The CAC who further disclosed that the vehicle was intercepted on Lagos road, promising that the service would ensure that the offensive goods 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 Lagos road enroute another state. The seizure is of great concern because it concerns the national security.
“The quantity alone is not the concern, but the havoc it will cause.
For instance, one bundle of this uniform can accommodate about ten persons and Nigerians will complain about atrocities of police, without knowing that they are not real police, but impostors,” he said.
When asked whether part of the contraband may have evaded the eagle eye of the officers of the service, Aliyu said the service knows how to recover the remaining, if there are any.
According to him, there are certain issues that we don’t need to tell the press. We strategise our operations so that the culprits are not aware, but when it develops more, I will call the media.
Speaking further, he said, “Not only the identity cards and the ranks were intercepted, but also cutlass, adding what will a supposed police do with cutlass?