By Innocent Eteng
Why would someone import over 11,232 pieces of military wears at a time Nigerians are getting more apprehensive over the fast-approaching general elections? This is the million-question the Customs officials in Onne, Rivers State, are trying to answer as they made the startling seizure at the port near Port Harcourt and arrested an importer who was said to be under watch.
The 11,232 is said to be the total of a combination of different types of military wears ranging from t-shirts to caps, jungle boots and others hidden in a container that also contained civilian wears and other materials.
Assistant Comptroller General, Sanusi Umar, revealed this on Thursday, August 16, 2018, while inspecting the seized materials at the Command’s office in Onne.
Umar emphasized that the materials were seized because private individuals, groups and companies are legally prohibited from importing such.
He said investigations into an earlier seized container of same materials imported by the same importer, in June, gave way to the recent seizure. The importer, identified as Ongwatabo Jerry, has been arrested and is under investigation, Umar revealed further.
“After profiling the importer’s transactions, I am happy to inform you that we have arrested another container MRKU 4909151 (1×40ft) belonging to the same company, Ehigocho Nigeria Ltd with Ogwatabo Jerry as the prime suspect.
“On examination, it was found to contain the following: 620 sets of complete sewn military camouflage uniforms and caps, 10, 000 pieces of inner military t-shirts, 512 pairs of military jungle boots. The said Ongwatabo is the sole importer that opened the form M for the importation of these two containers,” Umar said.
“Let me use this opportunity to draw the attention of Nigerians (to the fact) that importation of any kind of military wears by any individual, company, or group is prohibited by Nigerian Law under the Customs and Exercise Management Acts (CEMA),” he explained.
Politicians are fund of arming thugs and dressing them up in military or police kits especially at elections where it is difficult to distinguish the genuine from the illicit.