The National Task Force Against the Importation of Illegal Arms on Wednesday in Abuja said it had uncovered an island where arms and ammunition were stockpiled.
The task force also accused the Nigerian Customs Service and other security agencies of aiding the importation of small arms and light weapons into the country.
Director General of NATFORCE, Chief Emmanuel Okereke, who raised the alarm at a press briefing, alleged 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 was set up on July 16, 2010 by the office of the National Security Adviser to curtail the proliferation of small arms in 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 we uncovered and there are very highly-placed individuals behind it.”
He added, “We have come to understand that the cause of seemingly intractable security crisis in the country is as a result of neglect of roles by some members of the security agencies. Several criminal activities have taken place because security agencies are not doing what they were supposed to do.
“The Customs have been trying to frustrate us from carrying out our work because they have been compromised by those who engage in arms deal.
“This is not a matter of interest. We want to liberate Nigeria from the stranglehold of criminals. We are ready to do all we can in order to safeguard our lives.”
Okereke, who is also the National President of the Importers Association of Nigeria, said the group’s initial cordial relationship with the police later went sour.
This, he said, happened when the task force arrested oil bunkerers in Benue State suspected to have links with some top policemen.
Accusing the Customs of frustrating the efforts of the team, he therefore called on the Presidency to caution officers and men of the NCS.
However, the Deputy spokesperson for NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah, disagreed with the NATFORCE boss.
He said, “I will not join issues with him but if somebody will sound that way, one thing is clear that such a person is not current with the level of development in the Customs.
The man is not in tune with what is happening in our ports and borders. May be, 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 are electronic. May be he is not current with the process of clearance. As human beings, if he is talking of people passing through unapproved routes, those are some of the challenges which the NCS is dealing with appropriately.”
But to say that NCS has compromised is the most unfair allegation.”