440 Rifles: DSS may Provide Comprehensive investigation

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  • As Economy shrinks again
  • MAN, LCCI see recovery in third quarter

Unfolding indication is to the effect that the Department of State Services (DSS) may be brought in to unravel how a 20 feet container declared as Antisera and Cannule chemicals has transformed into 440 pump action rifles in Tin Can Island Port, Lagos.

Independent sources told the MARITIME FIRST that the Authorities are concerned that the current weapons might not be unconnected with an earlier interception of 661 pieces of pump rifles, some three months ago, by the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’, hence the concern to know how many batches were schemed, how many batches had been berthed and if any other set was still being expected.

“Anyone importing over a thousand pump action rifles into a country, clandestinely must prove that it is not for covert reasons”, a source which spoke under strong anonymity indicated, pointing out that the main investigation was likely to begin, once the Customs was done, with the usual media noise making”, the source stated further.

Displaying the rifles on Tuesday, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Tin-Can Island Port, Bashar Yusuf had posited that the interception and subsequent seizure was based on intelligence and renewed vigour for effective Service delivery by the Command.

Speaking with Journalists at the Enforcement section of the Unit, Bashar highlighted that the command had earlier segregated the 1 x 20ft container  No. PONU 210024/1 to the Enforcement Unit for physical examination, while protective shepherding the cargo, without giving much away.

Corroborating the view, the Zonal Co-ordinator Zone ‘A’, ACG M.N ABUE, who represented the Comptroller-General also anchored the stupendous seizure to sheer intelligence, and commended the Controller, describing Bashar as a quintessential officer who has indeed, been contributing immensely to the success story of the Service.

Providing a breakdown of consignment, Bashar said there were
*100 PIECES BLACK TORNADO SINGLE BARREL RIFLES
*75 PIECES SILVER MAGNUM SINGLE BARREL RIFLES.
*50 PIECES OF ALTER PUMP ACTION RIFLES
*215 PIECES of BLACK SINGLE BARREL RIFLES
*164 PIECES OF RIFLE NOZZLE
*103 PIECES OF ARMS GRIPS.
*110 PIECES OF TRIGGER
*113 PIECES OF ARM GUARD
*107 PIECES OF BRIDGE BLOCK
*122 PIECES OF ALLEN KEYS
*117 PIECES OF ASSEMBLE BUT and
* 516 5OKG  BAGS OF POP CEMENT.

Container containing the seizures

Concluding, Bashar stated that “investigation is still ongoing with a view to unraveling those behind the importation”,  stressing that the Customs Service would thereafter, embark on further profiling of the importer, carried out to get other details.

In the meantime, the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday released the Gross Domestic Product report for the first quarter of this year, which showed that the economy contracted by 0.52 per cent in the period.

With the negative growth rate of -0.52 per cent, the Nigerian economy is still in recession.

The rate of growth for the first quarter of 2017 is, however, an improvement over the revised -1.73 per cent GDP growth rate as of December 2016.

This is the fifth consecutive quarter of contraction that the economy would record since the first quarter of 2016.

The NBS report read in part, “In the first quarter of 2017, the nation’s GDP contracted by 0.52 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms, representing the fifth consecutive quarter of contraction since Q1 2016.

“This is higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 and higher by 1.21 percentage points from the rate recorded in the preceding quarter.”

However, the rate of growth, which is an improvement over the previous quarter, appears to be in line with the expectations of the Federal Government that the country will come out of recession by June this year.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had on April 29 said that Nigeria was gradually moving out of recession.

He said going by a recent statement by the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the country would exit recession by the end of June.

The NBS in the report stated that during the first quarter, the aggregate GDP stood at N26.02tn in nominal terms, representing an increase of 17.06 per cent over the N22.23tn recorded in the first quarter of 2016.

During the period under review, it explained that the average oil production was 1.83 million barrels per day, which was 70,000 barrels higher than the figure for the fourth quarter of 2016.

It added that real growth of the oil sector slowed by 11.64 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017, representing a decline of 4.81 per cent relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of last year.

Quarter-on-quarter, the oil sector, according to the report, grew by 14.86 per cent in the first three months of this year.

As a share of the economy, the NBS report stated that the oil sector contributed 8.90 per cent of the total real GDP in the first quarter, down from the 10.02 per cent recorded in the corresponding period of 2016.

For the non-oil sector, the bureau said growth was largely driven by the activities in the agriculture sector, particularly crop production, Information and Communication Technology, manufacturing, transportation, and other services.

It said, “The non-oil sector grew by 0.72 per cent in real terms during the reference quarter. This was 1.05 per cent higher than the rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016, and 0.90 per cent higher than the corresponding quarter of 2016.

“In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 91.10 per cent to the nation’s GDP, higher from the share recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (89.98 per cent), but lower than the share recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 (93.25 per cent).”

Additional report from Punch

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