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Nine days to election: Customs intercepts bales of police uniforms, tear gas

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Nine days to the Presidential and National Assembly election in Nigeria, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted bales of police uniforms and its paraphernalia, and tear gas canisters.
The uniforms, intercepted in Lagos, were concealed in a Toyota Sienna space bus heading out of Lagos. This has created fear of unknown security challenges that may jeopardise free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria this year.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday, Muhammed Aliyu, Customs Area Controller of the Unit, said a suspect was in the custody of the unit in connection with the seizure.
According to Aliyu, the uniforms were threat to national security as it was destined to get to the wrong hands, even as he listed items like ranks, belts, berets and police badges with identity cards as part of what were intercepted by the unit.
“The seizure is a threat to national security because the uniform can be used for kidnapping, Boko Haram or frustrate elections, but generally, it threatens national security,” he said.
Giving details on the paraphernalia of the police seized, he said, “We have the ranks of sergeants, 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 names of choice will be affixed on them.”
Aliyu, who assured that the service would ensure that offensive goods of such nature were not allowed into the country, said the quantity of the seizure and the havoc it could cause were the most concern.
“For instance, one bundle of this uniform can accommodate about 10 persons and Nigerians will complain about atrocities of Police not knowing that of the so-called police are impostors,” he said.
“Not only that identity cards and ranks were intercepted, but we also intercepted cutlass. What will a police officer do with cutlass?  Have you ever seen a genuine policeman with cutlass? These are part of the atrocities they will use the uniform to commit.”
He however warned those involved in the unwholesome practice to stop because the service will always be a step ahead of them.

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