Nigerian official to meet with Turkish ambassador over illegal arms import

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Colonel Hameed Ali, Nigeria Customs Comptroller (Up), Turkey's Ambassador to Nigeria Hakan Çakıl

A top Nigerian official was to meet with the Turkish ambassador to Nigeria on Friday after a container containing hundreds of guns from Turkey was confiscated, the Daily Mail reported on Friday.

The report said this was the fourth time in a year that illegal arms shipments from Turkey were seized by customs officers in Nigeria. Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, said 2,671 rifles had been imported from Turkey since January.

“The government is worried about the incessant importation of arms from Turkey. This year alone, four shipments have come from that country,” customs spokesman Joseph Attah told AFP.

“Colonel Hameed Ali, the comptroller-general, will be meeting with the Turkish Ambassador in Abuja today [Friday] to address the issue.”

According to Attah, 470 rifles were seized on Tuesday less than two weeks after operatives of the Tin-Can Island Command of NCS busted a syndicate that smuggled over 1,100 weapons into Nigeria.

“We have found out that the people bringing in these weapons are Nigerians. They have syndicates in Turkey who are manifesting these weapons,” Attah said.

“We are yet to get to the bottom of the whole issue. We will investigate to know if these weapons are meant for commercial purposes or group of insurgents or agitators,” said Attah.

In 2014, Turkish Airlines (THY) attracted attention after a voice recording surfaced, allegedly a phone conversation between a senior THY official and one of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s advisers.

Lots of material is on its way to Nigeria right now. Is it going to kill Muslims or Christians? I am sinning right now, you should know,” one voice, purportedly that of the THY official, says.

The voice supposedly of Erdogan’s adviser says he would contact National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan.

Turkish Airlines denied carrying weapons and military equipment to Nigeria.

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