The embattled governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is under fire for alleged arms importation into the country without a document called “end user declaration papers”.
Not a few have raised alarm that the importation of the prohibited items were meant to arm supporters of the governor in his unending of battles with political opponents ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly had in plenary gave the Colonel Ibrahim Hameed Ali (retired) led Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) one week to conclude its investigation into Bello’s alleged importation of restricted security gadgets into the country.
Chairman of the Senate Adhoc Committee investigating increased spate of political violence in Kogi State, Senator James Manager (PDP, Delta South), disclosed this when he met with officials of the NCS recently in Abuja.
Manager reaffirmed the determination of the committee to unravel the matter, which he believes bothered on national security.
A licensed customs agent, Mr. Ilori Abiodun who was said to have been hired to handle the consignment told the Senate committee all he knew about illegal importation of military wares into the country.
He denied complicity in the matter even as he told the committee under oath that the contract was given to him by an importer who he identified as SEC and Equipment Communications Limited.
According to him, he was perplexed when discovered that what was on the bill of lading was false. He gave the name of the contact person for the firm as one Elaive who he said he had never met in person, but had been dealing with through mails and telephone calls.
On the request of the lawmakers, Abiodun made two calls to his client, but both calls were not answered.
The consignment which was said to be heading to the Kogi State capital, Lokoja was intercepted by NCS officials at the point of physical examination at the Nnamdi Azikiwke International Airport, Abuja. The discovery had immediately prompted the Senate into action to get to the root of the matter.
Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), had in March alleged that Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, imported restricted security gadgets into the country without end user declaration in the NCS papers.
The senator who had been locked in horns with the controversial governor in a supremacy contest on the politics of the middle belt state came under Order 43 of Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended.
He explained that the NCS intercepted the items which were in the custody of the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO).