The importation into Nigeria, without clearance by the Nigeria Customs Service, of bullet proof vests, camouflage, and other military-related kits by the Kogi state government is to be investigated by the Senate.
Senator representing Kogi Central, Dino Melaye, on Thursday raised the alarm wherein he named an aide to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, and the state government of being behind military apparels illegally imported into the country.
Sen. Melaye, while raising a Point of Order on Thursday also disclosed that the said items have been impounded by the Nigerian Customs Service at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
According to the Senator who has been at daggers-drawn with the Governor, the items include: sewn military camouflages with bola hats, many bullet proof vests, night vision goggles, tactical boots, tactical knapsacks, training canvas, boxing gloves among others.
“Mr President, due to my private investigation, I got a very serious revelation yesterday and I am so happy that a committee constituted by the senate under the leadership of the ranking senator James Manager is in place.
”Mr President, few minutes ago, the Nigerian Customs intercepted sewn military camouflages with bola hats, many bullet proof vests, night vision goggles, tactical boots, tactical knapsacks, training canvas, boxing gloves etc.
“These items were intercepted by the Nigerian customs because they did not come with end user certificates. When you are bringing military equipment into the country they must come with end user certificate – certified by the National Security Adviser (NSA),” he said.
Melaye informed further that his findings revealed the identity of the persons behind the illegal importation, naming one Jerry Omadara, said to be an aide to governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State as the person who approached the Customs, laying claim to the seized items.
“Upon seizure of these items, one Jerry Omadara, who is the S.A security to governor of Kogi state went to the customs officers and told them that the items belonged to the Kogi state government and even gave them his complimentary card.
“Jerry Omadara presented himself physically before customs. The name of the company that imported these items is SEC communications Nigeria limited and I have done a search in the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) have revealed the owners of the company connected to Kogi state government. These items as I speak, detention notice is on them,” Melaye stated.
He added: ”Up till this morning, these items are with NACO at the airport here in Abuja. Mr President, I thereby move that the vibrant committee constituted this morning under the chairmanship of James Manager move to the airport to make sure that these items are there and not moved and properly investigated. I said before that militias were being equipped by the Kogi state government.
“I believe the committee will unravel the mystery behind this seizure. A situation where a governor is already importing military uniforms and other gadgets when he is not a contractor in the ministry of defence, is a dangerous trend and the Senate was right when it said Yahaya Bello is a threat to democracy,” the lawmaker said.
Ruling on the Point of Order which wasn’t subjected to debate, given its investigative nature, the Presiding Officer, DSP Ike Ekweremadu, urged the relevant ad hoc committee headed by James Manager (PDP, Delta South) to swing into action.