Codewit.com â€” The State Security Service (SSS) yesterday seized an illegal arms shipment containing “rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives,” at the Apapa Wharf, Lagos, the largest shipping port in the country. SSS said the shipment was in 13 containers.
Security was immediately tightened at the Apapa Wharf last night as SSS, Police, Customs and naval officials condoned off the area where the ship was being detained and its contents examined.
The seizure came on the heels of the October 1 Independence Day bombings in Abuja which killed at least 12 people and injured many others.
Former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, is at present facing terrorism charges in South Africa in respect of the bombings, while his brother Charles and six others were dragged to court last week in Lagos in connection with the blast
Charges have not been preferred against Charles and others in Lagos.SSS Spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar, who confirmed the seizure, said security agents had only gone through eight crates inside one of the shipping containers labelled as carrying “building materials”
Four crates contained floor tiles and marbles, while the other four crates contained military-grade armaments,” she said.She said agents would continue to search the containers through the night, hoping to have more information.Ogar failed to identify the ship carrying the container or its final destination.But a source at the port said the ship was coming from Iran and might be headed for The Gambia.
“There was no declaration about the arrival of the ship and the information we got was that it was meant for Gambia,” he said.
The SSSÃ¢-Ã spokeswoman said in a terse statement: “Today at the Apapa Wharf, the State Security Service as part of its extra security surveillance since the October 1 incidence, intercepted 13 containers.
“On opening the first container, the service operatives discovered rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives. The contents and findings from the other detained 12 containers, which the service is opening after the first, would be made public.”The service has launched investigations immediately on the discovery and the circumstances surrounding it.”
Okah denied the charges against him and also said he was not MEND leader or the one writing the organisation’s correspondence under the pseudo name Jomo Gbomo.
The bid by Okah last Friday to view evidence used by South African prosecutors to link him to the October 1 Abuja bombings was dealt a blow by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.
Also, Okah’s wife, Azuka, faced contempt of court charges at the same Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. Her phone rang during hearing of the bail application for her husband last Thursday.
Meanwhile, the five persons arrested with Charles in connection with the bomb blasts regained their freedom from detention last weekend.
Handing down judgment, Magistrate Hein Louw only granted Okah’s defence team access to the hard drives of computers and cell phones confiscated from his home during an October 2 raid.
“I order that a mirror copy image of computer hard drives, cell phone hard drives and memories be made available to the applicant in no later than three working days,” Louw said.
He refused to give the defence permission to access information underpinning the state’s latest revelation in Okah’s bail application.
“In due course the defence will have opportunity to access such information,” Louw ordered.
The prosecution had said in an affidavit that Okah had exchanged emails, text messages with the alleged bombers and even bought two cars for the operation.