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SECURITY CHIEFS, MINISTERS MEET OVER SEIZED ARMS

By NBF News
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Yesterday's security meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan and security chiefs focused on the arms shipment involving Iran.

The meeting had in attendance, the National Security Adviser (NSA) Gen. Andrew Azazi (retd), Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyi Petirin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azuka Ihejirika, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sa'ad Ibrahim, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar, the Director General of the State Security Services(SSS), Ita Ekpeyong, the DG National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Oladeji Olaniyi, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Hafiz Ringim amongst others.

The meeting, which lasted several hours also had the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia, Minister of Defence, Adetokunbo Kayode, and other senior government officials in attendance, it was gathered started with Ajumogobia briefing the meeting of his visit to the United Nations (UN) on the Iranian issue and the possible way of resolving the dispute diplomatically.

A top source who pleaded for anonymity stated however that the quick resolution of the matter lied entirely on how Iran handles the arms issue noting that at the moment, government was not considering severing diplomatic relations with Iran. 'Iran is one of Nigeria's friendly nations and the Nigerian government is not presently thinking of cutting off diplomatic relations with Iran but the Iranian government has to reassure us that such a thing will not happen in the future,' the source said.

The source revealed that the principal suspect in the case was still with the SSS pending the outcome of the case.

'Nobody concerned in this matter has escaped. It was only the diplomat involved that was allowed to return to Iran but the principal suspect is still with us,' the source stated further. The 13 containers seized, contained rocket launchers, hand grenades and ammunition. The inscription on the rocket launchers has manufacturing date 2008, LOT: 353 and 107 MM rocket and other inscriptions on some of the containers are Sole 786681 (9) (2291), Sole 786653 (1) (2261), Sole 786961 (2) (2261), Sole 786870 (7) (2261), Sole 786877 (1).

At the previous meeting before yesterday's, the Federal Government had directed stricter security presence at the Apapa Ports, the Onne Port and other major ports across the country to forestall the use of such routes for arms shipments into the country. Government had also directed security to be beefed up in all the nation's airports while the army, the air force and the navy have been put on the alert.

A top security source had revealed at the last meeting that the Nigerian Navy were instructed to ensure the dreaded routes in the nation's waterways were policed round the clock to stem any possible shipment of arms into the country through such routes. President Jonathan had told the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, that Nigeria would spearhead the campaign against the proliferation of small arms and light weapons stressing that the presence of such small arms in the continent of Africa had led to the death of millions of people.