Customs tasks officers on smugglers new methods

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The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has alerted officers of its Joint Border Drill Operations on fresh methods used by smugglers in carrying out their illegal business activities in border areas.

Mr Mohammed Garba, the Coordinator of the Joint Border Drill Operations, North Central zone, Ilorin, said the new method includes using bush paths, motorcycles and camels.

He stated this on Tuesday while addressing the officers during a three-day sensitisation programme at border communities in the zone.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the zone covers Kwara, Niger, Kogi and Benue states.

Garba, who is a Comptroller of Customs, decried the attitude of the die hard smugglers, despite the border closure.

He, however, reiterated that there would be no let or retreat in the fight against smuggling in whatever guise.

Speaking at the palace of the traditional rulers in the zone, Garba appealed to the community and district heads to embrace legitimate means of livelihood and to avoid smuggling in all its ramifications.

According to him, the operation, code-named ‘Swift Response’ sector, was battle ready to halt all the new methods by economic saboteurs to perpetuate their illicit acts.

The coordinator also disclosed that movement of all types of vehicles and boats used for transportation of petroleum products across the land borders and water ways, within 20 kilometres radius, has been restricted.

He explained that anyone caught violating this order would be prosecuted.

“We cannot continue to fold our alms and allow every tom, dick and harry enter into our country.

“The uncontrolled migration hinders the government from having proper statistics and data for her national development.

“Transborder crimes, such as smuggling of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, drugs trafficking and terrorism are among other security challenges that have to be checked.

“Before the border closure, the crime rate was becoming unbearable; drugs were becoming a way of life among our teeming youths.

“All these might be part of the reasons that informed the decision of the Federal Government to partially close Nigeria’s borders,” he said.

He explained that the border closure was also aimed at encouraging local farmers; control the inflow of arms and ammunition, stop illicit drugs and all other prohibited goods in and out of the country.

Responding, the District Head of Babanna in the Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara, Alhaji Isah Yerima, noted that the security situation in the community had improved since the border closure.

He pledged to assist security agencies in their national assignments, promising to enlighten the community and its environs on the benefits of border closure and dangers of smuggling.

NAN reports that the highlight of the programme included the team’s visit to border communities in both Kwara and Niger states. (NAN)

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