Nigeria Customs Service
The Customs High Command has intensified surveillance at Nigeria’s premier border station with her West African neighbours, Seme.
The move is in line with its resolve to check the movement of unauthorised goods, especially those in the Import Prohibition List ((IPL) and persons, into the country through the border this year.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) increased surveillance at the premier border is coming on the heels of security threats arising from the activities of Islamist fundamentalists popularly called Boko Haram.
Late last year, some gunmen suspected to be members of the sect had attacked a border post between Nigeria and Cameroun, killing some security officials and burning down the post in the process.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), NCS, Seme Border Command, Comptroller Abdu Saleh Othman, disclosed the move in a statement sent to THISDAY. He reiterated the command's drive to ensure that smuggling and other forms of prohibited anti-economic activities are prevented.
He warned that perpetrators of such acts will not only be arrested but also made to face the full wrath of the law.
As part of the measures, Othman revealed that some men and officers of the command had been “strategically deployed” to ensure that the border was adequately policed in view of the recent Yuletide season.
According to the statement signed by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the command, Mr. Ernest Ollotah, Othman said the tempo of patrols, interdiction and arrests of offenders of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) would not only be sustained but also surpassed.
He warned that the command under his watch would uphold the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Inde Dikko Abdullahi’s zero tolerance for smuggling in 2013, while assuring stakeholders in legitimate trans border trade of customs support and cooperation in the areas of trade facilitation.
On the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme(ETLS) which was designed to encourage trade among West African countries, the CAC said any attempt to circumvent or abuse the scheme will be detected and the consignments in question intended to be used to evade government revenue will be seized in line with the law.
The command during the preceding year collected a total of N7.98 billion as revenue in contrast to the sum of N6.24 billion collected in the previous year (2011). The Command also made 480 seizures of various goods with a duty paid value (DPV) of N227,035,726.00.
The seized items include vegetable oil, narcotics, motor vehicles, rice, frozen poultry products, textile materials, used tyres, leather shoes and bags. The seizures include some dutiable goods for which duty payments were being evaded.
Othman thanked Abdullahi for his support to the command and making personnel welfare a paramount issue in his administration, while pledging that the command will not betray the trust bestowed on it by the customs management.
Inter agency collaboration for intelligence sharing and joint meetings will increase as the CAC said all hands must be on deck to prevent any form of security breakdown in the country through illegal imports or unlawful movements of persons.