By John Iwori
Licensed customs agents have hailed the effort of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in curtailing the smuggling across the country,
They stated that the numerous illegal routes between Nigeria and her neighbours had made it cumbersome for NCS to carry out its statutory roles and responsibilities effectively.
They however noted that it would have been worse if the officers and men of NCS were not alive to their anti-smuggling campaign across the borders.
The assertion of the licensed customs agents is coming on the heels of the revelation by the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr. Martin Abeshi that Nigeria had no fewer than 1,400 unmanned illegal entry points into the country.
Abeshi spoke at the 2016 Comptroller General of Immigration’s annual conference and stakeholders’ interactive forum held in Lafia, Nasarawa State recently said NIS was contending with many challenges in the performance of its duties.
A Lagos base freight forwarder, Mr. Johnson Nwachukwu told THISDAY at the weekend that men and officers of NCS needed the support and co-operation of Nigerians to succeed.
Nwachukwu said this could be achieved through information sharing with the relevant government agencies.
According to one of the licensed customs agent, Prince Olusegun Ologbese, the efforts of men and officers of NCS in tackling the activities of smugglers across the country should be commended. Without them, smugglers would have operated freely. Though, there was still room for improvement, their present anti-smuggling campaign is yielding the desired results.
Ologbese who is also the Managing Director and CEO of Ogbese International Limited commended NCS, especially the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos for what he called its “deliberate and concerted war on anti-smuggling” in recent times.
He particularly praised the Customs Area Controller (CAC), FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, Comptroller Umar Mohammed Dahiru for his latest strategies aimed at enhancing and strengthening surveillance on the various methods adopted by smugglers in their desperate attempt to circumvent the Federal Government’s policy on trade.
Ologbese who is regarded as a veteran in the clearing of goods business, stated that the latest innovative approach became necessary in view of the fact that there was a compelling need to design appropriate templates to fight smuggling in view of its devastating effect on the nation’s economy.
He enjoined all stakeholders to give Dahiru and his team maximum support so that he could deliver on the mandate given to him by the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Ibrahim Ali (retired).
THISDAY had reported that Dahiru and his men made 268 different seizures recently just as they arrested no fewer than 34 suspects.
According to the command, the seizures has a duty paid value (DPV) of N360 million. If you visit the Government Warehouse where we deposit these seizures, you will be flabbergasted at the volume of our seizures. These claims can be empirically verified.