The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has assured Nigerians of its commitment to intercept every illegal item that passes through the mail processing centre at the international airport, especially items that could undermine national security.
Postmaster General of the federation, Bisi Adegbuyi, who gave the assurance on the occasion of the official handing over of elephant tusks that were intercepted by NIPOST and the Nigerian Customs, to the Director General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), in Lagos recently, said NIPOST would continue to collaborate with the Nigerian Customs to achieve the feat.
“The effects of globalisation, which has invariably improved postal networking, calls for precautions thereby warranting spirited efforts to be made to prevent concealment of dangerous items in parcels which have the tendency of compromising national, regional and global security,” he said.
According to him, in recent times, the scourge of insurgency and terrorism witnessed in the Middle East, Mediterranean and sub-Sahara Africa seems to have kept the world on its toes such that concerns have been expressed about the vulnerability of the international postal network as a channel for transmitting dangerous items from one point to another.
“Hence, there is presently a synergy of purpose and exchange of communications among member nations of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on the nature of items that passes through their postal system. The intention of poachers to illegally ship elephant tusks through the post cannot be divulged from their impression that the Nigerian post is a safe haven for such nefarious activities, but we shall continue to do our best to protect our postal system by putting in place necessary institutional frameworks and structures,” the Postmaster General/CEO said.
He said the action of NIPOST has validated its position that the agency has become increasingly relevant in preservation of vital aspects of our national life and the promotion of our corporate image.
According to him, investigation has revealed that 1kg (2.21bs) of elephant tusk sells as much as $2,100 in the black market. The value of the 485.4kg of the elephant tusks intercepted therefore translates into $1,019,340 with the naira equivalent of N458, 703,000 at an exchange rate of N450 per dollar. This discovery, no doubt, further explains the reason for the desperation of elephant tusk poachers and therefore the need for sustainable action plans on the part of relevant government agencies to reverse the trend.
Adegbuyi, appreciated the National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom for its technical support and the Nigerian Customs Service by ensuring that dangerous and prohibited items are prevented from passing through the post. “The continuous detection and interceptions of prohibited items through parcel scanning activities at our mail processing centre is reflective of the collaborative efforts of the NCA, the United States Postal Inspectorate service (USPIS) as well as other sister security agencies such as the Nigerian Customs Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Customs Service, the Directorate of State Service (DSS) and others,” Adeguyi said.
The handing over of the elephant trust, according to the Postmaster General, represents another milestone in its contribution to the global safety and the promotion of national image.
“Indeed, there is a general realisation that the post has become a major reference point considering her vantage position in global drive in ensuring safety of persons, structures as well as preservation of the environment. It is interesting to state that, as part of steps taken to facilitate the development and implementation of security standards and best practices among postal administrations, the UPU recognises the fact that the safety and security of postal sector is critical in supporting worldwide commerce and communication,” Adeguyi said.
Meanwhile, the fake financial instruments and scam mail that have been intercepted by NIPOST, from January to November, 2016 alone include £103.5 million; $160 million; E7.2 million; 152 travelers cheque; 193 scam mails; 5,245 Postal/money order; 426 Bank Cheque; and 112 international passport. It has been established that senders of such fake financial instruments and other prohibited items have the intention to carry out criminal acts against innocent persons and institutions, which in turn creates image problem for the country.
Speaking on safety standards expected of an airport environment which are not peculiar to Nigeria, Adegbuyi said the concerns of global security clearly stems from the fact that if border posts are not accorded the required attention, they may contribute in compromising global security.