By Eromosele Abiodun
The Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs service (NCS) said that it has intensified its anti-smuggling operations against trans-border crimes of illicit drugs trafficking and other vices.
This is as the Command has handed over a dismissed officer caught in the illegal act of drug trafficking to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
A statement signed by the Customs Public Relation Officer, Seme Area Command, Taupyen Selchang said its renewed commitment in intelligence driven operations and collaborations with other relevant agencies for effective border management cannot be over emphasised.
The Customs Area Controller, Mohammed Aliyu while handing over a dismissed officer caught in the illegal act of drug trafficking, and the three hundred and ninety one kilograms (391 kg) of tested Cannabis sativa (Marijuana) to the commander NDLEA, disclosed that a lot of strategies have been adopted by the command to ensure that the busiest land border will be a â€œno goâ€ area for trans-border miscreants/ traffickers of any kind including small and light weapons.
He disclosed that the 391kg of Marijuana handed over to the NDLEA has a street value of N8 million.
He added that all necessary conditions were explored in line with the public service rule and the Customs and Excise Preventive Service Regulation before the officer was relieved of his appointment.
The comptroller further noted that the punitive measures for gross misconduct of unruly behavior meted out to the dismissed officer was to serve as a deterrent to other bad eggs in the service that may choose to be recalcitrant to warnings.
Commenting further, the Commandâ€™s helmsman frowned on the alarming and disturbing rate at which illicit substances are being apprehended by officers and men of the command in an attempt to be smuggled through the waterways or land borders.
He reiterated that the leadership of the service will not relent on purging it from all unscrupulous elements who delight in â€œdragging the image of the service in the mud; hence portraying the service subservient to other organisations because of criminal and irresponsible acts that are inimical to the ideals of the service.â€
He affirmed that Seme Command will continue to protect the nationâ€™s territorial integrity through the scanning of all imports and aggressive anti-smuggling operations of all illegal routes. He stated that this measure must be taken because there is a lot of security threat and opportunities arising from international trade growth and global migration.
In a related development, the Customs Area Controller while delivering the welcome address at the Customs Community Consultative Forum (CCCF) stated that the core mandate of the service can only be achieved under a peaceful atmosphere devoid of rancor.
He sought the cooperation of all the stakeholders in the host communities (Baales, Youth and Opinion leaders), Bankers and Licensed Agents as he enforces Federal Government policies.
The Area Comptroller said that by hosting different communities under the CCCF platform, the command has consciously differentiated the actual stakeholders based on their position of influence and location to the border command. The continuous mutual consultations always give rise to effective relation management whose benefit is reciprocal and symbiotic.
In the same vein, the Comptroller while hosting the recent Joint border security meeting, dwelled extensively on the need for inter-agency collaboration for effective border management, intelligence sharing and strict compliance with the ECOWAS Protocol along the Lagos-Abidjan Corridor; which will facilitate legitimate trade and enhance ease of doing business.
The command, he added, generated the sum of N317.8 million as revenue for the month of May 2017.
He said the anti-smuggling unit of the command also made a total of 28 seizures with a duty paid value of N30.008 million for the period under review.