The synergy between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Eastern Marine Command (EMC), and the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone C has succeeded in curtailing the activities of smugglers. Like its counterpart in the West, Western Marine Command (WMC), the EMC ensures that smugglers and other criminal elements do not turn the waterways into avenues of smuggling dangerous and prohibited items into the country.
The FOU which is the intelligence arm of the NCS is divided into three zones, namely A, B and C with specific states under their jurisdiction.
The mandate of FOU Zone C which has its headquarters in the Imo State capital, Owerri covers Imo, Abia, Rivers, Edo, Delta, Edo, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom States.
It was gathered that following the collaboration between EMC and FOU Zone C, the activities of smugglers have been reduced drastically in recent times.
Confirming the development, the Customs Area Controller, EMC, Comptroller Ajiya M. Masaya said officers and men of EMC have continued to collaborate with their counterparts in other commands, especially FOU Zone C to ensure that smuggling activities are reduced to the barest minimum.
He stated that in the past, smugglers and other criminal elements used to capitalise on the loopholes in NCS areas of operations to perpetrate their inimical activities in the country.
The Customs Chief pointed out that with the collaboration among the various commands, especially between FOU Zone C and the EMC, this was no longer the case.
His words: â€œIn the past, once the officers and men of the FOU stepped up their operations on the land, the smugglers and other criminal elements resort to the creeks, rivulets, and waterways to smuggle in contraband into the country. In the same vein, whenever EMC stepped up our anti-smuggling on the waterways, most of these criminals resort to the land. However, with the synergy between FOU Zone C and EMC, this is no longer the case. Our officers and men are working hand-in-hand to ensure that no smuggler get away with their illegal and inimical activities. In fact, there is no more hiding place for smugglers to operate, whether on land or water.â€
â€œAll over the world, it is not possible to totally eradicate smuggling but it can be reduced to the barest minimum. And that is exactly what we have succeeded in doing in our area of jurisdiction as our reports in the recent times have shown. We will not rest on our oars. We will continue to be a nightmare to those who want to take smuggling as a way of life in spite of our elaborate anti-smuggling campaign.â€
Masaya enjoined Nigerians to desist from smuggling as it is not only injurious to Nigerians but also to the economy.
According to him, Nigerians should learn to do the right things by investing in businesses that will add value to the economy and the citizenry rather than devoting their resources to things that will bring them sorrow and shame. The long arm of the law will always catch with those who decide to do the wrong thing, no matter how long it takes.