Ahead of the yuletide, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has kicked off 24 hours patrol in its Western Marine Command (WMC). Besides its operational headquarters situated in Ibafon, Apapa, Lagos, the WMC include the tributaries of River Niger, Gbao Creek, Yekeme Creek and Yekeme/ Pashi Axis which leads to the Republic of Benin and Togo.
The 24 hours patrol is part of the command anti-smuggling campaign and it is expected to rid the command of smugglers and other criminal elements.
The WMC just as its counterpart in the East, the Eastern Marine Command (EMC) was created by the NCS to ensure the effective delivery of its statutory roles and responsibilities.
These include revenue generation, anti-smuggling and trade facilitation by its officers and men.
The NCS, Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Mustapha Sarkin Kebbi who disclosed this in a chat with THISDAY at the weekend said the command will not rest on its oars until it attains its set goals and objectives.
Kebbi who has made several strides since his appointment by the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Ibrahim Hameed Ali (retired) early this year warned smugglers and other criminals to stay clear of WMC area of jurisdiction as his officers and men would not spare them no matter what it takes.
His words: â€œI have this advice for the smugglers. Desist from your evil ways of doing business otherwise our officers will catch up with you at your point of planning or on our waterways. I have promised that under my watch as the CAC of WMC, smugglers will not have their way to perpetrate their evil business. My officers and men are highly motivated and I have ordered for 24hours patrol of the waterways and creeks and it is yielding positive results. As you are aware, the Nigeria Customs Service in trying to curtail the activities of smugglers have increased the manning of the high ways and some land border routes used for smuggling.
â€œTo this effect, smugglers have tended to fall to the waters thinking that it will be easy for them. We are ready and shall fight them out. I have promised on several occasions that we are going to smoke them out of the waters. I have advised them to change business otherwise they will have themselves to blame for their waterlooâ€.
The advice of the CAC is coming on the heels of seizure of various items within one month. These include five seizures of various items ranging from petroleum motor spirit (PMS), foreign parboiled rice, soap of assorted kind and used tyres popularly called â€œtokunboâ€.