By Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has listed some communities in Kwara and Niger states as notorious for smuggling activities over the years.
The communities according to the service include Kaiama, Chikanda, Okuta, Ilesha-Baruba and Airport road in Kaiama, Baruten and Ilorin West Local Government Areas of Kwara State.
Others are Kotangora and Babanna in Niger State.
Coordinator, Joint Border Operations Drill (JBOD) Sector 3, Olugboyega Peters told reporters in Ilorin, Kwara state capital.
The sector’s operation covers Kwara, Kogi, Niger and Benue Comptroller Peters called for more support from community leaders and traditional rulers, including the business community, said that the joint border patrol operations needed useful information and support of people to tackle increasing rate of smuggling activities at border towns.
He said that “smugglers live among people in the border communities. People around know them. Officers of joint border patrol are no witches or extra human beings to know and identify these economic saboteurs. We need more support, cooperation, quality and useful information from people to work on and tackle activities of smugglers.”
The coordinator also said that the JBOD seized a total sum of N53.158 million worth of goods from smugglers in five weeks.
He said that part of strategies deployed against all forms of smuggling, human trafficking and proliferation of arms and ammunition led to 65 seizures of different items.
Comptroller Peters, who assumed office on October 12, 2020, said his team made some seizures such as four single barrel of rifle, 1,643 bags of foreign rice, 373 jerry cans of PMS of 25 liters, 12 jerry cans of AGO, 32 used vehicles, four bales of second hand clothing, a motorcycle, adding that a suspect was arrested.
“We shall continue to wage war against smugglers, as every effort or tactic exhibited by them to beat security checks operatives will remain fruitless.
“Smugglers will be uncovered due to our high level of intelligence, systematic monitoring and mechanism put in place to track down these economic saboteurs and their sponsors,” he said.
Compt. Peters said that the current administration has zero tolerance for corruption and revenue leakages in all its ramifications, and the sector would continue to re-invigorate strategies that will enhance performance.
On ENDSARS protesters attacks on Custom House, Kwara Command, he hailed the effort of Nigeria Customs Service, JBOD and all sister security agencies for exhibiting their professionalism in handling the incident.
He said that the aftermath of ENDSARS protest was a commendation letter sent to the command by the Comptroller General of Customs and his able management team for exhibiting such gallantry, in terms of excellent performance, integrity, high ethical standard, good conduct and unalloyed commitment to the service.
He urged Nigerians, especially members of the business communities to assume the duty of border drill as an opportunity to further create a conducive environment for local business.