Customs worries over increase in cross-border smuggling

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By John Gabriel

The acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, has raised an alarm over the increase in the smuggling of goods and illicit drugs across borders.

Speaking during an interactive session with officers and men of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone B during a working visit to Kaduna State, the customs boss warned those engaged in such criminal behaviour to repent.

“There seems to be an upsurge in the smuggling of rice and narcotics. Some unscrupulous elements also try to smuggle arms. We have to have zero tolerance for the smuggling of rice. We must not allow them to sabotage our country. We must not let them affect our local currency. When we let them import, they put pressure on our currency. We must ensure food security by allowing rice to be produced in Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, there is a need to effectively police the country’s border with Niger Republic, adding that nothing should cross to either side of the border as the sanction by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is still in place.

He reminded the officers that the authorities of ECOWAS have not changed their position regarding the closure of the border with Niger, just as he urged them to ensure effective policing of the border.

He stressed that it is their responsibility to ensure the full closure of the borders in their areas of responsibility.

Adeniyi tasked the officers and men of FOU Zone B to win the support of communities in border areas to avoid smuggling into the country, adding that strategies for successful operations were reviewed two months ago.

He commended the comptroller, officers, and men for the seizures recorded by the command so far, describing them as commendable, and assured that the Customs hierarchy is moving ahead to ensure the expansion of infrastructure at FOU Zone B for the comfort of the personnel.

He concluded with a warning to the officers to be professional in discharging their responsibilities.

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