The Nigeria customs service is scaling up operations to curb smuggling.
Nigeria is ravaged by intense smuggling cases that have over the years, ineptly affected the country’s economic development. Smuggling operations across different borders in the country have become increasingly rampant, with numerous cases of smuggled consumables like rice, oil and turkey, petrol and a lot more materials. The Nigerian Customs Service is however saddled with an anti-smuggling responsibility towards safeguarding the country’s social and economic standing, as well as the health and well-being of Nigerians.
Recall that President Buhari ordered a closure of these boarders in 2019, to foster the growth of home-made produces and boost the country’s economic development but these increased cases of smuggling have been ineptly consequential to not just the economic, social and health status quo. Also, the security has been put in intense jeopardy, as weapons are also being smuggled in and out of the country. This situation which has grown into a huge menace, endangers the lives of most customs officials. Just recently, the Comptroller of the Nigeria Custom Service highly condemned the killings of Custom officers by smugglers.
Increased operations after fertilizers, tramadol pills, other items seized.
Mr. Adeboyega Ganiyu, Comptroller of the Nigerian Customs Service and in charge of command has raised concerns over the alarming rate at which government subsidized products are being smuggled in. According to him, officers of the Customs Service recently seized over 4,600 bags of fertilizers, weighing up to 243 tonnes. Other items like 22 vehicles, 1,500 sachet of Tramadol, 392 bags of foreign rice, and 70 bags of unpeeled rice at the entry and exit point of the Nigeria-Cameroon boarder. He also noted that due to these developments, the service has scaled up its patrol operations and campaigns.
He attributed this success to the existing synergy with other security agencies, as well as the immense support of the general public. He further declared that the customs service would have zero tolerance for activities capable of compromising the economic strength of the country. He stated that the NCS is dedicated to curbing unscrupulous activities that is bent on sabotaging the country’s economic development by taking advantage of the border proximities and indulging in illegal trans-boarder activities.
Fertilizers smuggled across the boarder despite military imposed ban.
Borno state which is known to share its border with Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic have witnessed numerous illicit activities by smugglers but the closure of this boarder, due to the Boko Haram insurgency have hugely reduced the smuggling operations there. However, reports indicate that people have engaged themselves in the act of smuggling petrol and fertilizers along this boarder, despite the imposed ban by the military on the circulation of Urea fertilizing brands across Borno and Yobe.
Speaking on the smuggling of petrol, Shettima Ali, an oil marketer asserted that the smuggling has attracted numerous people around the border community, despite the huge risk. He noted that these smugglers usually go through Michika, Madagali or Mubi in Adamawa state, as well as Gaidam in Yobe state, smuggling contrabands to the neighboring countries where petrol was being sold above N600 a liter and N40,000 per bag of fertilizer. Fertilizers are in high demand in these areas due to the fact that it has been banned across these areas because of its use in producing explosives by bandits.
Numerous oil marketers have amassed wealth by indulging in smuggling.
A member of the Depot And Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), in Borno, Mr. Bukar Babagana also noted that a lot of oil marketers have amassed huge wealth by indulging in petrol smuggling across the boarder, as well as some fuel servicing stations across the boarder. He however suggested that the creation of petrol retail outlets across the entry and exit points of the borders would immensely help the country with addressing the menace. Bashir Abdulkareem, an Economist also asserted that practical measures must be put in place to curb the menace of smuggling that has ravaged the country.
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