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Customs set to reopen land borders conditions

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By Abiodun Okunloye

The compliance levels in border communities must be satisfactory for review.

Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, who is the acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), presented a list of requirements for reopening the country’s land borders. While on a visit to the Ogun 1 command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Idiroko, Ogun State, the acting Comptroller General assured officers that if compliance levels in border communities are satisfactory, the service will reconsider certain policies. He stated that one of the rules being reviewed is the one pertaining to the distribution of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to fuel stations within 20 kilometres of the country’s borders.

There are a lot of concerns that the towns located along the region have brought to their attention, but some of these policies are carried out by authorities that are higher than them, and some go beyond the obligation that the Customs Service is tasked with carrying out. However, he may reassure the public that they are working alongside other appropriate government agencies and that they will propose a review of such policies if they observe situations that merit such a review.

Communities should also cooperate with government agencies.

Once they observe communities cooperating with government agencies to enforce import and export regulations and find that they are being followed, they are more likely to comply with those regulations themselves. He added that if they observe the communities backing the agencies, they will make suitable recommendations for reviewing the border closure, the entry of tokunbo vehicles, and, most significantly, because of the subsidy removal. They may also advocate for an amendment in the regulations governing petrol station placement near the regions.

He told the officers in charge to get engaged in the matter and rededicate themselves to protecting the country and its regions. Therefore, one of the reasons he visited is to emphasise the necessity that all agencies maintain their commitment and focus on the objective of national and regional security. For Nigeria, the Benin Republic, and by extension, the rest of the sub-region, Idiroko serves as a crucial entry point. In light of this, it is imperative that the country not enable criminals who profit from committing crimes over its borders to engage in activities that undermine national security.

The service should be informed of all criminal activities.

In addition, he emphasises the importance of working together to prevent criminals from entering the country illegally across those regions in whatever form, which might include smuggling, human trafficking, drug trafficking, or threats to public health. They have a shared obligation to confront them and find a way to win the game they are playing. According to Customs, they believe that no single agency can handle this task by itself; instead, they need to work together and collaborate with one another.

Because the nature and scope of criminal activity have shifted over the years, there is no longer a single type of criminal who crosses the border and commits only one crime. Smugglers don’t only perpetrate smuggling; therefore, when they talk about them in this context, they’re referring to the unlawful carriage of firearms and ammunition. Most of the time, those who traffic humans also steal money from the country they operate in. According to him, they are also responsible for illegal currency trafficking and money laundering.

Illicit activities across the border prompted its closure.

Recall that in August 2019, the federal government announced that all land borders would be closed due to the illegal importation of illicit drugs, arms, and agricultural products from surrounding West African countries. As of the end of 2020, President Buhari has four land crossings reopened. Even after the borders were reopened for several months, the president was worried that items were still being smuggled into Nigeria. However, the green chamber rejected a motion in June 2021 that was supported by 11 members of the House of Representatives that sought to reopen them all.

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NCS: Website

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