At the Just concluded National Association of Online Security Reporters, NAOSRE, Dinner Summit which held at Oriental Hotel Lagos, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS posits that all security agencies must synergize to tackle insecurity*
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has pledged to support all efforts geared towards tackling the rising insecurity in the country even as it called for cooperation on the part of Nigerians.
Speaking at the first annual Dinner Night & Discourse of the National Association of Online Security Reporters (NAOSRE) held in Lagos on Friday, the Public Relations Officer of the Service, DC Joseph Attah stated that security should not be be left in the hands of the security agencies alone as it appears, sometimes, as if the security agencies were becoming overwhelmed.
Attah who is represented at the event by the Public Relations Officer, Tincan Island Port Command of the Service, SC Uche Ejesieme observed that security was supposed to be a shared responsibility adding all hands must be on deck to ensure that it is achieved.
According to him, “It is instructive to note that the issue of insecurity has assumed a frightening dimension to the extent that nation states which were hitherto thought to be peaceful are now experiencing serious threats. It is therefore the position of the customs, the CGC and the management that the issue of security should be a shared responsibility. And no country will thrive anywhere in the world without seriously addressing the issue of insecurity.
“Nigeria Customs will continue to play its pivotal role in this regard. It is also a clarion call like we said earlier to all Nigerians; they should support the security agencies with clear information which is reliable as that can assist in identifying security threats with a view to nipping them in the board.”
On the achievement of the Service in the area of curbing insecurity, he pointed out that “The Service had effected seizures in the following categories of goods; in 2017 alone, the NCS profiled and intercepted using intelligence over 5,000 pump action riffles which eventually was handed over to the Nigeria Police, substances in large quantities that were confirmed to be cocaine with a street value of over one billion Naira, interception of large sums of money in various currencies at the airport, interception of stolen SUVs that were later repatriated through the INTERPOL to the US for further investigation, seizure of large quantities of controlled pharmaceuticals like Tramadol and of course, you know that Tramadol of 200mg and above is actually not allowed and also seizure of a lot of military hardware and a lot of security equipment and apparels, this is just to mention a few.”
“It is therefore incontrovertible to state that but for the seizure, the consequences of these offensive items entering into our shore and getting into the hands of wrong people could have had a very devastating effects on the socio-economic lives of our people”, he added.
On joint operations, the customs spokesman explained that since the inception of JTF, the customs had actually been deeply involved in joint operations in the North East and other parts of the country particularly since the inception of the Boko Haram insurgency.
He maintained that those operatives were trained by the military and they were involved in the activities of the Joint Task Forces even up till today even as he said that they have been making their marks.
“Similarly, the Service has formidable collaborations with other key government organizations like the Police, the DSS, the NAFDAC, the SON, the NESREA by way of intelligence gathering and information sharing. This has already produced results.
“You are also aware that in 2019, the Comptroller General of Customs in collaboration with other key security agencies actually came up with what is called Ex-Swift Response and this joint operation comprises the customs, the military and other paramilitary agencies was introduced and codenamed Ex-Swift Response and it is targeted at checking our borderlines and enforcing the closure of the borders from August 20, 2019 and this has succeeded in meeting the objectives as well as improving our national revenue.
“In this regard, our rice farmers and other farmers can bear testimonies to the positive effects of the border closure because I am sure most of them have been smiling to the banks. The joint operation recorded spectacular seizures almost on daily basis across the length and breadth”, he further said.
He therefore assured that the NCS under the present Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) and his management was deeply committed at ensuring that the NCS remained unrelenting in all aspects of its statutory function noting that “this is not to say that the NCS has all the answers confronting her.”
“The good news is that it is work in progress and we are still trying our best in decimating the activities of unpatriotic elements who are bent on using our space as dumping ground for all manner of illicit goods. We will continue to confront them in all fronts and we will encourage compliant trade”, he concluded.