Following the row surrounding the Nigeria Customs Service and its decision to raid warehouses and markets for alleged smuggled items, and also implement the customs duty on vehicles, the agency has come out clean on its inability to adequately police Nigeria’s land borders.
During an interview with Ripples Nigeria, public relations officer, NCS, federal operations unit (four) zone A, Jerry Attah said the revenue-generating agency is battling with the porous nature of Nigeria’s borders.
“Nigeria’s borders are very porous, that is a major challenge. If you join the hands of all customs officers in Nigeria, they cannot man the whole borders.
“Also, the people do not see smuggling as a crime, they see it as a way of life. Neighbouring communities where smuggling activities happen are the major challenge because it is a regular activity for them. So when they see customs operatives doing their jobs, they feel they are interfering with their business”, he alleged.
He went further on to state that the fact that smugglers are not scared of the law is a major worry for the agency.
“People don’t see smuggling as evil, whereas the act is a criminal offence; that alone is a major challenge,” the image maker lamented.
He did not fail to highlight the importance of information sharing, as it has helped the agency in time past to yield results.
“We implore every Nigerian to give us genuine information about illegal activities. Just like the way whistle blowing is implemented in the country. Every raid we embark on is based on intelligence gathering”.
Speaking on the actions taken against the officers alleged to have been involved in the seized 661 pump action riffles smuggled into the country earlier in January, he said, “The officers involved are undergoing investigations from a disciplinary committee right now at the customs headquarters in Abuja, and I strongly believe that after the investigation, whatever disciplinary actions that needs to be taken, the management will take the right action.
“By the time they are done, those found culpable will face the wrath of the law. But right now, we cannot pre-empt the outcome of the investigation”, he stated.
By Akin Obakeye
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