By Ahmed Ajikobi
The Joint Border Operations Drill (JBOD) of North Central, Sector 3, Ilorin has seized smuggled goods worth N703,746,780 in its ongoing border drilling.
The Coordinator of the Border Drill, Comptroller Muhammed Garba, in a statement issued by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Zakari Chado and made available to Pilot Crime on Friday, disclosed that the estimated monetary value of the seized goods is put at N703, 746,780.
The statement added that as part of the war against smuggling of banned goods, the task force sensitised critical stakeholders and met with Textiles, Shoes, Veils and Market Women Association of Kwara State Chapter.
The meeting said to be an interactive session, according to the statement, gave the Coordinator opportunity to remind the participants that the border closure is to encourage local farmers, local industries to strive and to provide job opportunities to for teeming Nigerian youth.
Garba explained that the border closure aims at providing security to the nation, stressing that If the environment is not secured, revenue generation and collection will be a mirage for Nigeria Customs Service and the country.
He warned members of the association against patronising or selling smuggled goods.
He advised textile materials dealers buying their goods from Kano to get a copy of Single Goods Declaration Form (SGD) from original importers to avoid having their goods seized.
Garba explained that Section- 147 of Customs and exercise law gives power to Customs officers to search and raid any premises suspected to be housing smuggled goods, as such any shop, company or house identified to be stockef with smuggled goods will not spared.
He declared that in line with the president’s transformation agenda especially in the area of security, the service has essentially key into protecting the borders from infiltration of dangerous weapons and destructive materials.
He appealed to the association to partner with the Command in its bid to sensitise traders against patronage of banned goods.
… intercepts 10m litres of PMS from smugglers
By Ahmed Ajikobi
The effort at combating illegal smuggling of banned goods into Nigeria by the Joint Border Operations Drill, North Central, Zone 3, Kwara State, has further yielded results.
Operatives of the command in one of its operations, intercepted about 10million litres of Premium Motor Spirit from smugglers.
The Comptroller, Muhammed Garba disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq at the Government House, Ilorin last Wednesday.
“It is a common knowledge that the level of insecurity in Nigeria before the setting up of the joint border had assumed an unacceptable proportion as banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, child trafficking and smuggling were the order of the day.
“The setting up the task force has come with a lot of achievements. The main objective of the task force is to make sure that our neighbouring countries respect the agreements signed with Nigeria – trade agreement and other protocols, ” he explained.
Garba noted that economic sabotage and insecurity has reduced to the barest minimum in Nigeria and in Kwara State in particular since the beginning of the joint task force.
“For instance, 252,000 litres of petroleum products have been seized by the joint task force which otherwise would have been smuggled out of the country. That would have denied the government the opportunity of accurate data for planning and development purposes. 177 vehicles have also been arrested and 160 irregular immigrants have been handed over to the appropriate authorities to be repatriated to their countries,” he said.
Muhammad said the task force had also blocked loopholes and illegal routes in border areas and that has created opportunities for legitimate traders to transact business and remit appropriate duties to the government.
“The task force is engaging stakeholders, traders, independent marketers with a view to sensitising the public in the border communities,” he added.
On challenges being faced by residents of border communities in accessing petroleum products, the Comptroller announced that plans were underway to identify a dedicated filling station in each local government in border community to ensure that those genuinely using the products get relief soon.
He appealed to the state government to help in sensitising the public against smuggling and other trans-border crimes which he said are inimical to the economy and growth of the country.
In his remarks, Governor AbdulRazaq hailed the border closure policy of the Nigerian government, saying regional economic agreements should not be an excuse to dump goods on or compromise the security of the country.
AbdulRazaq said Kwara would continue to support the government policy, including offering necessary supports to the joint security architecture mandated to enforce what Abuja said was necessary to check illegal trade, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and cross border crimes in Nigeria.
“Despite several international agreements Nigeria has entered into, our borders need to be properly secured so that the country does not becomes a dumping ground for all manners of foreign goods,”
He also observed that Nigeria and sub national governments like Kwara must work hard to become more competitive in a world increasingly linked by technology and trade, calling for better investments in entrepreneurship.
“The closure of borders is a wake up call to sub-nationals and to the country at large that there are challenges ahead because of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which Nigeria is part of for free movement of goods and people across borders,” he said.
AbdulRazaq however called for win-win measures to assist border communities in Nigeria who are badly hit by the restrictions on petroleum products.
This came on the heels daily appeals by residents of Kwara North, especially in Baruten Local Government, who travel hundreds of kilometres to access petroleum products.
The Governor assured the command of his administration’s support in its bid to secure lives and property.
“For us border issue bothers on security and economy. On the security front, the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Navy, Customs, Police, DSS and other security agencies play major roles in ensuring security of lives and property. We will continue to engage and support security agencies to fortify security in the state,” he stressed.