Customs Solicits Army's Support To Check Smuggling, Transborder Crimes

2023-09-11 19:16:04


The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has sought the collaboration of the Nigerian Army to check smuggling and transborder criminals at the nation's borders.

The acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, made the appeal on Monday during a visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, at the Nigerian Army headquarters in Abuja.

He said smugglers at the border areas were taking the strength of his Service for granted.

He said his officers had been unable to apply commensurate force to the level of security threats in border communities.

The Customs boss added that the criminal elements now believed they could overrun his men.

Adeniyi said, "In the last 10 years, the dynamics of border crimes have changed. We have terrorists operating on our borders. Drug traffickers continue to use borders to bring in narcotics, which drives the evil agendas of these criminals.

"Those who bring in arms and ammunition do so in violation of the law that guides them. We have found ourselves needing to cooperate with the Army. In view of this, I would like to make two requests. We need collaboration with the Army, and we have started it with the training of our personnel. I think we can escalate this collaboration into real operational matters.

"Our officers work daily in border areas and difficult terrain. Sometimes in the course of their operations, they come under attack from smugglers, and hostile communities, and most of the time they are found wanting to apply forces that are commensurate with the level of threats they are exposed to, as smugglers seem to have taken our strength for granted. They believe that they can overrun our officers along the border communities."

Adeniyi stated that there was a need to begin to expose NCS personnel to joint training operations with the Nigerian Army.

He also pleaded with the Army to conduct a show of force at the border areas to send a signal to smugglers.

Adeniyi added, "We have thought about involving our men in joint training operations with the Nigerian Army. I believe that because of the rich experience the Army has in its theaters, it would be easy to build the capacity of our officers in these border areas. Even if it is just a show of strength to send a powerful message to smugglers that we have our sister agency that can come for our assistance when they come under attack."

Responding, Chief of Army Staff Lagbaja promised that the Army would ensure focus on border areas to show presence and deter criminals intending to smuggle prohibited items into the country.

Lagabaja said, "We would expand the frontiers of our collaboration. We will collaborate with customs in training and other areas to further enhance the operations of customs along the border areas. We will focus on border areas to show our presence and deter criminals that might want to smuggle contraband into the country."

He urged the Customs boss to grant approval for the repair of the NCS Jetty in Cross River, which he said had become somewhat detached from the body of water.

2023-09-11 News