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Monday, 08 October 2012 00:00
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Customs upgrades facilities at Western marine command

The Controller in charge of Western Marine Command of Nigeria Customs Service, Mr Zakka Audu, has said that facilities at the command were being upgraded for effective monitoring of the high seas.

He noted  that the command would soon receive some sea-going vessels.

The Federal Executive Council recently approved two sea-going vessels for the command in a bid to empower it.

The comptroller stressed that he was optimistic that facilities at the command would soon be of international standard

Audu said that the command would undergo drastic changes whenever the vessels were released.

“Our jurisdiction is purely on water and creeks. Hitherto, we have been unable to reach the high seas, but with the approval of these vessels, our command will become more effective in monitoring the high seas.

“All the seizures we have been making so far have been in the creeks and rivers, while the smugglers bring in ships which they anchor on the high seas where we are unable to reach’’, he stated.

He added that an Assistant Comptroller-General was assigned by the Comptroller-General of Customs to inspect facilities at the command with a view to upgrading them.

Audu explained that various capacity building programmes were currently on at the command.

The comptroller said that the training included the use of weapons, swimming classes and others.

Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer of the command; Mr. Zakari Chado, said the command recorded six seizures valued at N3.01 million in September.

He said that the estimated duty paid value of the seized items was N3.21 million.

Chado said that the seizures included poultry products, rice and petrol.

He said that the seizures were made at Idiroko, Yekeme and Badagry. 

He said that the items were abandoned on the waterways by smugglers on sighting customs patrol boats.

Meanwhile the Marine Division of the Lagos State Police Command has recovered a cache of arms and ammunition from sea robbers at Padi Sea Beach, Badagry Police  gave their names as Messrs Momanyon Finapanu, 23, and Nunayon Yanagbon, 29.

Apart from two AK 47 rifles, four pump action guns, two single-barrel guns, part of the arsenal allegedly recovered from the duo included four AK 47 magazines with 57 rounds of live ammunition, and 104 rounds of live cartridges for the pump actions.

Other items allegedly recovered by the Police from the suspected pirates are men’s underwear, 15 small pieces of charm clothing, another batch of 13 black charms, a Nokia mobile phone handset, and a Visafone mobile phone handset.

According to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Umar Manko, the “suspects had been terrorising the waterways of Nigeria, Benin Republic and Ghana for a long time.”
Manko added: “They specialise in hijacking diesel and other petroleum products in the sea and attacking and robbing other cargo ships.”

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