Thursday, 27 December 2012 00:00
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Customs boss declares war against smugglers at Seme border

The community of Seme International border South Western Nigeria has been urged not to see smuggling as their right because they are residents along the land border, ad government will not condole any illegal business transaction across the frontier.

The Customs Area Comptroller Seme Border, Comptroller Othman Abdul Saley made this appeal recently during his meeting with joint security agencies where he presided over, calling on all security agencies to bring their wealth of experience and training acquired over the year to bear on the security of the border. This he said, will ensure that only legitimate business and genuine traders are allowed to operate within the nation’s business land border in Seme.

The Customs boss who urged his colleagues to redouble their efforts, said all hands must be on deck to fight banditry; armed smuggling across the border, considering the vast expanse porous land bordering Nigeria with Benin Republic and existing trade tie between the two countries and other states of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS).

Othman who declared war on criminals of all shades along the border announced a round the clock border patrol to prevent any form of illegal importer or exporter as well as tracking down persons suspected to be terrorists. He warned hoodlums to stay away from border as his command with the co-operation of other security agencies are battle ready to make Seme border danger zone for them. “We will not leave anything to chance in the face of the nation’s current security challenges. We will maintain a water tight security along the border”.

Those who think the remote villages will serve as havens for their criminal activities should have a rethink as the CAC said his officers and men will make the expanse border territory unsafe for them, and any one caught will face the wrath of the law.

Othman who has engaged his men to block all sources revenue leakages and maximized revenue collection said the efforts was yielding result rapidly, as the command had collected a cumulative total of N6,585,859,565.50 out of the total of N8.4billion set as the command target for the year 2012.

He said since his stewardship commenced in September, the command has been able to collect the sum of N635,898,399.80. Though the revenue dippided in the month of October with a collection of N613,180,614.04 yet it was an improvement over the October 2011 wherein we collected the sum of N539,117,611.73. The CAC assured that his command would surprise the target.

The anti-smuggling strategies of the command the CAC said were working effectively as increased number of people are being sensitized to turn away from smuggling to legitimate trade, while the use of reasonable coercion is employed as a last resort. The command he said, has made 317 seizures with a duty paid value of N142,288,322.00 between January and October 2012 face out of the twenty-two suspects had been convicted while other cases are at various stages of investigation and prosecution.

The hard drugs related cases the CAC said, had been transferred to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (NDLEA) in the spirit of inter-agency collaboration. Among those handed over is a couple with 30 compressed blocks of substance suspected to be cannabis. The suspects, exhibits and Kia Sephia car used had since been handed over to the NDLEA.

The CAC retracted that his command stance against smuggling in any guise; falsification, fraud, under declaration and all forms of anti-social activities as “we are deploying all to suppress smuggling inter-border criminality and guarantee national security. National security is a Nigeria project for all Nigerians”.

The security agencies cannot do it all alone, the CAC therefore made a passionate appeal to the citizenry, especially the communities along the border while meeting their leaders to support the laudable objectives of achieving the goal.

While the command poised to adhere to the best global practice, it is faced with several challenges according to the CAC, the deplorable Seme – Lagos highways tend to hinder road legitimate as the has became impassable, the improper method adopted by the Customs Administration of Benin Republic in the escort/canalization of imported vehicles inadequate offices accommodation as a result of the border reconstruction project and the attendant delaying in its completion.

This is coming on the heels of the arrest of a NAFDAC clerical staff, Mr. Okoh and his collaborators, Mr. Adeosun Abiodun and Mr. Monday Olopade who forged permit to import chemical for one Mr. Daniel.

Briefing journalists in Lagos on Friday, the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii said the launching of the accreditation guidelines is to screen and verify all persons wishing to or who operate as NAFDAC consultants.

Orhii further explained that the guideline will ensure that only qualified professionals who have deep knowledge of the Agency's activities and with proven integrity are allowed to operate as NAFDAC consultants.

This development followed complaints the Agency received from applicants wishing to register products or obtain permit to clear chemical.

According to the complaint, unscrupulous persons claiming to be consultants have swindled them of huge sums of money. "Such sad stories has been of serious concern to the management and hence, the launching of the programme," said Orhii.

Speaking further, he said the swindled applicants include both national and international applicants.

To this end, NAFDAC has constituted a team of officers to perform discreet intelligence gathering on the activities of all persons operating as consultants to fish out the bad ones and also expose their internal collaborators."

Speaking on the arrested NAFDAC staff, Orhii said they had collected N200,000 as against N64000 being charged by the Agency to issue genuine import permit.

Furthermore, he stated that although, the victim whose case led to the formation of the guideline did not use the import permit last year, "They went ahead to renew the fake import permit for 2012 for the sum of N100,000 as against the sum of N27,250, which the Agency charges. All the payments made by the importer were not receipted."