The Seme Area Command in demonstration, pursuant and compliance with the enabling laws that set up the Nigeria Customs Service, Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) No. 55 OF 1958 (Now Law of Federation of Nigeria LFN CAP C45 2004), Section 46, 47, 48, 57, 64, 68, 147, 149 and 150 provide penalty for improper/illegal importation/exportation of goods, and empowers Customs officers to search premises, vehicles, Aircrafts and persons amongst others; has proven that smugglers cannot continue to operate under customs jurisdiction of operations using the community as a cover without facing the full wrath of the law.
The dare-devil smugglers who intend to test the might of the Nigeria Customs Service despite the closure of the border to the movement of illegitimate goods across the border met their waterloo on the October 5, 2017. About 2000 (two thousand three hundred) bags of smuggled rice were evacuated in various houses within Gbaji community. The seizure rice has a duty paid value of fifty seven million one hundred and nineteen thousand, two hundred and fifteen naira only (N 57,119,215.00).
The information-driven operation exposed the illegal activities of these economic saboteurs who might have connived with faceless and recalcitrant officers that refuse to heed to the clarion call for a reformed and a rejuvenated Nigeria Customs Service.
The intention of the smugglers to confront the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service was averted courtesy of the reinforcement and seamless collaboration with the Nigerian Army 243 Reece Battalion Badagry. The practical synergy led to the house to house operation and evacuation of the smuggled product where they were kept.
Coincidentally, the operation at Gbaji border community took place on a date scheduled for the Customs Community Consultative Forum in which the Baale of Gbaji border community was in attendance. The Controller reiterated his appeal for cooperation with the host communities in curbing trans-border crimes; some of the community leaders who bore their minds dissociated the involvement of the indigenes of their communities.Commenting on the successful operation in conjunction with the Nigeria Army, the Customs Area Controller (Comptroller Mohammed, Aliyu A) commended the effort of the Commanding Officer 243 Reece Battalion Col UB Garba for his prompt response in partnering with the Nigeria Customs Service to the actualization of the mandate of the Nigeria Customs Service. He also appreciated the existing cordial community relationship, and called on the leaders to further sensitize their youth not to join forces with the carriers/smugglers that may not come from their immediate communities to destroy the peaceful co-existence between the Nigeria Customs and the host communities.
The Customs Area Controller stressed and warned that no amount of intimidation by the smugglers to use the Seme border route for smuggling activities will be tolerated nor permitted. He said, the command will continue to work with the Nigeria Army and the communities in order to nib the activities of smugglers in the bud. He therefore enjoined the host communities to give intelligence report to the Nigeria Customs Service of any smuggler under their domain in order not to portray the community as collaborators, partners or harboring illegalities within their domain.
The Controller restated his commitment to work strictly in line with the policy thrust of the Comptroller General of Customs, COL Hameed Ibrahim Ali Rtd as he strictly upheld the federal government policies at the land borders.
It could be recalled that the Comptroller General last month exemplified that smuggled items that have found itself in the country or the town has no hiding place as long as their owners have violated the constitution and policy of the federal government of Nigeria and the provisions that enact the Nigeria Customs Service enshrined in CEMA.The CAC also warned officers and men of its command to desist from conniving with trans-border miscreants who are desperate in their quest for indulging in trans-border crimes at all times. Comptroller Aliyu concluded that anti-smuggling operation being one of our core statutory responsibility will be enforced to the later until smuggling activities is reduced to the barest minimum at the land border. While the command is resolute in achieving her core objectives, officers and men must be guided by the operational rules of engagement for a hitch free operation devoid of crisis, he cautioned. In view of the aforementioned, the professional ethics of the profession should be duly explored before a decision for action is finally arrived at.
Meanwhile, the Command generated a total sum of six hundred and thirty eight million, five thousand, one hundred and ninety four naira and sixty nine kobo only (638,005,194.69) in the month of September, 2017. The anti-smuggling operation unit of the command also made a total of twenty one (21) seizures with a duty paid value of thirteen million five hundred and eight thousand, four hundred and five naira only (13,508,405.00) for the month under review.