The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Mongono, yesterday said the Federal Government would not bow to any form of blackmail following the closure of its land borders.
The nation’s borders in four region were shut down three weeks ago at the commencement of a joint security operations code named “Operation Swift Response”. The operation which has the Nigeria Customs Service as lead agency also include the Armed Forces, Immigration and para-military services.
Speaking in Lagos at the commissioning of two new gun boats acquired by the Nigeria Customs Service, Mongono said that some neighbouring countries are already talking to the Federal Government on the issue.
The NSA who scored the taskforce high, stated that government was determined to give support to all security agencies to enable them deal ruthlessly with all those involved in smuggling .
He explained that government was determined to deal with all problems associated with current state of insecurity, adding that no amount of money nor blackmail can force government to its kneels.
Also speaking at the commissioning of the vessels, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim, said that Nigeria’s quest for non-oil revenue is largely dependent of the Service to fight smuggling and bring it to the barest minimum.
According to him, experience has shown that whenever smugglers face stiff resistance from NCS anti-smuggling operatives on the land borders, they turn to the waterways to carry out their illegal trade.
He added: “Unfortunately, before now the Service has been weak on the waterfront arising from the lack of seagoing vessels to effectively checkmate smugglers on the high sea. This situation led to the death of nine Customs Marine officers while confronting deadly petrol smugglers on the sea in 2014.
“It is in honour of this group of nine gallant officers who died in the Service of their fatherland that one of the seagoing vessels was named ‘Group of Nine’ while the other represents the ‘Customs Pride’ on the sea.”