Uche Usim, Abuja
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Colonel Hameed Ali, (retd) has declared full-blown war on smugglers, saying it would henceforth apply necessary force in its anti-smuggling operations to protect its officers and men.
The Customs boss who stated this recently in Abuja, said the move became necessary in view of incessant attacks on his staff by smugglers in various locations across the country, warning he would tackle the challenge headlong.
He said: “Enough is enough. We won’t take it anymore. If host communities decide to side with criminals, then it means they are all criminals and we will treat them as such. These killings have to stop.
“Border communities, parents, guardians, traditional rulers and other stakeholders should call their wards to order. We will take up arms to protect our officers and men.
“We urge border dwellers to report smugglers’ activities. These are economic saboteurs. We need to jointly protect the country”, he said. Ali listed the challenges facing Customs to include: porous borderlines, inadequate non-intrusive equipment, hostile border community dwellers, high level of non-formal trades, low implementation of ECOWAS Protocol on transit, low level of compliance among international trade actors, among others. He further revealed that the Federal Government has set a revenue generation target of N887 billion for the Service in 2019, assuring that the figure will be handsomely surpassed, as the management has set a far higher in-house target for itself.
Ali said the Service intends to swell its revenue generation by acquiring non-intrusive equipment to boost trade facilitation, while ensuring that stakeholders comply with trade rules.