Uche Usim; Chetachukwu Amoke, Abuja; Isaac Anumihe
Barely a week after the closure of the nation’s borders against rice smugglers the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), yesterday, gave the indication it was deploying drones to combat smuggling of prohibited items.
Speaking when he launched a set of 30 patrol vans in Abuja, Deputy Comptroller-General (DIG) in charge of investigations and inspection, Aminu Dangaladima, said that the NCS would partner with the Nigeria Air Force, in the aerial anti-smuggling efforts to achieve the feat. “We are thinking of having drones and bringing in the Air Force. We are also thinking of having unmanned aerial vehicles that can assist us. This will go a long way in assisting us to combat smuggling. This is in progress” he said. According to the DIG, NCS is better positioned today to deal with the enemies of Nigeria’s security and economic prosperity.
“With these vehicles, our response time at the scene of any smuggling activity will be swift and decisive” he said, while seeking the co-operation of the border communities in the area of intelligence gathering.
“Let me appeal to the general public, especially the border community dwellers to support the service by providing useful information on smuggling around their communities,” he requested.
Dangaladima disclosed that NCS has delivery of 30 additional Hilux vehicles, thus bringing to 50 the number of patrol trucks received by the NCS in the last two weeks. “You may recall that on June 11, this year, you witnessed the issuance of the first batch of 20 vehicles and these were all parts of the Federal Government’s support to curtail smuggling of prohibited items, especially rice.