By Steve Agbota
The Strike Force unit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Zone ‘A’ said it has shifted focus from import to identifying export irregularities as it announced fresh seizure of unprocessed wood, charcoal and coal.
This is as the unit disclosed that it made an unprecedented record of over 200 various seizures in its anti-smuggling fight and raked in N4 billion from January till date.
Coordinator of the Strike Force Unit, Deputy Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu, disclosed this when he received executive members of the Shipping Correspondent Association of Nigeria (SCAN) who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Lagos.
He said: “We have changed the narrative from import dependent to export irregularities and infractions. We have the ICT unit that monitors the entire landscape of import, so where there is anything to raise suspicion, we put it to ICT, flagged it and it is positioned for 100 percent examination, the needful will be done right inside.
“We have that unit, so instead of allowing them to come out and thereafter we seize like when we started, now we have decided to shift our focus so that we deploy our energy and intelligence to export irregularities and record from our seizures, which we will showcase very soon have showed that there are a lot of irregularities in export. We have unprocessed wood, charcoal and coal that we have gathered just for two weeks.”
Reacting to incessant attacks on officers by smugglers, Shuiabu said the unit has deployed intelligence in its operation. This, he said, has helped to avert crisis and unwarranted attacks on officers.
He said the unit will continue to frustrate the antics of unscrupulous business men by inflicting financial loss on them.
“The risk is there in every aspect of life and we do risk analysis. Ours is intelligent based. We are not out to get Nigerians killed or for us to be killed so we deploy intelligence. In areas where there are frictions, we try to withdraw from them, not that we are afraid of such situations but to avoid crises. These hoodlums are not the owners of the goods. “They are only there to escort the goods to the den of the smugglers and withdraw. So, once we deploy intelligence, we go to their warehouses and homes and evacuate because they themselves are living in their mansions, they don’t want any crisis. Once evacuation is done, what we have inflicted on them is financial loss.
“We are trained specially to ensure that we deploy intelligence, strike and come back. That is why over one year and two months, there is no crisis, no shooting, we have not killed anyone and none of our operatives have been killed,” he said.
While expressing the unit’s resolve to implement government extant laws on import and export prohibition, Shuaibu urged the media to work together with the unit against economic saboteurs in the interest of the country.