Uche Usim, Abuja
To avoid being caught off guard, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has put its officers and men on high alert as intelligence reports reveal that Boko Haram terrorist have flooded the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and are planning to carry out coordinated attacks on five identified locations.
The security alert to its officers was contained in an internal memo entitled “Re: Intelligence on national security” dated August 20, and signed by the Comptroller, Enforcement of Customs headquarters, HA Sabo.
Sabo stated: ‘Information reaching the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) reveals the existence of Boko Haram Terrorist Camps (BHT”s) in and around the Federal Capital Territory.
‘Further reports have it that they are planning to attack some selected targets within the territory. They are reported to have set up their camps in the following identified enclaves:
‘Kunyam Bush along airport road off DIA Staff Quarters-Abuja; Robochi/Gwagwalada Forest; Kwaku forest, Kuje, Abuja; Unaisha forest in Toto Local Government of Nasarawa State and Gegu forest, close to Idu town in Kogi State.
‘Consequently, you are to be at alert and security conscious of your environment at all times.’
Copied in the circular were the Zonal coordinators; Office of the Customs Area Controllers; Office of all CC Marine commands; office of CC FOU, A, B, C, and D; office of Coordinators operation Ex-Swift Response; Office of Coordinators CGC Strike Force; and office of the CC, Customs police.
Just last week, the Federal Government on Tuesday disclosed that 1,243 illegal migrants have been arrested, while several contraband items worth N11,030,062,952 have been confiscated since it launched the land border sanitizing drill, code named Operation Swift Response.
The joint military and paramilitary exercise coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) was launched on August 20, 2019.
The spokesman for the project, Joseph Attah, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs, listed other successes so far achieved to include the arrest of 622 suspected smugglers; while seizures including 134,042 bags of parboiled foreign rice; 9,600 bags of NPK fertilizer and 1,791 vehicles have been recorded.
Other seizures are; 3,565,461.9 litres of PMS; 5,007 drums filled with PMS; 68,436.3 Jerrycans of PMS; 130 engine boats; 847 motorcycles; 17,212.6 jerrycans of vegetable oil; 813 packs of Tramadol; 274 bags of cannabis; among other items.
Attah added that Nigeria remains committed to the ongoing diplomatic engagements to finding lasting solutions to the concerns that necessitated the partial border closure.
He noted that appreciable results have been recorded, particularly in the areas of security, economy, agriculture and inter-agency collaboration.
He said that the Buhari administration, through ONSA, took a definitive step to put Nigeria on the path to food sufficiency, stem the flow of illicit arms into the country and improve national security through the Exercise.
‘The joint border security exercise, has no doubt saved the country huge resources and enhanced national security. For instance, the smuggling of drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons which are drivers to terrorism and other forms of criminalities in the country have been considerably curtailed.
‘The exercise has also made it more difficult for terrorists and other criminals to acquire arms and ammunition, while criminal elements find it challenging to make their way into the country through the land and maritime borders. This has thus contributed to the reduction in cases of transnational organized crimes,’ Attah noted.