From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the military, the Nigeria Immigrations Service (NIS), the Police and other government agencies have pledged full collaboration in data sharing and analysis, to effectively fight various crimes and ultimately secure the nation’s borders.
The various government agencies and other private sector stakeholders harped on effective collaboration yesterday in Abuja at the 2017 International Customs Day celebrations.
According to them, closing ranks was the best way to square up against all forms of illegalities like money laundering, drug trafficking, international arms smuggling, human trafficking, terrorism and other trans-border crimes.
Speaking at the event, themed “Data Analysis for Effective Border Management,” the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Hameed Ali, said the need to eliminate vices that impede national development formed the basis for which the Customs automated its operations, and, he said, it has made it a dependable databank for national planning.
“Apart from providing a platform for synergy among security and regulatory agencies in Nigeria, data generated and analysed from our ICT platform is beneficial to the service as it helps to measure performance and improve practice and integrity of the process.
“Through such activity, the Customs was able to collect a total of
N878, 673,857,451.07 (VAT inclusive) and made a total of 6,190 assorted seizures in 2016, including spectacular seizures of arms and ammunition and other dangerous items.
“It is imperative to call on our stakeholders to pay more attention to the provision of quality data, as it forms the bases for analysis that directs operational decisions. False declaration, under or over valuation, concealment, among others, affects the integrity of any data with negative consequences on the economy and national security,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Acting Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, commended the data sharing agreement between security agencies, describing it as the right onslaught against graft.
“For us at the EFCC, we need this data sharing and analysis a lot, especially in hunting and prosecuting money launderers. I can get information from Immigrations, NDLEA, Customs and other government agencies. It’s important. The war against corruption is for all Nigerians and I know we will win despite what is happening today. I believe in the Customs CG’s efforts at fighting corruption,” he said.
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun described data as vital in curbing revenue leakages.
“Again, data sharing is key in helping the government formulate policies. It also helps in curbing smuggling and facilitating legitimate trade. The Single Window project (SW) is key and it requires a lot of data to make it work. Every agency involved in international trade will be accommodated. Data helps in budgeting and planning. Nigeria going through a challenging period and it calls for collaboration”, she said.