FromTunde Omolehin, Sokoto
Border communities in Sokoto State have been warned against aiding the smuggling of illicit items into the country.
The Area Comptroller of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdulhamid Ma’aji, gave the warning at Illela during a sensitisation meeting held Tuesday with youths and community leaders at Illela town, a border community in the northern state.
The border post was among four major international borders announced for reopening by the Federal Government in late December 2020.
Ma’aji, while officially reopening the border’s gate, described the event as a remarkable day, urging the people to observe all the guidelines layout by the Ibrahin l Government.
According to him, ‘now that these borders have been reopened, I want you to note that those illicit items that have been prohibited remain [prohibited]. The whole world is watching you continue to use this border. You must not flout all the guidelines laid out by the Federal Government in order not to allow another closure.’
Ma’aji added that the decision to reopen the border post was in compliance with the directives of President Muhammad Buhari.
He reminded that the Federal Government’s ban on the importation of rice and other essential commodities is still imposed and advised those using the route to abide by the rules and guidelines stipulated by the federal government.
Ma’aji further charged the travellers along ECOWAS countries to desist from habits of importing and exporting goods items such as rice, medicines and cooking oils among others.
He appealed to the border communities to support the Customs authority with relevant and intelligent information that could assist in manning the border effectively.
The officer in charge of Customs ICT, Shattima Babagana, advised traders to transact legitimate business by acquires valid importation documents at all time.
He also urged charged the prospective traders, especially those willing to start trading with ECOWAS countries, to contact the state’s command for further guidance to achieve their goals.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agent in charge of Sokoto/Kebbi and Zamfara State, Alhaji Aminu Dan-Iya, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for reopening of the border.
He described the Federal Government’s decision as timely, saying it will ginger people’s anticipation of an improved economy and social prospects in the country.
Also speaking, a leader of the business community in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma, promised to enlighten traders on the need to remit their levies as at when due to enable the government to execute developmental projects for the benefit of Nigerians.
The officer in charge of Illela Border, Jamilu Tanko, advised the people to see the Federal Government’s gesture as an uncommon opportunity to trade in a legitimate business.
The occasion was witnessed by top government and security officials from the Niger Republic, traders, community leaders, Licenced Agents and Nigerian security agencies, among others