The Western Marine Command (WMC) of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has concluded plans to unfold new operational strategies to curb illicit trade at the creeks as part of efforts to tackle smugglers operating within the waterways.
The Customs Area Controller of WMC, Comptroller Boyiliya N. Binga, who disclosed this to newsmen at a press briefing in Lagos recently, assured that his men will leave no stone unturned in seizing prohibited items and arresting smugglers at the creeks, to serve as deterrent to others.
He said the Command intercepted Cannabis Sativa (Indian Hemp), secondhand clothing, vegetable oil, bags of sugar, shoes, hand bags, foreign rice, furniture components, belts and other items with Duty Paid Value, (DPV) of over N197.88 million within few months.
While taking journalists round the Command’s warehouse where the seizures were kept. It was observed that the warehouse was filled to the brim with prohibited items, especially foreign rice.
Binga therefore, called on States given allocation of items for IDPs to evacuate such items, as soon as possible so at to create rooms for other incoming seizures in the command.
He said office accommodation, dearth of operational tools, such as boats and patrol vehicles as some of the challenges facing WMC, adding that these challenges impact negatively on efficiency of anti-smuggling activities of the Command.
On measures taken by his Command to increase operational effectiveness since he came on board, he said: “We have been able to repair three boats, not minding the cost implication, just to check-mate smugglers at the creeks. Also, two vehicles were repaired to support our anti-smuggling operations.”
“With continuous support from the Comptroller-General of Customs, CGC, Ali Hameed and his management team in areas of promotion, welfare of officers, supply of vehicles, the Command would improve on its present achievements, in order to surpass its target.”
Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), of WMC, Mr. N. E. Tangwa, explained that Comptroller Binga resumed duty as the CAC of WMC precisely on August 16, 2018.