2015 Election: Customs places officers on high alert at borders

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Mamudu Haruna

As preparation for the 2015 general election draws near, Controller, Ogun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Mamudu Haruna said the command has beefed up security along the Idiroko border as well as at other approved and unapproved routes to curtail the smuggling of illegal arms and ammunition into the country.

Haruna who stated this while fielding questions from journalists at Idiroko yesterday, said the command in collaboration with other security agencies, is on high alert and has put all measures in place to ensure that the 2015 election is not marred by smuggled arms.

“All security agencies have been put at alert to make sure that arms and ammunition are not smuggled into the country through these possible areas. We have made it a point of responsibility – both customs and other security agencies – including the army to make sure that the borders are patrolled 24hours.

“This job is not one person job. When arms and ammunition are smuggled into the country, it doesn’t become a customs issue anymore. It becomes both the police and army issue because we are aware of what is happening with insurgency in the Northeast,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Customs boss while giving account of his stewardship said the command collected N6.5 billion in revenue between November 2013 and December 2014.

He said the command also recorded 1,482 seizures including 65 trucks of smuggled rice, vehicles, frozen products and motor cycles with duty paid value (DPV) of N1.6 billion in the period under review as against 1,226 seizures recorded in 2013 which DPV stood at N1.1 billion.

Haruna said the feat recorded was made possible through the reforms made by the Comptroller General on ECOWAS protocol on transit goods which, according to him, has led an increase in imported vehicles on which import duties were collected and which hitherto were smuggled into the country without payment of import duties and taxes.

“Any vehicle that enters through the bush or decide to follow an unapproved route instead of following the normal procedure to pay the appropriate duty will be arrested and once we arrest them we are going to prosecute them and if they abandon the vehicle, the vehicle is completely gone because we will not accept it if they come back to pay duty,” he said.—Ships and Ports

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