…Plans to Introduce More Checkpoints
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Nigerian Custom Service (NCS) has asked the Federal government to recruit more officers into the service so that they could cope with the demand of manning the nation’s porous entry points.
The Assistant Comptroller General of Customs in charge of Zone A, Mr. Monday Abueh, who spoke about the demand during his maiden tour of Idiroko and Seme border commands on Tuesday, said it is necessary so that the NCS could effectively implement Federal Government’s ban on importation of vehicles through land borders.
Mr. Abueh, who announced plan to re-introduce more checkpoints along the ever-busy international expressway, said, following the latest government import restriction policy, vehicle seats at the Seme and Idiroko borders have been dismantled and the officers have been redeployed to cover notorious smuggling flash points.
“I am here on familiarization tour, as the new ACG in chrge of Zone A,” he pointed out. “The idea is to convey the position of the service, the policy of the government and the emphasis placed on the Comptroller General of the service, Col Hamid Ali (rtd), that the present language and action of the service right now is to ensure that rice and motor vehicle is not imported through the land borders.
“These are the two items on the menu that are very hot. When we say rice should not come in, it means not a single grain.”
Abueh appealed to officers to handle their duties with due diligence so as not to run foul of the law. Citing example of 661 pump action rifles seized in Lagos, he warned that any officer who appends his or her signature to illegal cargoes would go down for it.
“Since government has decided that vehicles should not come in,” he stated, “officers on vehicle seats have been sent to needy places. We are talking about porosity of the borders and so we still need more men to man all the illegal entry points.
“We still have travellers passing through the roads on lesse passé and carrying passengers to Nigeria. Some of these still have to be checked.
“On the issue of road blocks, is it not better when you have porosity of the border. It is better to have appropriate checkpoints to deal with people escaping from one place to the other. In the interest of National security, some of these decisions are necessary and timely.”
Custom Area Controller, Idiroko Command, Gangua Hassan, also confirmed that officers are only carrying out skeletal services atbthe command, as most of the officers have already been redeployed to man the borders.”
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