Yusuf Bakare, Ilorin
The Nigerian Customs Service has reiterated the need for cooperation of border communities with the service to be able to perform effectively calling on these communities to express their patriotism by rendering information that could assist the work of the Customs Service.
The Coordinator, Joint Border Patrol Team Sector 3 Compt. Olugboyega Peters, pss made this call on Wednessday at the Customs barracks, Ilorin, during the third press briefing on scorecard of the Nigerian Customs Service, joint border patrol in the last six month.
Peters expressed that the success so far achieved by the customs service was due to the cooperation of communities therefore sueing for better cooperation because it is the a civic duty to the nation.
He advised that for residents of borther communities to depend on illegal incomes from smugglers is an act of aiding and abetting crime warning that no matter the craftiness of smugglers, the eagle eyes of trained customs operatives would always catch up with them.
The Customs boss rendering his commands half year scorecard stated effort by the Federal Government of Nigeria to implement Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) on the 18th of December, 2020, the Federal Government announced the reopening of four (4) land borders; Seme in Lagos, Illela in Sokoto, Maigatari in Jigawa and Mfun in Cross River States which led to the change of Names on 10th December, 2020 from Joint Border Operations Drill (JBOD) to Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) as part of a Tripartite Operation, comprising Benin, Niger and Nigeria.
Making clarifications he said, “African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) is a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent within a 50 year period from 2013 to 2063.”
“It is Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. The genesis of Agenda 2063 was the realization by African leaders that there was a need to refocus and reprioritize Africa’s agenda from the struggle against apartheid and the attainment of political independence for the continent which had been the focus of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to prioritize inclusive social and economic development, continental and regional integration, democratic governance and peace and security amongst other issues aimed at repositioning Africa to becoming a dominant player in the global arena.”
He disclosed a clamp down on some international syndicates arrested by the new JBPT mandate which comprises of ONSA, NIA, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Army and other agencies of Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) while conducting stop and search along Lokoja – Abuja highway, on the 21st of February, 2021, at about 1200 hours.
He explained that his men intercepted one Mazda 626 with registration number ABJ 187 BF, conveying five (5) women from Zuba Abuja to Lokoja in Kogi State and upon searching the vehicle, 15 bundles and 18 pieces of wrappers were found to be concealed in bonnet and other component of the vehicle.
“The preliminary investigations revealed that the Five (5) women are from different countries (Chad, Ghana, Mali and Niger Republic). They were found to be illegal immigrants without any means of identification. Investigation further revealed that they operates as a syndicate comprising of two groups, specializes in duping and stealing of women wrappers and most times uses charm to perpetrate their crimes. One group operates in Kaduna and the other in Kano axis, prominently on big shops selling women wrapper as their targets. The 2 groups came into the country through Katsina and Seme illegal routes. The suspects are-: Fatima Mohammadu (38) from Niger Republic, Judith Kofi (29) from Ghana, Fanta Camara (30) from Mali, Fadima Taore ((37) from Chad, Fatimata Camara (39) from Benin Republic
The Customs comptroller stated that the suspects, Fatimata Camara, Fatima Mohammadu and Fanta Camara confessed to stealing 15 bundles of the wrappers worth Two Hundred and Fifty Five Thousand Naira N255, 000 from locations in Kogi State adding that the suspects will be handed over to the appropriate authorities for further investigation and possible prosecution.
The Command further show cased some of the results of the Sector’s intensified effort at improving on the past successes on its anti-smuggling activities adding that Sector 3 has recorded One Hundred and Twenty (128) seizures which includes- 1,584 Foreign Par boiled Rice , 48 Units of used vehicles, 7 Motor Cycles, 1,864 Jerri Cans of 25 liters PMS and 18 Jerri Cans of 25 liters AGO.
Other items said to have been confiscated include 21 Bales of secondhand clothing, 86 and 20 pairs of Men and Women used Cloths, 21 Bags 50kg Foreign Sugar, 5 Locally made Dane Gun, Jack Knife, Axe and Cutlass as well 7 Drums of set of PMS,
3 Sets of Human traffickers making the total number of 80 (Specifically Children) already handed over to Immigration and National Agency for Prohibition of trafficking in persons (NAPTIP) , 6 Illegal immigrants, 60,000 Currency in CFA and 948 Cartons of foreign tomato paste
The Comtroller also explained that there are more seizures domiciled at various locations within the Sector that could not be transferred to Sector 3 Headquarters due to distance and logistics problem adding that there are 311 Bags of Rice and 7 Vehicles in Okuta, 850 Cartons of Tomatoes Paste in Ogaja-Adikpo Benue State, 162 Bags of Rice and 4 used Vehicles in Bokuro, 95 Cartons of Tomatos, 7 drums of PMS and 2 Used Vehicles in Babanna all items with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Seventy Five Million Eight Hundred and Fifty One Thousand Three Hundred Naira N75, 851, 300.