Ember months: Tincan Customs steps up security surveillance to block illegal arms syndicate
By Udeme Clement
The Tincan Island Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has stepped up security surveillance in its operational domain, in order to block illegal arms and fake drugs syndicates from smuggling offensive items in to the country.
Financial Business & Maritime News inquest revealed that the step taken by Tincan Command becomes imperative to prevent harmful items (classified under absolute prohibited items) from entering the nation’s ports, especially as the ember months approach, where people engage in increased economic activities across the country.
The information made available to Financial Business & Maritime News by the Public Relations Officer of Tincan Command, Uche Ejesieme, disclosed that the new strategic focus initiated by the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Comptroller Yusuf Bashar, has strengthened not only the statutory responsibility of revenue generation, but also ensures safety of lives by decimating the tendency of unscrupulous importers from bringing unwholesome drugs, particularly Tramadol into the country.
He emphasized, “Consumption of such drugs has severe consequential effect on our large population of youths, thereby ultimately affecting their education pursuits and socio-economic wellbeing amongst other negative effects”.
He went on, “You would recall that the Tincan Customs Command alone has recorded three different seizures of catche of arms just recently. Only few days ago, our Command seized two containers loaded with drugs (Tramadol), falsely declared as used vehicle and computer accessories”.
On measures put in place by Tincan Command to curtail influx of offensive items, particularly arms into the country through the seaports, he pointed out, “The CAC has undoubtedly diminished the capacity of unpatriotic importers from bringing prohibited items into the country through several measures aimed at nipping such issues in the bud. For instance, the recent seizures of arms were made through high profile intelligence strategy designed by the CAC, using ICT as a major tool.”
Thus, it could be recalled that just recently President Muhammadu Buhari was in Turkey with the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) Ali Hameed alongside other top government functionaries on a diplomatic visit. At that bilateral meeting, the issue of arms was discussed after which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both countries was signed, with a view to ensuring that such illicit imports are curtailed.
In the same vein, Comptroller Bashar applauded the improved compliance level shown by some stakeholders at the Command and urged them to maintain this path, in order to enhance economic growth and development.
On his plans for the ember months, Bashar gave an assurance that no stone would be left unturned in his efforts to ensure sustained increase in revenue generation and facilitation of legitimate trade in line with global standards.
Bashar enthused: “We express appreciation for the support given to our Command by CGC Ali and his management team. We are going to re-double our efforts at this time of the year when business activities are expected to be on the increase. Most importantly, we thank CGC Ali for the promotion of five officers in Tincan Command who played a major role in the recent arms seizures. This recognition would spur others to greater efficiency in carrying out their statutory duties.”
“It is instructive to note that NCS is also putting measures in place to curb influx of arms, which is why the Service unveiled plans to introduce the Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) programme. This is a platform that would enhance streamlining of cargo clearance. Similarly, AEO is a programme introduced by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), to facilitate trade with security situation associated with import and export businesses across international borders.”
“In that capacity, Tincan Command has leveraged on the change ideology of CGC Ali by ensuring that all loopholes for revenue leakages are blocked, while also applying sanctions for false and under declarations. We will continue to re-strategise, to remain on top of our statutory functions, with a view to ensuring that the confidence reposed on us by the CGC and the Customs management is not taken for granted”.