Smuggling poses security threat to nation’s economy- Says Customs in Oyo  …Receives entrepreneurship development award

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Smuggling poses security threat to nation’s economy- Says Customs in Oyo  

 .Receives entrepreneurship development award

By Udeme Clement & Faith Idem

The PRO making a speech at the workshop:

 “The dangers smuggling pose to the survival of a nation’s economy are very enormous and cannot be overemphasized.  Such dangers are continuous threat to the existence of any nation.  Smuggling is a worldwide phenomenon and those who engage in it are considered economic saboteurs”.

These were the words of the Public Relations Officer, PRO, Oyo/Osun Command of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Mr. A. Lagos, while making a presentation on the dangers of smuggling to the economy, at the just concluded workshop on, ‘Anti-smuggling sensitisation, organised by Financial Business Group in collaboration with Daily Business Update, in Lagos.

Speaking further, Mr. Lagos explained, “Smuggling is an illegal movement of objects, substances, information or people, across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations.

“The NCS also describes smuggling as false declaration, concealment of goods, willful under-payment of Customs duties, trafficking of prohibited or restricted goods, use of unapproved routes and ports, forging of Customs documents and touting in Customs goods and documents”.

On effects of smuggling to the nation, he stressed, “Smuggling constitutes continuous threat to existence of a nation due to the following reasons; adverse effect on the nation’s economy because it kills local industries, causes loss of jobs, especially for the youths.  It destroys the social fabrics of the society.  It encourages acts of criminality that can lead to armed robbery, terrorism and other heinous crimes. It also has serious health implications on the lives of the citizens”.

The Oyo/Osun PRO went on, “Efforts by our Command in curbing smuggling within our territory of operations.  One of the core mandates of Customs is to suppress smuggling. The Oyo/Osun Area Command covers Oyo and Osun States. It is an enforcement area because of its porous borders and unapproved routes.  It shares boundaries with two neighboring countries – Niger Republic and Benin Republic.

“Over time, efforts by the Command in the fight against smuggling within its territory have been tremendous.  Some of these measures include establishment of Outstations at strategic locations within the Command.  Well equipped patrol teams attached to every Outstation.  Constant surveillance by officers with patrol vehicles.  The Use of timely intelligence from Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU).  Synergy with other units of the Service like the Headquarters Strike Force and Federal Operations Units.

“Others include enlightenment campaigns through conferences, use of electronic media,  the use of Help Desk at the Command to attend to citizens for inquiries or clarifications”.

He continued,  “The above efforts led to great successes for the Command.   For instance, in 2017 the Command made a total of 115 seizures, with Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N228.9million.  In 2018, the Command recorded 112 seizures with DPV of  N201.8million”.

The PRO enthused, “The Customs Area Controller, Oyo/Osun Command, Comptroller ZA Abdullahi, has also recorded remarkable achievement in this regards since assumption of office in October, 2018.

“In his maiden press conference, held in December, 2018, about 3,010 smuggled foreign rice, vegetable oil’ used clothes, used shoes, tyres, cannabis, used vehicles among other items  were intercepted, with DPV of  N113. 8million.”

His words, “In achieving the above mentioned successes, our officers encountered challenges  of hostility from the local communities, mob attacks and even sabotage by some members of the public.   But with support from the Comptroller-General of Customs, CGC, Ali Hameed through provision of patrol equipment, commitment by officers of the Command and synergy with other sister agencies, these achievements were made possible.”

He informed, “Meanwhile, let me state clearly that, Customs officers do not take pleasure in seizing these goods but they do so to save the nation’s economy.  It is worrisome that despite huge losses to smugglers, most of them still continue to perpetrate this illegal act, even as some see illicit trade as a legitimate means of livelihood”.

He emphasized, “However, there is no doubt that entrepreneurship plays a vital role in economic development.  It is an essential factor in innovation and growth of the economy.

“It is our desire that the citizenry be empowered and encouraged to embark on entrepreneurial ventures that accord with governments’ fiscal policies.  The citizens should make inquiries and researches on the type of businesses they intend to venture into and desist from smuggling, because of its dangers to the nation’s economy”.

At the end, Mr. Lagos, who spoke energetically during the workshop, received ‘Entrepreneurship Development Award’   honour for  his Command.

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