Joint border drill operatives record N11bn seizures *Arrests 622 suspects *Seizures include dangerous drugs, tramadol, petrol, rice, others

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Joint border drill operatives record N11bn seizures

*Arrests 622 suspects

*Seizures include dangerous drugs, tramadol, petrol, rice, others

By Udeme Clement :

The Customs National Public Relations Officer:

“One year into the on-going joint border drill, code-named ‘Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE ’, appreciable results have been recorded, particularly in the areas of security, economy, agriculture and inter-agency collaboration”, said the Customs National Public Relations Officer, DC Joseph Attah.

He disclosed, “As at August 31, 2020, 1,243, illegal immigrants and 622 suspected smugglers have been arrested, while seizures include 134,042 bags of parboiled foreign rice; 9,600 bags of NPK fertilizer; 1,791 vehicles; 3,565,461.9 litres of PMS; 5,007 drums filled with PMS; 68,436.3 Jerricans of PMS; 130 engine boats; 847 motorcycles; 17,212.6 Jerricans of vegetable oil; 813 packs of Tramadol; 274 bags of cannabis; among other items. The estimated monetary value of the seizures is N11,030,062,952.50.”

He explained, “The exercise, which commenced on 20th August, 2019 involves the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), in collaboration with the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), as well as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security and intelligence agencies, under the coordination of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).”

He went on, “The present administration, through ONSA took a definitive step to put Nigeria on the path to food sufficiency, stem the flow of illicit arms into the country and improve national security through the Exercise”.

DC Joseph Attah pointed out, “The joint border security exercise, has no doubt saved the country huge resources and enhanced national security. For instance, smuggling of drugs, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which are drivers to terrorism and other forms of criminalities in the country have been considerably curtailed.

“The exercise has also made it more difficult for terrorists and other criminals to acquire arms and ammunition, while criminal elements find it challenging to make their way into the country through the land and maritime borders.

“This has contributed to the reduction in cases of transnational organised crimes”.

His words, “Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE has boosted production of agricultural products, especially local rice, tomato, maize and poultry. It has also stimulated the growth of agriculture and the nation’s economy at large.”

He enthused, “Nigeria is fast attaining self-sufficiency in rice production, as the border drill has drastically reduced rice smuggling into the country and catalysed rice production by farmers across the country, while millions of direct and indirect jobs have been created. Huge amount in foreign exchange, that previously went into rice importation saved.

“Rice farmers in the country are now venturing beyond rice cultivation to milling, packaging and marketing.”

He added, “The Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA), which is coordinating the exercise continues to record large numbers of seizures and arrests from the four sectors of North-West, North-Central, South-West, and South-South geo-political zones.

“Nigeria remains committed to the on-going diplomatic engagements to finding lasting solutions to the concerns that necessitated the partial border closure.

“While the priority for now remains to keep our borders safe from any inimical activity that would compromise our national interests and by extension our national security. We appeal to Nigerians to support the on-going efforts towards making the nation better secured and economically viable”.

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