Border Surveillance : Customs Boss harps on greater synergy with security agencies

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Border Surveillance :
Customs Boss harps on greater synergy with security agencies

Says FG may reopen Seme border for vehicle importation if ….

Photographs taken during the visit

The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, has said that if all stakeholders cooperate with the security agencies to tackle the menace of smuggling arms, ammunition and other prohibited items across the border, the Federal Government may think of reopening Seme border for vehicles importation and other products banned from coming in through the border.

The CGC also promised to rationalise check-points along Seme road, in tandem with the vision of the Service, to promote trade facilitation for optimum economic development.

The Customs Boss made these assertions during his working visit to Seme, known to be the busiest border linking Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region.

He informed : “The Service is working with other government agencies bearing in mind their peculiarities, to rationalise multiple check-points inhibiting free trade and movement of legitimate goods across the border.

“The Service has taken the first step by announcing the disbandment of Customs Strike Force. There are numerous trade and economic benefits for Nigeria within the ECOWAS socio-economic bloc. The Service in collaboration with foreign counterparts, will work on developing better bilateral trade relations driven by technology and innovation.”

CGC Adeniyi continued :  “The Service seeks to achieve this bilateral trade relations through implementation of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), as well as African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).”

Speaking further, the Customs Boss appreciated the traditional rulers and residents of the border communities for their kind reception, even as he sought for their support in giving credible information that will help in border security at all times.

His words : “When it comes to border security, management and others, the Customs plays a very important role. of course, we know that we cannot play this role successfully without collaboration with other agencies that have their mandates around the borders as well. We must draw strength from the complementarity of our operations in these areas.

“We are already familiar with ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, which started over 30 years ago. While we are grappling with this, in other parts of the world, they have made significant progress. What this means for us is that, while we trade with other regional blocs outside our areas, we still have to define our economic prosperity in the framework of the trade that we conduct between ourselves.

“Therefore, in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Ghana, there is so much that we can trade. There is so much depth that we can look out for when we define our future in terms of looking inward for economic development model. This is what ETLS is all about. This is what African Continental Free Trade Agreement is all about.

“So whether we like it, or not, the drive is towards suspension of Customs duty on goods that are traded within this economic bloc.

“This should be a collective task for all of us. Let us work together to see how we can rationalise these check-points, bearing in mind some peculiarities for our agencies. I understand that the situation for one agency might be different from another. But I believe that if we sit together and map out the entire corridor from here to Badagry and from here to Mile 2, we should be able to find a way to see how we can rationalise this”.

In his remarks, the Customs Area Controller of Seme Command, Compt Dera Nnadi mni, mentioned some of the challenges facing the Command and stakeholders around Seme border; ranging from smuggling activities, multiple check-points and border closure.

Compt Nnadi stressed that Seme border accounts for about 70 percent of the transit traffic in ECOWAS sub-region.

Giving more details on revenue generated by the Command, he disclosed: “The Command’s revenue target for the year 2023 is N1.96billion, which represents 67percent of out given target.
While seeking for continuous cooperation and support towards effective border security, we appreciate the Customs Boss and his team for their support to the success and welfare of Officers and Men of the Command.”

He said; “Several factors have been adjudged to hamper trade between Nigeria and her proximate neighbour within the sub-region, especially transit trade across the countries and along the corridor. There have been several complaints by operators against closure of the borders, non-adherence to transit agreements signed under the ECOWAS, World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff.

“As I conclude, let me mention that the facility we have here needs constant upgrading. The vehicle and truck parks need to be paved, the flood lights need to be replaced. On our part, effort is being made to remove the unapproved check-points along the corridor.

“In the same vein, we thank the Federal Government for the intervention in repairing the road along the corridor and leading to Seme-Krake Joint Border Port”.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Seme Chapter, Mr Onyekachi Ojinma,
urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to put in place policies that will make the borders to be more viable for business and services to thrive, in order to enhance job creation and economic prosperity.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Badagry-West Local Council Development Area, Mr Joseph Gbenu,
commended the Customs Boss for visiting Seme Command, assuring him of a cordial working synergy.

The CGC also visited the Akran of Badagry, Aholu Lehi Toyi, where he received royal blessings.

Recall that the CGC’s visit to Seme border is just one out of numerous strategic meetings and working tours, he has embarked upon in the last few days. But his visit to Seme Command was unique and most outstanding. Compt Nnadi gave his big Boss a heroic welcome, which stakeholders and the men of the pen confraternity described as a special carnival. CGC Adeniyi and Compt Nnadi have many things in common. Both of them are  Officers of like minds, disciplined and uncompromising. Like CGC Adeniyi, Compt Dera Nnadi is also a workaholic.

The Customs Boss has been working assiduously to support government efforts in rejuvenating the nation’s economy since his appointment was pronounced by President Bola Tinubu.

 

 

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