The service yesterday commissioned two ocean going vessels; Group of Nine and Customs Pride acquired by the Service to fight smuggling on water.
The vessels which have been acquired for the past four years have been in the custody of the Nigerian Navy at the Naval Dockyard where gunnery and other necessary fire power equipment were mounted.
But speaking during the commissioning yesterday, the CG called on the officers and men of the Service to manage the vessels properly saying that if anything happened to the vessels, the officers would be held responsible.
According to Ali, so much money was invested into the procurement of the vessels as well as training of officers to man the vessels.
He stated further that the vessels will help for efficient curtailment of smuggling on the waterways.
“To the customs marine officers and men, I charge you to make good use of these vessels to stifle waterways smuggling.
“One key thing that is very important is the maintenance of the machine and equipment.
“It is key to maintaining these vessels. I therefore will hold you responsible for anything that happens to these vessels because so much money has been invested into these vessels and we have so much money invested in your trainings
“What we expect of you is the proper management of these vessels
Ali maintained that the fight against smuggling is the only way to guarantee .non oil revenue generation for the country.
He words, “Today’s event represents a milestone in Nigeria Customs Service and very significant in trying to stem smuggling on our territorial waters.
“Nigeria’s quest for non oil revenue generation is dependent on the ability of the Service to fight smuggling and bring it to the barest minimum.
“Experiences have shown that whenever smugglers face resistance by Nigeria Customs Service operatives on land, they turn to the waterways to carry out their nefarious activities.
“Unfortunately, the Service has been lame on the waters due to lack of sea going vessels to effectively checkmark smugglers on the high sea.
“This situation led to the death of nine customs officers while confronting deadly smugglers on the sea in 2014.
“The commissioning of these two sea going vessels equipped with fire power equipment and other requirements for a long time water patrol, is in line with the repositioning of Nigeria Customs Service to effectively deliver on its mandate to the nation.
“With these vessels, I hope smugglers will no longer take advantages of the Nigeria Customs Service for inability to curtail smuggling through waters.”
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