Segun Oladipupo |
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Kwara Customs command has sought the assistance of traditional rulers against smuggling in the corridor.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the command, Chado Zakari made this known in a press statement made available to nigeriamaritime360.com on Friday.
The statement said that the visit was part of the measures to sensitise border communities on the dangers of smuggling into the country.
The statement stated further that the Comptroller has taken tour of Emirate councils of Ilesha Bariba, Yashkira and Okuta axis of Baruten Local Government area of the State.
At the Emir’s Palace of Ilesha Baruba, Compt. Ahmed said he acknowledged the critical role the traditional institutions/rulers can play especially in the areas of sensitization and enlightenment of their entire subjects, Stakeholders and society at large.
He added that his visiting the palace was to formally inform the Emir that the Kwara Command had been given autonomy and to equally present himself as the pioneer Customs Area Controller of the Command.
The Controller pleaded that the enlightenment campaigns on smuggling activities should be intensified, as most of those who engage in smuggling never see it as a crime.
“Government closed its borders to encourage local farming, secure our National borders and to enable the neighbouring countries to obey the ECOWAS PROTOCOL ”
In his response, the Emir of Ilesha Baruba, Prof. Halidu Abubakar Derikureku IIII pledged to do whatever it takes to support the Controller to succeed, as smuggling is never a good thing to be encouraged.
At the Emir of Yashkira’s Palace, the Customs Area Controller emphasized that we cannot afford to rest on our oars particularly at this critical time of our national life as the myriad of irregular migration and trans-border crimes such as smuggling of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, drugs trafficking and terrorism among others must be tackled headlong and that was what informed the federal government to close borders.
He said the smuggled rice is not fit for human consumption, because it has been preserved with some chemicals for a number of months before finally imported into the country, hence harmful to our health due to the long duration spent on water before arriving the country.
The Emir of Yashkira, Umar Sarki Sabikpasi II responded that this is the first time a Controller of Customs visited his domain and sought for a program that will sensitize his community; he explained that Nigeria Customs Service is almost the heart of the Nation when it comes to revenue generation.
The Emir threw his weight behind border closure as most of smuggling activities taking place in his jurisdiction are being perpetrated by non-indigenes.
The next point of visit was Emir of Okuta’s Palace where the Customs Area Controller said he visited the Palace to strengthen the co-existing cordial relationship between the command, Emirate and the critical stakeholders and as well solicits for greater cooperation in terms of information gathering, sharing and also to bridge the communication gaps.
He reiterated that border closure was not to witch-hunt or obstructs any legal businesses of neither anybody nor any community but to encourage local farmers, control the inflow of arms and ammunition, illicit drugs and all other prohibited goods to the country.
He however, emphasized that synergy and collaboration amongst security agencies and traditional leaders cannot be overemphasized as no organization will work in isolation and succeed without the support of one another especially Traditional leaders.
The Controller also met with the youths of border community and called on them, to work together with security agencies domiciled in their areas to stamp out smuggling in the country, as it will boost production of locally produced goods and by extension generates more funds for government and the people and also provides employment to our teaming population.
There are a lot of businesses one can engage in instead of smuggling. Youth should engage in legitimate businesses.
Representative of the youths appealed that the Nigeria Customs Service should reconsider stoppage of fuel supply 20kms to border communities.
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