Customs bans import, export of all goods through land borders

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…as 10m litres of PMS saved from being smuggled out

Story by Seun Ibiyemi

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) said no item can be imported and exported through the nation’s land borders henceforth.

Customs Comptroller-General, Hameed Ali, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday. He said the measure would enable security agencies to be able to scan goods entering the country.

Ali said for now, goods can only enter the country through the air and seaports, where they can undergo thorough scanning and certified fit for consumption.

According to him, “We hope that by the time we get to the end of this exercise, we would have agreed with our neighbours on the type of goods that should enter and exit our country.

“For now, all goods, whether illicit or non-illicit, are banned from going and coming into Nigeria.

“Let me add that for the avoidance of doubt that we included all goods because all goods can equally come through our seaports.

“For that reason, we have deemed it necessary for now that importers of such goods should go through our controlled borders where we have scanners to verify the kind of goods and how healthy to our people can be conducted.”

He insisted that despite the rights for movement of persons, there must be a primacy of security over such rights.

Ali, who was asked whether the Federal Government had not breached the rights of the citizenry to movement and international trade, said “when it comes to security, all laws take back a seat”.

You must be alive we want our nation and people to be protected and well for you to begin to ask for your rights. Your rights come when you are well and alive.

“Go and take a look at the people in Maiduguri when Boko Haram was harassing their lives, the only question was survival, there is no question of right. This time Nigeria must survive first then before we begin to ask for our rights,” he stated.

He disclosed that the closure of the nation’s borders had saved 10.2 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), from being smuggled out.

Recall that the joint border security exercise, codenamed “Exercise Swift Response”, began operation on Aug, 20.

It was set up to tighten security around the nation’s borders, particularly the land and maritime borders, against trans-border security concerns.

The exercise is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), in the four zones of North-West, North-Central, South-West and South-South geopolitical zones.

“From the record available to me, the consumption of PMS in the country has reduced by 10.2 million litres since the border operation began.

“This means that this amount of fuel was being smuggled to the neighbouring countries before the exercise began.

“We are deploying every technology available to secure our borders, and inline with this, the president has graciously approved e-customs for the service,’’ he said.

According to him, e-customs means all customs tools will be driven by technology to manage the borders.

“Our men will remain at the borders for as long as it will take the neighbouring countries to adhere to ECOWAS protocols on transit.’’

Ali said that the development was not about the right of the citizenry but to secure and protect the lives of people by ensuring adequate security of Nigerian borders.

He reiterated that the current government would not compromise the security of the nation, “no matter what”.

 

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