By Mustapha Sumaila
Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), says the service will do everything possible to prevent and reduce smuggling of illicit items through the borders.
Ali stated this at the graduation of the Junior and Senior courses of Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada in Abuja on Friday.
He explained that the government decided to open the entrances and see how best the borders could be managed with a view to prevent smuggling of illegal goods and enhance revenue generation.
“About the re-opening of some borders, customs cannot be everywhere, even now that the service has joint operations, involving the relevant agencies, people still smuggle goods through illicit means out and into the country.
“So, the issue of completely putting an end to smuggling is unlikely. What the service and other agencies are doing right now, is how to reduce the ugly trend to its barest minimum, and we will continue to work on that.
“The reason why we decided to open the entrances is to see how we can manage it and see how effective it can be.
“While we are doing that, we must also ensure that the illicit smuggled goods do not find their way into the country.
“So, we will continue to do that but we need Nigerians to key into it and buy the idea that information is key for the service and other relevant agencies to carry out their mandates effectively,” he said.
The customs boss appealed to border communities to work with the service to bring the menace to an end otherwise it would be difficult for the service and other agencies.
Meanwhile, Ali urged the graduands to reflect what they have learnt during the courses in their character to ultimately boost the operations of the service.
He reminded them that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was now key in the service because of the just approved e-customs projects.
Ali added that anybody not in tune with the ICT reality would have no business with the service in 2023.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 80 students, drawn from both senior and junior courses completed their six months and three months training courses respectively in various fields. (NAN)