The Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adeniyi has warned his officers against letting their guards down at Benin Republic, Cameron and other borders following Nigeria-Niger border closure.
Adeniyi also directed his officers not allow any goods through the border into the Niger Republic.
Nigeria had shut its land borders with Niger Republic as part of measures against the military junta in the west African country.
The Customs boss noted criminals in an attempt to break or smuggle arms into Niger Republic may explore other land borders like that of Benin Republic and Cameroon.
He said this on Sunday while addressing officers and men of the NCS during his working visit to the headquarters of the Ogun Area 1 Command of the NCS at Idiroko, Ogun State.
He said implementation of the Nigeria-Niger border closure “is 100 percent.”
He called on customs operatives manning borders to be 100 percent at alert and vigilant, and wage war against any attempt to jeopardise the national security.
Adeniyi said “We are all aware of the situation in our northern neighbor, Republic of Niger. In response to the national presidential directive from our President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Bola Tinubu, as our president and as the Chairman of the ECOWAS authorities of heads of states, we are monitoring the situation in Niger closely and one of the decisions taken in the wisdoms of the heads of state is the closure of our borders with Niger.
“Over the last week, I paid a working visit to some of those borders and I can assure you that the implementation of that measure there is 100%. And when that happens, people, who want to smuggle things into that country, may want to explore openings in other borders. This is why it is important for you to be very, very vigilant. Anywhere we have borders, there could be compromise and there could be attempts to use routes that are not necessarily normal for them to cross things into Niger. All transit goods going into Niger for now are to be stopped anywhere you see them.
“Any transit goods through the Nigeria customs territory should be stopped if they are headed to Niger Republic. And this is also a time for us to remain very, very vigilant. Because the enemies of the state are still at work. Those who are bent in destabilizing the country, they are still at work.
“You recall the incidents of about two weeks ago, when some elements smuggled ammunition across, using some of the plans we have here. So this is therefore a reminder that you cannot afford to relax at any point in time. Your level of vigilance and the level of alertness must be 100 percent. You must be ready all the time. You must cultivate very, very credible and useful intelligence from amongst the community that you live. And you must learn to synergize and cooperate with other agencies who are working together with you to enhance national security.”
Adeniyi who also met with heads of other security agencies and security chiefs from Benin Republic, called for a collaboration to fight against criminals in both countries.
He said while President Bola Tinubu and his Benin Republic counterpart, Patrice Talon are forming billateral agreement on economic and security, security chiefs from both countries should also form a synergy towards implementation of the policies.
“As agencies, we should show readiness to work together and fight criminals in both countries,” he said.
The CG also called for a collaboration and synergy among others security agencies in Nigeria in order to achieve the mandate of national security.
The customs boss, during the visit, paid homage to the Onipokia of Ipokia, Oba Yisa Olaniyan; the Oniko of Ikolaje, Oba John Ojo and other monarchs in Ipokia Local Government.
Speaking at Oniko’s palace, Adeniyi hinted that the NCS would seek a review of the fuel supply ban to the border communities following the removal of fuel subsidy.
Oba Ojo had lamented suffering of his subjects due to the lingering ban on fuel supply to border towns that fall within 20km radius.
He said a litre of fuel is currently being sold for N1,000 per litre.
The Monarch also expressed concern over killing of innocent citizens during customs and smugglers clashes as well indiscriminate check points on the road.
Responding, Adeniyi said “This directive was given by the Office of the National Security Adviser. It was given before the removal of subsidy. So, now that subsidy has been removed, there should be the need for a review of that policy. I can assure the community that will make appropriate recommendation and request a review of the policy and make recommendations known.
“I am optimistic that we are going to have some positive review,” the Acting CG said.
In his welcome address, the Area Controller, Bamidele Makinde applauded the Acting CG for the visit, saying the it served as a morale booster and enhance the performances of the officers.
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