Customs moves against trans-border crime

Meanwhile, the Seme Border Command of NCS has stepped up efforts to combat trans-border crime.
The command said this is in line with the Federal Government’s measures to ensure improved national security, especially at the border.

The command’s Area Comptroller, Willy Egbudin, led other security agencies operating at the border at the beginning of the campaign for trans-national border security.

He said: “The global travelling and trading system has, in recent times, been vulnerable to criminals and terrorist attacks. If left unchecked, it could adversely affect nations and global economic system.”

Egbudin described Seme as the busiest border in West Africa because of its strategic location between two major commercial cities – Lagos and Cotonou.

The NCS chief said the border also hosts a number of travellers and traders, adding: “The increase in legitimate trade and travels across the frontier comes with a lot of economic advantages. It is accompanied also by smuggling and other cross-border crimes. Therefore, in view of the foregoing, security agencies have been collaborating for a coordinated management.”

Egbudin said NCS’ counterpart in Benin Republic was also involved in the fight against trans-border crimes.

He traced such crimes to the mode of transport, saying: “We have been receiving reports of unsuspecting travellers being disposed of their valuables by some unscrupulous commercial motorcyclists. We have also got reports of cyclists who were dispossessed of their motorcycles by some criminals posing as passengers.”

The area comptroller regretted that some motorcyclists did not live to tell their stories because they were reportedly murdered by their “passengers”.

He said: “Investigation has also shown that these nefarious acts and other cross-border crimes are mostly committed at night.”

To tackle trans-border crimes, Egbudin said security agencies, in collaboration with the Association of Commercial Motorcyclists and Tricyclists decided to take proactive security measures at Seme border.

According to him, the activities in the area had been restricted to 6am to 10pm, even as he warned that violators of the directive would be prosecuted.

The measures, he stressed, became necessary because the nation was passing through security challenges.

Egbudin said the solution rested with all Nigerians to ensure that the precarious security situation was not exploited by those pretending to champion national development or those pretending to be human rights defenders.

The NCS chief, who urged Nigerians to unite to protect the nation, disclosed that the Seme command handled exports worth N4.9 billion in the first six months of this year.

Egbudin said goods exported within the period included plastics, furniture, fruits, drinks, mattresses, beer and slippers, among others.

He added that the total for Nigeria’s Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) was N24.5 million.
Egbudin noted that despite the challenges of the Atlantic and porous terrain of the command, it suppressed smuggling and related offences.

The NCS chief said the feat was recorded through increased enforcement, enlightenment of the border communities and educating the public on the dangers of smuggling.
He said 18 suspects were arrested within the period while their cases were being investigated or prosecuted, adding that the command also made 487 seizures with a duty paid value (DPV) of N196.2 million.

The Seme Command of the Service has also generated N963.7m revenue in September. Spokesman for the command, Mr Ernest Olottah disclosed that the revenue was N182m higher than the N781m generated in August.

He attributed the increase to higher trading activities and reduction of smuggling activities in the area.

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