As part of efforts to solve the challenges of accommodation confronting operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the southwest zonal office of the service on Thursday commissioned 21 blocks of two bedrooms flat in Okokomaiko, Lagos.
According to the Zonal Coordinator, Assistant Controller of Customs, Katrene Ekekezie, the project was part of the Controller-General’s three-point agenda of reform, restructure, and promotion.
She added that the new accommodation is a morale boost for officers in the fight against smuggling.
Ekekezie said, “We are here to commission this lovely edifice that is meant for our officers.
“The CGC is very much aware that to get the best out of your officers, you have to house them so that the high rent people are experiencing will not affect their capability in discharging their duty.
“For now, the perimeter fence is yet to be done but soonest it will be upgraded and a strong gate attached so our officers can man it.
“For some time now, our officers have been sleeping in the office and one of the reasons for this, is lack of accommodation.
“Zone A alone houses more than three-quarters of the total workforce of the service, so we need more of this.”
The customs boss noted that siting the accommodation in such community was to get closer to the people to reduce smuggling, as Okokomaiko serves as a smuggling route.
“This will send a strong signal to them (smugglers) that now, we are living with you, just watch your back,” she said.
Meanwhile, the NCS Federal Operations Unit Zone D, Bauchi, has seized contraband goodworth N156.61 million so far in 2018.
The unit’s Controller, Peters Olugboyega, made the disclosure at a news conference in Bauchi on Thursday.
He said the value of the seizure represents an increase of N55 million compared to the seizures made in 2017.
He noted that from January to December 2018, the unit made seizures ranging from smuggled foreign rice, foreign soap and second-hand clothes.
According to him, other seizures are spaghetti and hard drugs.
Olugboyega said that the seizures were made in spite of low economic activities caused by insurgency.
The controller said that a recent seizure of a used Mercedes Benz truck with Reg. No. ABJ 250 XA was made on Nov. 21 by officers of the Unit based on credible information.
He said the suspected Benz truck, carrying contraband, was involved in an accident near a military check point on Kano-Bauchi Road.
Olugboyega said the operatives liaised with the military personnel to evacuate the goods and towed the accident vehicle to the Customs House in Bauchi.
“Upon physical examination, it was discovered to contain 179 bags of 50kg foreign rice with total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N6.62 million, classified under Chapter 1006 of Common External Tariff (CET), concealed in grain’s jumbo sacks,” he said.
Olugboyega said on December 3, the unit also made another seizure of one used Citroen (J5) bus with registration number KMC 855 XB.
He added that the Citroen (J5) bus was conveying 100 bags of foreign rice classified under 1006 of CET with the total DPV of N2,520,000
“Again the unit on Nov. 30, made another seizure of 130 bags of foreign rice classified under 1006 of CET that were re-bagged in Nigerian Lake Rice sacks with total DPV of N1,872,000.
“Also, on Nov. 24, the Unit made a seizure of 100 cartons of Eva soap classified under 3401 of CET with DPV of N1,800,000.
“The total DPV for the three seizures is N12,819,600, ” he said.