Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Assistant Comptroller General of Customs (ACG) Charles Edike has called for stronger ties and continued support from the Nigerian Navy to improve its anti-smuggling operation at sea.
Edike made the call yesterday when he received the newly appointed Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
Edike stated that with Nigeria’s vast coastline, it would be impossible for Customs officers to effectively tackle smuggling on the waterways alone without the support of the Navy.
He said the existing collaboration with the navy has led to numerous seizure of contraband items but called for more support to enable it achieve its mandate on national security.
“We are also asking that you do more for us because there is no how we can man all the coastline in the country effectively. Even if you bring all customs officer in Nigeria to man the coastline, we still cannot cover all effectively because there are thousands of creeks here and there that the smugglers know the terrain and so they can easily maneuver and then get away.
“It is with your support and cooperation that we can effectively handle smuggling through the waters and do more than we are doing now,” he said.
Edike also plead with the navy to assist customs in stopping midstream discharge of cargoes.
“There is limit to which our boats can go to the sea but you can go far into the sea. So when you see these vessels doing midstream discharge, please arrest them and bring them to us,”he said.
Earlier, Bobai said his visit to the zonal headquarters was to build on the existing relationship between Customs and the Navy and to declare his readiness to work together with the Zone to deliver on its mandate.
He said one of the responsibilities of the Navy is to assist customs in its duties especially on anti smuggling operation at sea.
“Having assumed command as the flag officer commanding, I felt it was very appropriate for me to come and see you and your officers so that we can deepen the already existing cooperation between the navy and the customs.
“Since the customs cannot go alone to police all the creeks, we will come in to fill the gap because it is our responsibility as navy to help customs enforce their laws at sea,” he said.
Bobai also solicited the support of the Customs towards the forthcoming 60th diamond jubilee celebration of the Navy scheduled to hold between May 18 and June 1.
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