The Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), has called for collaboration with the police and other law enforcement agencies in tackling the incessant activities of smugglers.
Umar made the call when he visited the Zone 2 Command of the Nigerian Police, Onikan, Lagos, on Monday.
He said that such collaborative effort with the police and the other law enforcement agencies would reduce the scourge to the barest minimum.
He said the collaboration would help to fight smuggling to a standstill since smugglers had refused to see their activities as an illegal act that was detrimental to the nation’s economy.
He added that the visit would also help to revitalise the partnership with the police and show gratitude for working with them in the past.
“We have decided to come for this courtesy call to thank you and the entire members of the police force.
“In every community you find yourself in, there will be a policeman there, because police is the closet to the community.
“The only person the Nigerian Customs Service gets close to in any community is the police, so, this relationship of customs and the police did not start yesterday.
“From the beginning, all officers of customs have a mandatory training of one year by the police before joining the customs.
“Now the policemen also do the work of a custom officer, and also there are some duties of the policemen that the customs can also carry out,” he said.
The custom boss said that the synergy, partnership and cooperation would strengthen the fight against crime in the country, especially smuggling and be of benefit to the public.
“For every point of entry into the country, if the customs arrest people with firearms, they will eventually be handed over to the police for proper documentation and prosecution,” he said.
He added that smugglers had seen their illicit act as a means of livelihood and were not planning to desist from it.
“These smugglers have sophisticated weapons, they even see some of the law enforcement agencies stopping them as stopping their means of livelihood, and they do not see smuggling as a crime.
“The smugglers have become so desperate and they are fully armed, if we get assistance from the police, we will discharge our duties responsibly and definitely checkmate them.
“Their firearms at times is more heavy than that of the customs, that is why we have come to the police to intensify our partnership with them and to tell them that we need their assistance.
“AIG Bala Hassan knows that no law enforcement agency could do it alone to effectively checkmate civil crimes and smuggling,” he said.
He urged the public to ensure they were involved in legitimate trade.
“Every smuggler knows what smuggling is now; it is bringing in what the government has prohibited.
“The government knows why it had placed a ban on smuggling; it is because it cripples the economy of a country.
“We expect everyone to respect this opinion of the government,” he said.
Umar also commended the AIG for the reduction of crime in the zone.
“I am not surprised because with your vast knowledge about crime control and your qualifications, you have given the Nigeria Police a new image.
“No doubt this zone has the lowest crime rate in the country,” he said.
Responding, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Zone 2, Bala Hassan, assured the customs boss of their continued partnership with them.
He added that all law enforcement agencies would work together to ensure that smuggling was checked.
He urged the public to help to curb the act by giving useful information to the right agencies.
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