Customs to deploy drones at Seme border to check smuggling

Seme gets $4.5bn ECOWAS border post


The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it will soon deploy drones at the Seme border to check smuggling activities.

The Coordinator of Customs Zone A, Lagos, Assistant Comptroller-General Modupe Aremu, disclosed this on Monday, during a visit to the Seme Area Command.

According to her, border management surveillance will be done electronically through the use of drones to ensure that there is aerial overview of the border.

“Seme command visit is the end of my tour in zone A, and I must commend all the commands. They account for over 80 percent revenue collection by the NCS and so they should keep up the good work.

“With the tour of all commands, I have seen that all the officers are doing well but they can do better. And I am telling them that they should expect impromptu visits from the zonal coordinator. So, they should not relax on the job.

“Also, e-customs N300 billion contract, that is, end-to-end automation that is about to kick-off, is about information and communication technology connectivity. When it comes on board, we are going to have electronic signature, drones patrolling the border, Aremu said.

She said the service is trying to minimise person-to-person contact to reduce human interaction and make the work faster and more efficient.

Aremu asked Customs officers to keep abreast of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol in order to understand procedures.

On enforcement activities, she urged the command to keep up the work done as the country needs the service to properly secure its borders.

She expressed hope that the scanner at the border would start functioning to help simplify processes as much as possible.

She also asked the command to ensure proper compilation of case files and prosecution of arrested suspects to show the seriousness of the service in fighting smuggling.

The Customs Area Controller, Seme Area Command, Bello Jibo, said enforcement activities were not affected by the border closure as the command intercepted 1,244 suspected smuggled goods with duty paid value of over N856 million.

He also highlighted areas of collaboration between the NCS and the host community.

“The command has a very good understanding with the host community and in cementing this relationship. The command built and handed over a modern toilet facility to the Badagry West Development Area and partnered with an NGO to equip the Badagry United Football Club.

“The challenges faced has to do with ICT interconnectivity at the joint border patrol, signing of bilateral agreement, connection of the barracks to the national grid, and inadequate junior staff,” he said.

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