Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Dikko Abdulahi has said that the two sea going vessels purchased by the Service would empower it to properly curtail the activities of smugglers on the nation’s waterways.
Abdulahi who stated this while inspecting the vessels at Marina, Lagos yesterday said with the acquisition of the vessels, marine officers will no longer have excuse for not being able to arrest smugglers on waters.
“Of course, they (marine officers) have no excuse again, if they do not arrest smugglers with these vessels, then it means they are the smugglers,” he said.
The new vessels, which were christened ‘Customs Pride’ and ‘Group of Nine’ in honour of nine marine officers who died in battle with smugglers in 2012, were the first ever purchased by the NCS.
Abdulahi commended the federal government for deeming it fit to empower Customs in its fight against smuggling even as he explained that it was part of the six point agenda of the NCS to always provide the needed logistics for optimum performance.
“This is part of the transformation agenda of the President. It is part of our six point agenda. We have to do whatever is needful to make sure that we excel and this is part of the equipment we need to perform our duties, so having it is an idea conceived and achieved,” he said.
Although the customs boss did not disclose the cost of the two vessels, he said government spent “huge sum” to purchase them.
The newly acquired vessels are fitted with integrated computer-based equipment including in-built radar, wind vein, electronic chart and speed capacity.
Abdullahi also visited some major commands in Lagos where he admonished senior officers to ensure all revenue loopholes are blocked to make up for the shortfall recorded in the first quarter of the year which he said was as a result of the last concluded general elections.
“Apart from coming to inspect these vessels, I have gone through my commands and informed them that we have to recover the shortfall we had in the past weeks and make sure that we meet the expectation of our target and I am sure we will meet up.
“From the beginning, we have calculated that in certain period of time, we are going to lose some amount of money so from the beginning, we decided to start blocking the revenue leakages to make sure that we make up the with the figure in case we have a shortfall.
“We have just concluded the general election and Customs was part of the security agencies that performed in that election. The reason why they were part of the election was based on trust so they have to show that exemplary behaviour on revenue so that when the new government will come, it will know that they are doing their best and they can key into the new government as they were in the last government,” he said.
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