EFCC to partner Customs against tobacco smuggling

Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, on Tuesday, promised to exploit the commission’s relationship with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), to forge a common front in intercepting and curbing illegal importation of tobacco into the country.

Lamorde, who made the promise when the Managing Director, British America Tobacco Company, Chris McAllister, led members of his management team on a courtesy visit to the commission, assured the tobacco company of EFCC’s readiness to fight illegal importation of tobacco into the country.

“If we have an idea of how some of these cigarettes are being smuggled into the country, we can work with you and even bring in Customs, because they are the ones at the entry points and border posts,” Lamorde said.

According to him, it is in the nation’s economic interest to assist BAT as the company had helped in creating jobs and boosting government revenue earnings.

Earlier, McAllister had said he was at the commission to solicit support in tracking of illicit traffickers of tobacco in Nigeria.

He emphasised the contribution of the sector to the nation’s economy, saying “before we came into the market, over 80 per cent of the market was dominated by illicit trade.

“But, through our memorandum of understanding with the government, we have cut it down to 20 per cent and the result is that we now generate N20 billion in tax revenue to the government”.

The two organisations resolved to prepare a memorandum of understanding that would govern their relations in the coming months.