To effectively curtail smuggling activities through the nation’s waterways, the federal government has approved the purchase of new marine boats and seagoing vessels for the Nigeria Customs Service.
Customs Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, Comptroller Isa Nuhu, made the disclosure while addressing newsmen in Lagos last Wednesday.
He said that the customs management has already placed order for the boats which in no time will be deployed to the Western marine command.
The command which has within its jurisdiction waters in the western parts of the country up to Ondo State, Kebbi State and the River Niger according to Nuhu has not been able to effectively control smuggling on the waterways due to the dilapidated conditions of the boats it’s currently working with.
“When you talk of waterways, it is a specialized area because you need marine boats and sea faring vessels in order to be able to tackle the waterways and I am very much aware that the Service having realized that immediately took record of all the marine boats and seagoing vessels and discovered that they are all obsolete. And they have decided to make case for complete supply of new ones”
“You know these things are capital intensive, it has to go to the Federal Executive Council which I know that the management has succeeded in getting approval from the federal government to purchase new boats and new vessels and I am equally aware that orders have been placed so all we are concerned now is when they will be delivered”, he said.
Nuhu described as obsolete the command’s operational boats noting that noting that if the command had been better equipped with sea going vessels, rice smuggling will not be so rampant.
“Some of this rice is mostly brought in by big vessels. When they arrive, they stay on the high sea and they use small boats to carry and take them to remote areas or straight to the market. If you want us to go to the high sea now to confront smuggling, we cannot because one of the seagoing vessels, Henry duke is dead” he said.
He however maintained that the unit has been synergizing with the command where necessary within its limited resources.
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