The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, last Tuesday called for joint patrol with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to secure the nation’s maritime domain.
Ezeoba made the call when he paid a courtesy visit to Comptroller-General Customs Dikko Inde Abdullahi in his office at Customs Headquarters, Abuja.
“It is my belief that in the nearest future we will be able to extend our level of partnership by exercising joint patrols as appropriate within a clearly defined operational command and control structure,” Ezeoba said.
Ezeoba said the Nigerian Navy (NN) was constitutionally required to assist the NCS in the enforcement of Customs laws and regulations.
The Navy chief said that, within the context of the emerging challenges, the two organisations needed to “strike a chord of strategic partnership” to help discharge their duties effectively.
According to him, it was common knowledge that security agencies tend to exercise authority “within their comfort zone.”
He, however, cautioned that such practice did not augur well for synergy of efforts, and requested for training of Naval officers on items on the import prohibition list under the Nigeria Customs and Excise law.
The training, he noted, would afford Naval officers on patrol on the high seas to “know what to look out for, in what quantum and what defines other law infringements.”
Ezeoba, who commended Abdullahi for his ongoing reforms and transformation of the NCS, said that the Navy had a lot to learn from his experience.
Earlier, the Customs chief had pledged that the Service would continue to work closely with the Navy, particularly in the area of operations and training.
He said that both security agencies had enjoyed very “cordial and good relationship”.
Abdullahi said: “In most cases where we have had difficulties (in the waters) we have always called on the Navy for assistance.
“Most of the seizures that were made in Calabar, Port Harcourt and Lagos were made with the assistance of the Nigeria Navy.”
Describing Ezeoba’s visit as historic, Abdullahi said that it was the “first time” a serving Naval chief had paid a working visit to the Customs Headquarters.
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