In a renewed effort to fight smuggling on Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Western Marine Command, Lagos, said yesterday that it would soon launch an “offensive” against smugglers on the route.
The Area Controller, Mr Zakka Audu, said new measures were being put in place to checkmate the nefarious activities of the smugglers.
“The most challenging thing that the officers face during operations, especially along the Badagry-Benin Republic international route, is the audacity of the smugglers.
“They carry out their acts in spite of measures to stop them,” he told reporters in Lagos.
According to Audu, the smugglers had become so deadly that they do not mind to kill to have their way. “They can kill for insignificant amount of money. They do not care as long as they have their way. The command is up to the task of battling the smugglers with its might from the different collaborative efforts. Our synergy with our custom’s command in Seme and the anti-smuggling squad of the Comptroller-General of Customs has been helpful. We also collaborate with the Ogun State Command and our colleagues in neighbouring Benin Republic to battle smuggling,” he said.
Audu said the collaborative efforts paid off in October when the command seized 950 cartons of frozen poultry products and 302 bags of rice worth N9.5 million in duty paid value.
“We have been dynamic with our measures and this seizure of 950 cartons of frozen poultry is the biggest in a long time. We will continue to seize them as much as long as they are bent on continuing with their activities,” he said.
In addition, Audu said, the command had begun enlightenment campaigns in border communities to educate the people on the effects of smuggling on the nation’s economy.
“Like the carrot and stick game, we also do public enlightenment in the communities besides the physical deterrent measures. These efforts include talking to the traditional heads of the communities (Baales) to educate the people on the consequences of smuggling on the country’s economy,” he said.
Audu said that a lot could be achieved in the fight against smuggling if the media contributed at least 40 per cent to the awareness campaigns.
The Western Marine command with its headquarters in Lagos covers coastal areas of Igbokoda in Ondo State, Kebbi in Kebbi State and Yekeme, Badagry and Idiroko, all in the South-West.
The command also has two base patrol stations.