Two years after the Nigeria Customs Service acquired two sea-going vessels for its Eastern and Western Marine commands, the vessels are yet to be commissioned to begin operation.
The vessels ‘Customs Pride’ and ‘Group of Nine’ were acquired in 2015 under the administration of the immediate past Comptroller General, DikkoAbdulahi to help curtail the activities of smugglers on the water ways.
The situation SHIPS & PORTS DAILY gathered may have dashed the hopes of trained marine officers who were looking forward to the early commissioning of the vessels to ease the inconvenience and the risks they have to go through chasing smugglers with less sophisticated and obsolete boats.
Briefing SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on the state of the vessels and why they have not been commissioned, Area Controller, Western Marine command, Comptroller Yusuf Umar said “they want to install gun on the top of the vessel, the moment it is installed, it will be commissioned.
He said although one of the vessels was involved in an accident, it has since been repaired and both vessels are anchored at the marina jetty pending when they would be commissioned by the Comptroller General.
Meanwhile, Comptroller Umar has said that there has been a reduction in the level of smuggling activities which he attributed to the current recession in the country.
He said because of the high exchange rate, importers are not willing to import let alone import and risk losing their goods by smuggling them.
“Recession affects everything in the economy including smuggling. If anybody tells you that recession has nothing to do with smuggling, then he doesn’t know what he is saying.
“Go to the border, you will find out that exchange rate is very high. So hardly will an importer go and buy anything there now and come back and sell to make profit; so that has reduced smuggling drastically,” he said.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.