By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Coordinator Joint Border Operations in charge of North Central Zone, Ilorin Sector 3, Compt. Mohammed Uba Garba
has warned residents of border communities against aiding and abetting of smuggling.
Compt. Mohammed Uba Garba made this call during his visit to some border communities in Kwara state to assess issues raised by the Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Salihu Yakubu Danladi.
The Comptroller according to statement issued by Public Relations Officer, Kwara Customs Command, Zakari Chado visited Alapa, Ilesha-Baruba, Yashkira, Chikanda and Okuta axis of Baruten Local Government area of Kwara State.
The Coordinator explained that all security operatives involved in this National Assignment are backed by the Customs and excise Management act (CEMA) Section 158, 147 and 167 which says 158- give power to patrol freely but warned against one man patrol, Section- 147 give power to search and raid any premises suspected to be housed with smuggling goods.
Uba Garba also gave the go ahead to identify such warehouses for raid; while section 167 gives power to detain and effect seizures and calls for prompt reporting of any incident for immediate action.
He advised officials to work together with the host communities, respect their culture in order to stamp out smuggling in the country, as it will boost production of locally produce goods and by extension generates more funds for the government, the people and also provide employment to our teaming population.
The Coordinator however urged the security agencies to work hand in gloves to achieve this aim, reminding them the implications of Section 177 of CEMA, two (2) years jail term for aiding and abetting of smuggling.
At the Emir’s Palace of Yashkira, Compt. Mohammed Uba Garba said he acknowledged the critical role the traditional institutions/rulers can play especially in the areas of sensitization and enlightenment of their subjects, relevant Stakeholders and society at large.
He however, emphasized that synergy and collaboration amongst security agencies and traditional leaders cannot be overemphasized as no organization will work in isolation.
The Emir of Yashkira, Umar Sarki Sabikpasi II in his response said Nigeria Customs Service is almost the heart of the Nation when it comes to revenue generation and threw his weight behind border closure, as most of smuggling activities taking place in his jurisdiction is being perpetrated by non indigenes.
The Sector Coordinator also held a town hall meeting with the youths, Elders, Local Government Authority, IPMAN and other critical stakeholders of Border communities of the local Government.
The tour of Sector Coordinator is expected to continue with the sensitization program to other communities in Kiama in Kwara; Wawa/ Babanna of Niger State and Ogoja/Adipo axis of Benue State.