Mr Adewale Adeniyi, Acting Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), wants enhanced collaboration with the Nigerian Army in real operational activities, to tackle trans-border security threats.
Adeniyi made the request when he led the management team of NSC, on a courtesy visit on the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, on Monday in Abuja.
He said the NCS had maintained a cordial relationship with the army in many areas such as training, distribution of relief materials, among others, adding that the current security situation across Nigeria’s borders required deeper collaboration.
According to Adeniyi, apart from the revenue collection role of the NCS, the service also performs other responsibilities, which include, but not limited to fighting smuggling and facilitating trade.
He further listed other areas as; collaboration with other agencies of government to enhance public safety, public order, and forestalling breakdown of law and order.
He said the service however, needed to draw on the strength of other agencies to present a formidable force against enemies of the state, as the nature and complexity of crimes had taken different dimensions over the years.
“If you talk about cross-border crimes for instance, what we have been dealing with over the years is smuggling of prohibited items, contrabands and things like that.
“In the last 10 years, the dynamics of these crimes have changed significantly, and now we have terrorists operating on either side of our borders.
“They have impact, not just on our border communities ,but also on agents and officials of law enforcement agencies.
“Drugs traffickers have continued to use our borders to bring in narcotics that drive the evil agenda of other criminals, those who bring in arms and ammunition in violation of the laws.
“So we therefore, find ourselves perpetually in the situation where we stand stronger when we work together and collaborate with other agencies of government,” he said.
According to him also, customs officers and men often come under attacks from smugglers.
He added that the criminals seemed to have taken their strength for granted because they believed that they could easily overrun them along the border stations and communities.
Adeniyi said there was need to begin to expose the officers to joint training operations with the Nigerian Army, and building scenarios that were available in the border areas.
He also requested for the support of the army in the distribution of relief items that were forfeited to Internally Displaced Persons orphanages, and places where the poorest of the poor Nigerians lived.
According to him, the partnership, in logistics support, as well as provision of security, will boost success of the programme.
Responding, Lagbaja, said the Nigerian Army and the NSC had a long history of collaboration, adding that they could further expand the frontiers of such partnerships.
The COAS commended the NCS for its cooperation with the army in the clearance of military platforms imported into the country.
He added that the platform had gone a long way in giving the formations and units in the field flexibility and operational effectiveness.
On the possible area of collaboration, the COAS said that army would ensure focus on border areas, to show presence and deter criminals that might want to smuggle contraband into the country.
He urged the customs boas to grant approval for the repair of the NCS Jetty in Cross River, which he said had become somewhat detached from the body of water. (NAN)