• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Reps tasks Customs on improved border security

Reps tasks Customs on improved border security

The House of Representatives has tasked the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) with improving security at land borders across the country.

Leke Abejide, the House committee chairman on customs and excise duties, made the call during the committee’s oversight function at the NCS headquarters on Wednesday in Abuja.

He acknowledged the efforts of the NCS in the interception of arms and ammunition, particularly in its recent operations in Lagos and Rivers states.

“These interceptions were not routine seizures. They potentially saved the lives of countless Nigerians and demonstrated the exceptional skills and dedication of your personnel in protecting our borders,” he said.

Read also: Customs generates N1.23trn in Apapa amid decline in trade volume

The NCS recently seized 844 riffles and 112,500 rounds of ammunition in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Murtala Muhammed, the Customs area command, Ikeja, seized 55 pieces of unassembled Jojef Magnum semi-automatic short guns.

The chairman, however, urged the service not to be complacent with the outcomes, as the seized items were an indication that the country was facing enormous challenges and required more security at its borders.

“Every weapon and illicit item seized is a victory, but every attempt to smuggle them into Nigeria is a call to redouble our efforts,” he said.

According to the chairman, the committee will undertake a thorough investigation into all illegal activities taking place within bonded terminals, and free trade zones across the country.

“Our objective is to bring sanity and order to these areas, ensuring they operate within the confines of the law and contribute positively to the nation’s growth,” he said.

Abejide explained that the move was necessary to eliminate illegal businesses and activities that threaten national security and economic stability in those areas.

He said that the committee was advocating for the progress of the e-customs modernisation project, and urged the service to address issues of network outages to ensure a smooth transition.

The chairman assured the NCS of the committee’s support in addressing its challenges, saying that continuous investment in resources, technology, and manpower was crucial to ensure greater success.

Earlier, Adewale Adeniyi, the comptroller-general of Customs, acknowledged the importance of legislative oversight in ensuring efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the implementation of operations and projects within the service.

Read also: How Customs intercepted rifles, ammunition, drugs at Onne Port – CG

Adeniyi said that their insights and guidance were crucial in helping NCS improve its services for the progress of the country.

“You help us to better facilitate trade and to secure our borders while collecting revenues that are very vital to our economy,” he said.

He assured the committee that NCS was committed to continuous improvement and innovation in all aspects of its services and project implementation.

According to the customs boss, feedback and recommendations from the legislature are crucial to enable them to streamline their processes, improve efficiency, and uphold the highest standards of integrity and service.

He said that Customs was determined to instill discipline among its personnel in the discharge of duties, and had taken disciplinary action against those found wanting, to serve as a deterrent to others.

Also speaking, Caroline Niagwan, the deputy comptroller-general in charge of tariff and trade, said that the service was working assiduously to meet its annual revenue target of N5.1 trillion.

She said the service had collected N2.74 trillion as revenue in the first half of 2024, surpassing the expected revenue target of N2.54 trillion for the same period.