Lagos- The new controller of the Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Mohammed Ndalati, on Friday declared zero tolerance for smuggling activities at the border area.
This is contained in a statement made available to newsmen on Friday in Lagos by the Public Relations Officer of the Command, Mr Ernest Olottah.
Ndalati promised to harness all available resources to drive home his anti-smuggling goals and ensure that change was embraced.
“I will harness all available human and material resources for customs operations while bracing up to the realities of the peculiar nature of Seme Command.
“This is the time of change, we must imbibe change. We must exhibit it and show that we are change agents.
“Manning the border must include behavioural management of persons,’’ the controller said.
He also promised to ensure that all revenues due the government were collected in spite of the challenges around the border area.
“Constraints will not deter the command from delivering on its responsibilities of revenue collection, fight against smuggling and facilitation of legitimate trade,” he said.
Ndalati commended the Comptroller- General of Customs, Alahaji Dikko Abdullahi for his human capacity initiatives which had brought about a modernised and improved status for the service.
“It is no longer the branded outdated and antiquated Customs and Excise Department we used to know. In other words, professionalism is enhanced and encouraged under the present regime.”
The controller solicited the support and cooperation of all stakeholders and advised importers and agents to keep abreast of government’s policies relating to import guidelines.
He also urged importers and agents to comply with the Customs and Excise Management Act (amended).
According to him, all those who comply with the order will have nothing to worry about while dealing with the customs.
He however, vowed to match seizures with suspects as a way of fighting smuggling.
According to him, this strategy will ensure that perpetrators of smuggling activities are imprisoned when arrested and prosecuted.
The controller advised those considering smuggling to desist from attempting to do so.
According to him, all businessmen and companies compliant with the extant order have nothing to fear or worry about when relating with customs.
He thanked his predecessor, Comptroller Willy Egbudin, describing him as a hardworking and dedicated officer.
Ndalati said he would build on the good works he met on ground.
He commended the Comptroller- General of Customs for his foresight in building the capacity of personnel of the service.
The controller said the service had been modernised to provide all-round quality service.
“My predecessor said that the officers and men on the ground are very resourceful persons and I count on that. I solicit their maximum cooperation and optimal input in every endeavour, ’’ he said.
Ndalati solicited the support of officers and men of the command to enable him succeed in the task of managing the command.
He noted the need for the command, not just to be concerned about managing goods transiting the border, but also to pay attention to effective control of the people.
The controller said his administration would function under an atmosphere of peace and ensure that there was no negative incident in its operation.
According to the statement, Ndalati enlisted in the customs service in 1981 as Superintendent Collector II.
It said the controller had attended training programmes both nationally and internationally and had served in several commands across the country.
The statement said, “Until his recent posting to Seme Area Command, he served as the Comptroller, Headquarters, in the office of the Comptroller General of the Service.’’ (NAN)