By Usman Aliyu
Kosubosu (Kwara) – The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says smugglers have devised new means of carrying out their illegal activities inspite of the partial closure of borders.
Mr Mohammed Garba, the Coordinator of the Joint Border Drill Operations, North Central Zone, stated this on Tuesday while addressing officers at a sensitisation programme in border communities in the zone.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the zone covers Kwara, Niger, Kogi and Benue.
Garba, a Comptroller of Customs, revealed that smugglers now use bushpaths, motorcycles and camels to carry out their illegal activities.
The coordinator, who decried the attitude of the diehard smugglers inspite of the border closure, however, vowed that officers would not relent in the fight against smuggling.
Speaking at the palace of the emirs in the zone, the coordinator appealed to the community to embrace legitimate means of livelihood and to avoid smuggling.
According to him, the current operation, ‘Swift Response,’ is battle ready to check all the new tricks by smugglers.
The coordinator also announced that the movement of vehicles and boats used for transportation of petroleum products across land borders and water ways within 20 kilometres radius had been restricted.
He said that anyone caught violating the order would be prosecuted.
“We cannot continue to fold our arms and allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to enter into our country.
“The uncontrolled migration hinders the government from having proper statistics and data for her national development.
“Trans-border crimes such as smuggling of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, drug trafficking and terrorism are among other security challenges that have to be checked.
“Before the border closure, the crime rate was becoming unbearable and drug usage was becoming a way of life among our teaming youths.
” That might be part of the reasons that informed the Federal Government’s decision to partially close its borders, ” he said.
He explained that the border closure was also aimed at encouraging local farmers to boost production, control the inflow of arms and ammunition as well as stop illicit drug flow and other prohibited goods.
In his response, the District Head of Babanna in Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara, Alhaji Isah Yerima, said that the security situation in the community had improved since the border closure.
Yerima, who pledged the community’s assistance to security agencies, also promised to enlighten the residents on the benefits of the border closure and dangers of smuggling.