The Nigeria Customs Service has taken delivery of a new scanning machine donated by the European Union (EU) at the ECOWAS Joint Border Post at Seme Border.
Conducting journalists round the border during a media briefing on Tuesday, Customs Area Controller in charge of Seme Command, Comptroller Muhammed Uba explained that customs officers have been trained on how to operate the machine.
He however said the scanner is still under test run. When fully operational, Compt Uba said the scanner would help facilitate trade and clearance of goods through the border post.
According to him, the scanner serves both the Nigeria Customs service as well as the Benin Customs. He disclosed that the machines would be maintained by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for a period of two years, after which it’s maintainance would be done by the joint committee of Nigeria and Benin Customs.
The Committee is headed by Compt Uba of Nigeria Customs while his Benin Republic counterpart is the co-chair.
He said Customs officers of both countries have been trained on how to read images from the scanner, stating that any truck with images not so clear would be subjected to 100% examination.
Meanwhile, Compt Uba has said that the service generated a total of N2.7billion in revenue and seizures between the month of March and May, 2019.
“Officers have been trained both Benin and Nigeria Customs Service along with other agencies who are on the stage in the cargo clearance process. The scanner is bought by the European Union for both Nigeria and Benin. All types of trucks will be passing through the scanner and officers who have been trained will read the images and whatever is inside the truck, the officer will know. In any case where the image is not clear, the truck will be subjected to 100 percent physical examination.
“The scanner is one of the tools for improving border operation. It is on test- run and would commence operation soon.The European Union has been partners in the development of third world countries. In African, we have 80 of this type of border post,” he said.
He said the intensified operation of the enforcement unit of the command has drastically reduced smuggling activities to the barest minimum.
Giving a break down of the seized items, he said they include 14 trailers of foreign rice, 13 vehicles and 2,268 parcels of Cannabis Sativa.
Others are 31 Jerrycans of vegetable oil, 35 bags of sugar, 138litres of petrol, 336 cartons of alcoholic drinks and 71 cartons of food seasoning, 175 bales of textiles, 15 sacks of used clothing, 410 sacks of school bags, 2000 cartons of expired biscuits including a truck load of 493 packs of baby diapers.
Uba also said that the command between April and May donated 25,000 bags of rice equivalent to 42 trailers, 150 cartons of tin tomatoes, 150 bags of flour, 250 kegs of vegetable oil to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
He explained that the items were given to the Nigerian Army Corps of Supply & Transport for onward delivery to Yobe State government for distribution to the IDPs.
Comptroller Uba stated that six suspects were arrested during the period under review.