As part of measures to sensitize border communities of dangers of smuggling to the Country, the Customs Area Controller, Kwara Command of Nigeria Customs Service, Compt. HB Ahmed has taken a tour of Emirate councils of Ilesha Baruba, Yashkira and Okuta axis of Baruten Local Government area of Kwara State.
In a press statement sent to DAILY TREND NEWS by the command Public Relations Officer, Chado Zakari, Compt Ahmed visited the Emir’s Palace of Ilesha Baruba where he acknowledged the critical role the traditional rulers can play especially in the areas of sensitization and enlightenment of their entire subjects, stakeholders and society at large.
He said “I am visiting the palace to formally inform the Emir that the Kwara Command has been given autonomy and to equally present myself to the Emir that I have been posted as the pioneer Customs area controller of Kwara Command”
The Controller pleaded that the enlightenment campaigns on smuggling activities should be intensified, as most of those who engage in smuggling never see it as a crime.
“Government closed its borders to encourage local farming, secure our National borders and to enable the neighboring countries to obey the ECOWAS protocol” he added In his response, the Emir of Ilesha Baruba, Prof. Halidu Abubakar Derikureku IIII pledged to do whatever it takes to support the Controller to succeed, as smuggling is never a good thing to be encouraged.
At the Emir of Yashkira’s Palace, the Customs Area Controller emphasized that “We cannot afford to rest on our oars particularly at this critical time of our National life as the myriad of irregular migration and trans-border crimes such as smuggling of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, drugs trafficking and terrorism among others must be tackled headlong and that was what informed the federal government to close it borders”
He said the smuggled rice is not fit for human consumption because it has been preserved with some chemicals for a number of months before finally imported into the country, hence harmful to human health due to the long duration spent on water before arriving the country.
The Emir of Yashkira, Umar Sarki Sabikpasi II responded that this is the first time a Controller of Customs visited his domain and sought for a program that will sensitize his community; he explained that Nigeria Customs Service is almost the heart of the nation when it comes to revenue generation.
The Emir threw his weight behind border closure as most of smuggling activities taking place in his jurisdiction is been perpetrated by non indigenes.
The next point of visit was Emir of Okuta’s Palace where the Customs Area Controller said he visited the Palace to strengthen the co-existing cordial relationship between the command, Emirate and the critical stakeholders and as well solicits for greater cooperation in terms of information gathering, sharing and also to bridge the communication gaps.
He reiterated that border closure was not to witch-hunt or obstructs any legal businesses of neither anybody nor any community but to encourage local farmers, control the inflow of arms and ammunition, illicit drugs and all other prohibited goods to the country.
He however, emphasized that synergy and collaboration amongst security agencies and traditional leaders cannot be overemphasized as no organization will work in isolation and succeed without the support of one another especially Traditional leaders.
The Controller also met with the youths of border communities and called on them to work together with security agencies domiciled in their areas to stamp out smuggling in the country, as it will boost production of locally produced goods and by extension generates more funds for government and the people and also provides employment to our teaming population.
“There are a lot of businesses one can engage in, instead of smuggling. Youth should engage in legitimate businesses” he said
Representative of the youths appealed that the Nigeria Customs Service should reconsider stoppage of fuel supply 20kms to border communities.
He called the attention of the Controller that the community has about 72 villages under Chikanda and the hardship will be too much for them to bear.
The Controller told the gathering that Nigeria Customs service is just an implementer of Federal Government policies and that the Community should channels their grievances through the appropriate quarters.
He confirmed that deliberation is still ongoing and he was confident government will definitely come up with a policy that will be beneficial to all and sundry.
Compt. Ahmed also met with all heads of security agencies managing the borders; DSS, Border Police, Immigration, NDLEA, NSCDC, Port health, Quarantine and Border drill operators.
The Controller concluded his visit by inspecting office accommodation donated to Okuta outstation of the Command by Federal Ministry of Works.