7 Months After, Nigeria Customs Count Gains of Border Closure, Arrest 697 Illegal Migrants, Seizes N7.4bn Contraband 

Seven months into the ongoing border closure, codenamed ‘Exercise SWIFT Response’, the Nigeria Customs Service has said that the exercise has continued to yield positive results.

The service said yesterday that it has arrested about 697 illegal immigrants and seized contraband goods worth N7.4bn.

The Comptroller General, NCS, Hameed Ali, (retd), said this in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr Joseph Attah. Ali said the border closure had saved the country huge resources and enhanced national security.

The importation of drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons which usually fuelled terrorism and other forms of criminality in the country have been considerably curtailed, the Customs boss also said.

He noted that the agricultural sector had also received a boost due to the restriction placed on the importation of rice and other prohibited food items.

He said, “The Office of the National Security Adviser which is coordinating the exercise has continued to record large number of seizures and arrests from the four sectors of the North-West, North-Central, South-West, and South-South geopolitical zones.

As of March 6, 2020, 697 illegal migrants had been arrested, he said.

Seizures included 86,602-50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 695 bags of NPK fertiliser; 1,172 vehicles; 2,997 drums filled with Premium Motor Spirit; 16,771 empty 200 litre drums of PMS; 90 engine boats.

He said, “Others are 68 drums of groundnut oil; 26 trucks (33,000 litres) of PMS; 14,604 jerricans of PMS; 656 motorcycles; 15,089 jerricans of PMS, vegetable oil.

“The estimated monetary value of the seizures is N7,350,818,657.70.”
The Customs boss assured that Nigeria remains committed to ongoing diplomatic engagements to finding lasting solutions to the concerns that necessitated the partial border closure.
“It would be recalled that apart from the ongoing Tripartite Technical Committee meetings comprising Nigeria, Benin and Niger Republic; Ministers in charge of ECOWAS Affairs and Trade of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo met on the 15 February 2020 at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to assess the partial border closure and its impact on the sub-region”
“Overall, the government is fully committed to the recommendations of the respective Committees”
“However, the priority remains to keep our borders safe from any inimical activity that would compromise our national interests and by extension our national security. We therefore thank all Nigerians, especially the business community for their continuous support” he said

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