By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Wale Adeniyi has given conditions that could lead the federal government into reopening of the Seme Border for importation of vehicles, Rice and others.
Adeniyi visited the Seme-Krake Joint Border Post on Friday and was given a carnival-like reception by Seme Customs Command led by Comptroller Dera Nnadi, with the host communities, the importers, clearing agents, truckers among others.
Speaking at a meeting with the business community, Adeniyi said that reopening of the borders fully, depends on the readiness of the local communities to corporate with the customs and other law enforcement agents in combating insecurity and smuggling.
According to him, the security agencies need intelligence from the communities on the nefarious activities of smugglers, and to properly protect the border areas against illicit importations.
“It is going to be a symbiotic relationship that would be beneficial to all of us. By the time this is done, we can now start discussing about allowing vehicles to come in through the borders.
We can now start considering allowing food to also come in through the borders if we cannot have enough capacity to feed ourselves.
“These are conversations that would happen within us when we have gotten assurances from the communities that they would be ready to assist the agencies in doing their job” he said
Thee customs CG also assured that the issue of multiple checkpoints along the Seme borders would be streamlined in conjunction with other security agencies.
Speaking, said “Before I came here, I have received communications from the Area Controller, he had reflected a number of the burning issues which is the source of concern for the communities here.
“The list is very long, but the most important is that we want to enhance our natural security, we want to do it with fewer number of checkpoints. We get your message and we would be doing it with other security agencies to see how we can rationalize the checkpoints
“I also want to challenge you that National Security is not the responsibility of these government agencies alone, this is the difference between us and our counterparts in West Africa, National Security is the business of every citizen, and all strata of the society treat it as a priority.
“So, it should not be the business of only the security agencies. So, as we make life easier for business, I want to charge you also to make life and the work of our security agents easier
“The criminals live among us, those importing arms and ammunition live among us, they operate within our precinct, what you can do to help our national security is to help us with information and intelligence for us to catch these criminals visiting mayhem on our communities.
“If the security agencies can do the job with accurate intelligence from you, then, we might not need these checkpoints again.
Like I promised, I will engage other agencies when I get back to Abuja to see how we can streamline these checkpoints.
“The borders were closed but not all of them were reopened, we have already started discussions along this line. Policies that are aimed at enhancing national security are supposed to be dynamic policies, at different times we would be reviewing them.
“We have started reviewing them, that was why some borders were opened about one year ago. It is a continuous process, more would still be reopened along the line.
“However, everything depend on the kind of report that gets to the government about the capacity of the local community to support law enforcement Agents so that criminals don’t infiltrate through these border areas” he said