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How Customs generated N1.3trn, seized N33bn contraband in 2019

Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.), Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs

Isola Moses

Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.), Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has recounted how the dedication of his officers and men and other strategic initiatives were responsible for N1.34trillion revenue and N32.83billion worth of contraband recorded in 2019.

Reports state Ali said this at the 2020 International Customs Day Monday, January 27, in Abuja, with the theme: ‘Customs Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity, and Planet’.

He disclosed that the NCS exceeded its N937billion 2019 target by N404billion.

The Service has been passionate about the protection of the economy in the discharge of its functions by ensuring that illicit goods do not flood the country, Ali stated.

He said: “The seizure of prohibited articles of trade comprising food, counterfeit and other items harmful to our environment was valued at N32.83billion during 4,599 incidents in 2019.

“The interception of illicit cash flows through our airports, and trade in endangered species as well as the results of the ongoing border drill were part of our successes” in the past year.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, on the occasion, also insisted that neighbouring countries must provide guarantee on full adherence before the borders can be reopened. Nigeria, under a joint Exercise Swift Response, began a partial closure of the borders across four geopolitical zones since August 2019.

“We are still talking with them. There are parameters of understanding. We have reached certain understanding.

“We are not only talking about Nigeria, we are also asking them to ensure that their borders are also fortified from our own illicit trafficking,” he stated.

According to him, “… as soon as we are able to get to them, we will relax certain things at the borders. For now, we are still conducting our partial border closure under the drill.”

Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary-General, World Customs Organisation, represented by DCG Ronke Olubiyi, said: “Once again, the Customs community comes together, united in celebrating International Customs Day, which officially falls on 26 January of each year.

“This special day enables partners to dedicate themselves to taking forward a particular theme and this year’s theme will be focusing on the contribution of Customs towards (sic) a sustainable future where social, economic, health and environmental needs are at the heart of actions.”

Dr. Rufus Ebegba, Director-General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), in his goodwill message, said: “I see the Nigeria Customs Service as the beacon of our economy.

“With all its activities regarding the border closure, I believe in the nearest future Nigeria will begin to export rice.”

He further assured that the NBMA would continue to work with the Nigeria Customs Service to create a better Nigeria.

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