By Innocent Orok
Facts have emerge that with the recent commissioning of the new border post at Seme, built by ECOWAS and the European Union, which gave only one entrance and exit to and from Nigeria and Benin Republic, a new trend of smuggling has been uncovered.
According to our source who is a critical stakeholder at the border, but does not his name mentioned, he told our Correspondent.
“It has come to our notice that contra ban products, mostly poultry products, rice and second hand clothes are being smuggled through the border post.
“The new smuggling antics is being carried out in the night through the newly commissioned ECOWAS building corridor.
We have observed in recent times that at the dead of the night vehicles like Jeeps and SUVs are loaded with these products from Benin Republic and are giving accesss into Nigeria by the Customs Officers on duty after settling them by way of (Booking ).
This new trend of smuggling according to our source started since the new ECOWAS building was re-open as other routes have been blocked.
Our source said that the danger of this new smuggling style is that apart from the smuggled products, most of the people who carried out these naferious activities often wear Army Uniforms as such it is hard to differentiate if they are Nigerians or foreigners.
“More worrisome is that other security agencies at the border are prevented by the Customs Service from checkmating the identities of the Smugglers”. Our source said.
But reacting to the allegations, the Nigeria Customs Service, Seme border Command’s PRO, ASC Saidu Abdullahi have this to say “The Command will treat the allegations with all the seriousness it deserves, as investigations is ongoing. But the fact that the claim is through the ECOWAS facility does not cut it.
The facility is designed to function based on the one-stop border post concept, whereby a vehicle is stopped, checked and cleared in a single stop by all relevant agencies operating at the Joint Border Post. We have NCS, NIS, PHS, NDLEA, NPF and others.
It will be irresponsible of them all to connive and sabotage the economic well-being of our republic”.
However, it is imperative for the NCS to checkmate these new smuggling trend to avoid breakdown of law and order at the border post.