BY INNOCENT OROK
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) has said that the Service loses over 200 Officers and Men on a yearly basis due the activities of Smugglers in the Country.
The Customs boss raise the alarm that daredevil smugglers were killing at least 200 officers of the service every year.
Ali stated this at a meeting organised by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the Service Chiefs and Heads of Para -military organisations yesterday.
The Customs CG who was represented by Abdullahi Babani, an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, said smuggling was the greatest challenge facing the Service and all hands must be on deck to defeat it.
He said NCS was disturbed by the high level of smuggling in the Country and it was working tirelessly to reduce it to the bearest minimum.
He urged the Federal Government to work to improve its Fiscal and Monetary policies to help check the level of smuggling, especially the textile materials.
“The government needs to get its fiscal and monetary policies right; the cost of business is high, there is the need for the government to provide roads, security and power for our local industries to thrive.
“When these are made available and easier, their products will be cheap and able to compete with the foreign ones because this is one of the reasons why smuggling thrives.
“Frankly, to address smuggling, the local industries must set the right prices and quality to have the desired patronage.
“The market is there, our local textile industries must be ready to compete and this is a Nigerian project. We shall work with CBN and other relevant stakeholders in achieving it.
“Our core mandate is to suppress smuggling and we are committed to achieving that. Therefore all stakeholders must support us to reduce it,” he said.
The customs boss urged stakeholders in the CTG industries to help the service in the area of intelligence by providing useful information that would assist in identifying the smugglers with a view to punishing them accordingly.
Other participants at the meeting were stakeholders from the Cotton, Textile and the manufacturing sector.
It is now a well know fact that the Customs have been having running battles with smugglers across the Country in their various formations and Units. Mostly at the border areas where several Officers and Men of the Service have either been maimed or kill in the line of duty.
Just recently an Assistant Superintendent of Customs serving at the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘A’ Ikeja, Lagos was ambushed and killed by smugglers in Ogun State area when him and his team were conveying seized imported rice to their base.