Customs boss urges vigilance at Benin Republic, Cameroon borders

The acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adeniyi, has warned his officers in Ogun State to be vigilant at Nigerian borders with Benin Republic, Cameron, and others as the Nigerian government continues to monitor the political situation in the Niger Republic.

PREMIUM TIMES reports that following a military takeover in the Niger Republic on 26 June, President Bola Tinubu ordered the Nigeria-Niger border closure.

This was part of measures to force the military junta in the West African country to restore the democratic order.

The Customs boss also directed that any goods transiting through the Nigeria customs territory should be stopped if they are headed to the Niger Republic.

Mr. Adeniyi said this while addressing his officers and men of the NCS during his working visit to the headquarters of the Ogun Area 1 Command of the NCS at Idiroko, Ogun State.

He stressed that criminals smuggling arms into the Niger Republic might explore land borders like those of the Benin Republic and Cameroon.

He called on customs officials at the borders to be alert and vigilant and resist any attempt to jeopardize Nigerian national security.

“We are all aware of the situation in our northern neighbor, Republic of Niger. In response to the directive from President Bola Tinubu, as our president and as the Chairman of the ECOWAS authorities of heads of state, we are monitoring the situation in Niger closely, and one of the decisions taken in the pearls of wisdom of the heads of state is the closure of our borders with Niger.

“Over the last week, I paid a working visit to some of those borders, and I can assure you that the implementation of that measure there is 100 percent. And when that happens, people who want to smuggle things into that country may want to explore openings in other borders.

“This is why it is important for you to be very, very vigilant. Anywhere we have borders, there could be a compromise, and there could be attempts to use routes that are not necessarily normal for them to cross things into Niger. All transit goods going into Niger, for now, are to be stopped anywhere you see them.

“Any transit goods through the Nigeria customs territory should be stopped if they are headed to the Niger Republic. And this is also a time for us to remain very, very vigilant. Because the enemies of the state are still at work. Those who are bent on destabilizing the country, they are still at work.

“You recall the incidents of about two weeks ago, when some elements smuggled ammunition across, using some of the plans we have here. So this is, therefore, a reminder that you cannot afford to relax at any point in time. Your level of vigilance and the level of alertness must be 100 per cent.

“You must be ready all the time. You must cultivate very, very credible and useful intelligence from amongst the community that you live. And you must learn to synergise and cooperate with other agencies who are working together with you to enhance national security,” Mr Adeniyi said.

The customs boss, who also met with heads of other security agencies and security chiefs from the Benin Republic, called for collaboration to fight criminals in both countries.

“As agencies, we should show readiness to work together and fight criminals in both countries,” he said.

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Mr Adeniyi, during the visit, paid homage to the Onipokia of Ipokia, Yisa Olaniyan; the Oniko of Ikolaje, John Ojo, and other monarchs in Ipokia Local Government Area.

At the palace of the Oniko of Ikolaje, the monarch complained about the federal government’s ban on petrol in border communities.

During a visit of the Acting CG, Bashir Adeniyi to the Oniko of Iko Idiroko, John Ojo.
During a visit of the Acting CG, Bashir Adeniyi to the Oniko of Iko Idiroko, John Ojo.

The monarch lamented the suffering of his people due to the lingering ban on fuel supply.

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Mr. Ojo said a liter of fuel is being sold for N1,000 in the communities.

The customs boss responded, saying that the NCS would seek a review of the fuel supply ban to the border communities following the removal of the fuel subsidy.

Mr. Adeniyi said: “This directive was given by the Office of the National Security Adviser. It was given before the removal of the subsidy. So, now that the subsidy has been removed, there should be a need for a review of that policy. I can assure the community that will make appropriate recommendations and request a review of the policy and make recommendations known.

“I am optimistic that we are going to have some positive reviews.”

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