The Kwara Area Command of the Nigerian Customs Service has called on traditional rulers in border communities to enlighten their subjects on the illegality of smuggling.
The state Comptroller of Customs, Ahmed Bello, made the call on Friday when he led the command on its anti-smuggling campaign to the four Emirate Councils in the Baruten Local Government Area of the state.
Bello said that the tour of the area became necessary as most of those engaging in smuggling in the area do not consider it a crime.
The monarchs were the Emirs of Ilesha-Baruba, Okuta, Yashikira and Gwanara.
According to the comptroller, government closed the borders to encourage local farmers, secure national borders and compel neighbouring countries to obey the ECOWAS protocols.
“The Nigerian Customs Service cannot afford to rest on its oars, particularly at this critical time of our national life as the myriad of irregular migration and trans-border crimes were increasing by the day.
” Crimes such as smuggling of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, drug trafficking and terrorism among others must be tackled headlong and that informs the Federal Government’s decision to close the borders.
“Smuggling of rice not fit for human consumption was rife; this rice had been preserved with some chemicals for a number of months before finally being exported to the country.
“Hence, it is harmful to our health due to the long duration spent at sea before arriving the country, ” he said.
Bello solicited the cooperation of the monarchs and other critical stakeholders in information gathering and sharing to bridge the communication gap.
In their seperate remarks, the Emirs of Okuta, Alhaji Idris Abubakar; Ilesha-Baruba, Prof. Halidu Abubakar; and Yashikira, Alhaji Usman Seriki, all applauded the efforts of the service at ensuring a robust national economy.
The monarchs expresed support for the border closure, saying most of the smuggling activities taking place in the area were being perpetrated by non indigenes.
(Edited & Vetted By: Saidu Adamu/Mufutau Ojo)
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