Over 2,000 Customs men sacked for ‘fraudulent practices’, says Customs CG.

Over 2,000 Customs men sacked for ‘fraudulent practices’, says Customs CG.

Agency needs $3.5b to automate operations •NCS CG raises concerns over meeting N3tr revenue target.

The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), has said the service had dismissed over 2,000 workers in the last seven years.

CG Ali, who spoke at the media briefing coordinated by the Presidential Media Team yesterday in Abuja, said the service abhors corruption and has zero tolerance for such officers.

The NCS boss said in addition to losing their jobs, some of those found wanting had been prosecuted and jailed.

The Customs boss also raised concern that the Federal agency may face challenges in meeting its N3.019 trillion target for 2022.

He said the establishment of the Joint Border Patrol Team as well as increasing the arsenal of the NCS to fight smuggling and monitor the borders was yielding the desired results.

Ali, who said smugglers were becoming more sophisticated, assured Nigerians that the agency was modifying its operations to respond to the threats.

The Customs boss explained that while the agency has a mandate to generate revenue and facilitate trade, it also ensures the protection of Nigeria’s borders through its modernisation process, called the e-Customs Project, by using technology.

“On the issue of border security, if you have been following the story of how we are working to make sure that we secure the borders; first, you remember that in 2019, we closed the borders. That was done to ensure that illicit items are not brought into this country. Two, to ensure that rice, which is one of the areas we want to make sure that we block, is not also brought into this country.

“Also, to ensure that between us and our neighbouring countries, we uphold the sanctity of the ECOWAS Protocol because those were being breached by our own brothers across the borders and we felt the only way we can send this message to ensure that they align themselves with the protocol is to close our borders and agree.

“And we did that. After about three months of going forth and back, we agreed on the constitution of what we call the Joint Border Patrol Team. Today, we have a conglomeration of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and all other security agencies that have come together under one roof to ensure the security of our borders. That is being done.

“Then, secondly, we’re trying to increase our arsenal with regards to capability to be able to fight smuggling and ensure we monitor our border. For the Customs, the modernisation process that we have has an inbuilt system for border monitoring, which will be both linked to the IT system. Then, today, we are jointly working with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in the geospatial process to make sure that we monitor our borders and ensure effective control.

“We intend to get as many aircraft as possible. We are talking with the Army. We will soon be training our own officers to learn to pilot-drop so that when we are able to pick, not only being able to pick electronically the activities around the border, we should be able to also drop our officers at every point to be able to intercept and interdict the actions of smugglers.

“As at today, I believe that what we have put in place is working. It may not be at the level where we want it. But I assure you that as a responsive agency, we’re doing the best way we can to make sure that our borders are protected,” he said.

Source, The Nation.




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