The Coordinator of Joint Border Drill Operations, Kwara State, Comptroller Mohammed Uba Garba has disclosed that the closure of Nigerian land borders has led to a drastic reduction in crime rate.
“Since the commencement of the border closure, crime rate has drastically reduced.”
The customs Coordinator said in a press statement issued to WikkiTimes by the Public Relations Officer, Kwara Command, Zakari Chado.
He however, emphasized that synergy and collaboration amongst security agencies and traditional leaders cannot be overemphasized as no organization will work in isolation and succeed without the support of one another especially traditional leaders.
According to the statement, “in keeping to his recent promise when the Kwara State House of Assembly Speaker Hon. Salihu Yakubu Danladi paid him a courtesy visit, the Coordinator, Joint Border Operations in charge of North Central Zone, Sector 3, Ilorin Kwara has taken tour of Alapa, Ilesha-Baruba, Yashkira, Chikanda and Okuta of Baruten Local Government area of the State on how to end the fuel scarcity within those axis.”
Speaking at the Palace of Emir of Yashkira, Comptroller Uba said he was not unmindful of the critical role the traditional rulers can play in terms of sensitization and enlightenment of their subjects, relevant Stakeholders and society at large.
The Coordinator told the Emir that he was in his palace to strengthen the existing cordial relationship between the command, the Emirate and stakeholders and to solicit for greater cooperation in terms of information gathering/sharing and also to bridge the communication gaps.
The Coordinator who pointed out that the enlightenment campaigns on Anti-smuggling activities be intensified noted that most of those who engage in smuggling never see it as a crime.
He further stated that the Federal Government partially closed its borders in order to encourage local farming, enhance good health, secure our National Borders and to enable the neighboring countries comply with the ECOWAS Protocol.
He reiterated that the present exercise was not to witch-hunt or obstructs any legal businesses of upright indigenes or communities but to encourage local farmers, control the inflow of arms and ammunition, illicit drugs and other prohibited goods in and out of the country.
The Sector Coordinator also held a town hall meeting with the youths, Elders, Local Government Authority, IPMAN and other critical stakeholders of Border communities of the local Government.
The statement which said that the myriad of irregular migration and trans-border crimes such as smuggling of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, drugs peddling and terrorism among others must be tackled headlong stressed that, that was what informed the Federal Government to partially closed its borders.
While pointing out those suspicious movements of empty Jerri cans is a pre-condition for smuggling of Petrol and those in that habit should desist, statement added that the suspension of transporting Petroleum within Twenty (20) Kilometers radius to border communities is a presidential directive that the Comptroller must implement to the latter.
Uba said according to Statistic released by Border Community Development Agency (BCDA) Nigeria is bordered by four (4) Countries in Twenty One (21) out of Thirty Six (36) States.
Also international boundaries exist in three Thousand (3,000) Communities, 105 local of which Baruten Local Governments is just One out of 105 Local Governments having international border.
While responding, the Emir of Yashkira, Umar Sarki Sabikpasi II said that the Nigeria Customs Service is almost the heart of the Nation in the area of revenue generation, and expressed support for the border closure.
According to the Emir, most of smuggling activities taking place within his domain are being perpetrated by non indigenes.
The Emir who pledged total support for the Coordinator and his team to succeed by providing information for the ongoing exercise in order to achieve the aims said that the act of smuggling is never a good thing to be encouraged.
While expressing believes that the policy on border closure is for the healthy growth of Nigerian economy, the Emir advised that traditional leaders should always be involved in decision making process as well.
Also speaking, the representatives of Local Government Chairman, Alh. Tamba Ahmed and IPMAN (Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria) Kwara State Chapter Chairman, Alh. Okonlawon Olarewaju commended the Federal Government for taking the bold step by trying to right the wrongs of the past administration of promulgating policies without implementing them.
They both appealed that the Nigeria Customs Service to review the stoppage of fuel supply to 20 kilometer radius to Border communities.
Clarifying on the numbers of petrol stations in the local Government, the IPMAN Chairman said that only 65 Companies registered with the Association and some companies have more than 5 petrol stations.
Compt. Uba Garba told the gathering that Nigeria Customs Service is just an implementer of Federal Government policies.
He advised the Local Government Authority to work with the State Speaker who is also an indigene and other high ranking government officials in order to channel their grievances through the appropriate quarters.
He assured that his report will be based on “on the spot assessment” He was confident that government will definitely come up with a policy that will be beneficial to all and sundry.
Compt. Uba also met with residence security agencies manning the border post as well as operatives of Joint Border Operation Drill, deployed within the border axis.
He read the riot act to all the operatives, soliciting for their synergy and Collaboration by sharing information to achieve the Federal Government aim of the exercise.
He warned that any officer found wanting or compromising will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The Coordinator explained that all security operatives involved in this National Assignment are backed by the Customs and excise Management act (CEMA) Section 158, 147 and 167 which says 158- give power to patrol freely but warned against one man patrol, Section- 147 give power to search and raid any premises suspected to be housed with smuggling goods and the coordinator gave the go ahead to identify such warehouses for raid; while section 167 gives power to detain and effect seizures. He instructed for prompt reporting of any incident for immediate action.
He called on them to work together with the host communities, respect their culture in order to stamp out smuggling in the country to boost production of local goods and by extension generates more funds for the government, the people and also provides employment to the teaming population.
To this end, the coordinator urged the security agencies to work hand in gloves to achieve this aim, reminding them the implications of Section 177 of CEMA, two (2) years jail term for aiding and abetting of smuggling.
The coordinator also inspected large quantities of seized goods in Okuta, Ilesha-Baruba and Chikanda axis.