The Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adeniyi has put officers and men of the service manning the Benin Republic, Cameron and other borders on a red alert following the Nigeria-Niger border closure.
Adeniyi said implementation of the Nigeria-Niger border closure “is 100 percent”.
He said this on Sunday while addressing 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.
The Comptroller General called on customs operatives manning borders to be 100 percent alert and vigilant.
He also urged them to wage war against any attempt to jeopardise national security.
He explained that special attention must be given to any transit goods heading to Niger Republic.
He directed that any transit goods through the Nigeria customs territory should be stopped if they are headed to Niger Republic.
President Bola Tinubu had ordered the shutting of Nigerian land borders with Niger Republic as part of measures against the military junta in the West African country.
According to Adeniyi, criminals in an attempt to break or smuggle arms into Niger Republic may explore other land borders like that of Benin Republic and Cameroon.
Adeniyi said “We are all aware of the situation in our northern neighbour, Republic of Niger.
” In response to the national presidential directive from our President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Bola Tinubu, as our president and as the Chairman of the ECOWAS authorities of heads of states, we are monitoring the situation in Niger closely and one of the decisions taken in the 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%.
“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 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 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, 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%.
“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 synergize and cooperate with other agencies who are working together with you to enhance national security.”
Meanwhile, the Comptroller General held a meeting with heads of other security agencies and security chiefs from the Benin Republic.
While speaking at the meeting, he called for collaboration to fight against criminals in both countries.
He said while President Tinubu and his Benin Republic counterpart, Patrice Talon are forming bilateral agreements on economics and security, security chiefs from both countries should also form a synergy towards the implementation of the policies.
He said, “as agencies, we should show readiness to work together and fight criminals in both countries.”
Adeniyi, during the visit, paid homage to the Onipokia of Ipokia, Oba Yisa Olaniyan; the Oniko of Ikolaje, Oba John Ojo and other monarchs in Ipokia Local Government.
Speaking at Oniko’s palace, Adeniyi hinted that the service would seek a review of the fuel supply ban to the border communities following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
The monarch while speaking during the meeting lamented the suffering of his subjects due to the lingering ban on fuel supply to border towns that fall within a 20km radius.
He said a litre of fuel is currently being sold for N1,000 per litre.
The Monarch also expressed concern over the killing of innocent citizens during customs and smugglers clashes as well indiscriminate checkpoints on the road.
In his response, Adeniyi said “This directive was given by the Office of the National Security Adviser. It was given before the removal of subsidy.
“So, now that subsidy has been removed, there should be the need for a review of that policy.
” I can assure the community that we 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.”
In his welcome address, the Area Controller, Bamidele Makinde applauded the Acting CG for the visit.
He said the visit served as a morale booster and will enhance the performances of the officers.