Unveiling The Spirit Of Smuggling (Book Review)

 Unveiling The Spirit Of Smuggling (Book Review)
By Kingsley Anaroke

There hasn’t  been any bold attempt at  combating  smuggling in Nigeria like the book and in the book: “Appraisal of the Crime of  Smuggling in Nigeria”,  authored by  a serving Customs officer  with academic temperament and  infectious dedication to national service and patriotism.   

The  388 pages book could not have come at a better time than now, when arms smuggling has become a part of the normal life in the country. Now, when smuggling has become a profession and a career path to many especially most children who  live and grow up around border towns.  Many  kids in recent years have grown to embrace  smugglers as role models , while most Nigerians prefer to buy smuggled goods in preference for legally imported goods, either because of price advantage or the toga of  “ imported” product which is usually seen as being of best standards and quality.

Most disheartening is the findings that the Customs personnel and officers also aid and abet  smuggling for pecuniary reason. It is indeed a “Season of Anomie” for the economy considering its huge economic mess on the nation’s treasury.  Last week, the  Comptroller General of Customs , Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) accused the multinational shipping companies operating in Nigeria of conspiring with shippers  to smuggle arms into the country, and further threatened to advise President Mohammedu Buhari to shut the Seme border because immeasurable quantity of prohibited goods find their ways into Nigeria through numerous unapproved routes.

The 388 pages book of nine chapters attempts, therefore, to x-ray the provision of the  Customs and Excise  Management  Act(CEMA) in relation to the crime of smuggling, while  enumerating  the major effects of smuggling to include huge revenue loss, money laundering, exposure of local industries to unfair competition with their foreign counterparts  as well as insecurity of life  and properties.

As smuggling in Nigeria assumes a hydra-headed  posture the only weapon of fighting its numerous categories remains the instrument of legislation, which is CEMA. However, CEMA  which  remains a colonial vestige having been enacted in 1958 prescribes some punishments for offenders which include prosecution of offences, forfeiture of items, capital punishment, etc.

The book at this point affirms that CEMA 1958 has lost touch with the realities of the day in modern customs administration and as such cannot combat the digital nuances in the menace of smuggling of this age.

The author,  Assistant  Comptroller of Customs, Musa Omale, Ph.D also takes a look at the  factors that promote smuggling, examines the control measures and makes a case for a legislative review of CEMA that would enhance the fight against  smuggling .

However, Omale seems to have unconsciously notes that despite the avowed  success of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) in revenue generation over the years, it has failed in legislative politics and by extension  the war against smuggling. This is a key minus!

Omale is a lawyer but his language of delivery in this book is simple and fluid, perhaps because of his Public Relations training over time in the line of duty.

It is recommended for  trade consultants, journalists, Customs officers for training, students, researchers and maritime operators.

So, all roads lead to the Rock View Hotel , Wuse 2 Abuja by 10 am  on November 30, 2017 for the historic presentation of the book, which will help change the narrative of smuggling and its spirit in Nigeria. The CGC who graciously wrote the book’s  Forward will chair the event.


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