The Nigerian Customs Service says it is making frantic efforts to stop the menace of smuggling of contraband into the country for sanity and security.
Mr Udo Aka-Emmanuel, the Assistant Comptroller-General in charge of zone B, made the statement on Wednesday when he visited the Kongolam border town in Maiadua Local Government Area in Katsina State.
He described smuggling as a dangerous activity that impacted negatively on the health, security and economy of the nation.
“We would intensify efforts in making smuggling and any other activities related to it a thing of the past.”
He said imported foreign rice constituted serious health hazard because it was normally kept in warehouses populated by rodents and other dangerous insects for years, re-bagged and sold to smugglers .
He commended the officers and men of the Katsina\Kaduna Zone for their resilience, commitment and dedication towards eradicating smuggling and other related malpractices.
He, however, appealed to the media to always help the Nigerian Customs Service in championing the fight against smuggling, stressing that the media was a veritable tool in actualising the crusade.
He noted that smugglers considered the illicit trade as their birth right, especially the residents of border communities.
He warned that “we would not hesitate to arrest, confiscate and prosecute offenders because no one is above the law”.
The comptroller assured that efforts were being made to provide adequate logistic support and equipment to all customs formations nationwide
“We are also working tirelessly to improve the welfare of our personnel,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the officers and men of the Kongolam border station, the Assistant Controller of Customs, Tijjani Indabawa, assured that the officers would redouble their efforts in securing the border against illicit practices.
He said the personnel were working in collaboration with other security agencies to ensure safe international border and guarantee safety of the communities.
He appealed for additional vehicles and modern equipment to facilitate tracking of smugglers and other criminals who used the border to perpetuate crimes.
The zone B of the service comprises Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
Others are Kogi, Kwara, Niger and Abuja.