Controller of the Command, Comptroller Abubakar Umar, who disclosed this during a media briefing in Lagos said the boats, when received, would boost the command’s anti smuggling patrol on the nation’s waterways.
He said the command has also received approval from the Service for the rehabilitation of some of its dilapidated boats by a team of naval engineers adding that 50 marine officers would also be deployed to command.
Umar expressed optimism that the acquisition of the boats and deployment of marine officers will enhance the command’s capacity to effectively deliver on its mandate to secure the waterways.
He said, “The headquarters and the Comptroller General have been very magnanimous in this regard. Three weeks ago, a team of naval engineers came to the command from the headquarters. Our dead and dilapidated 9 boats are going to be rehabilitated before the end of the year. That’s the directive from the Customs management.
“Similarly, we are expecting before the end of the year newly constructed seven boats coming to the command. Right now, we are have nine boats, five of which five are gun boats and four are logistics boats.
“We have 216 able trained young men in the command and we are expecting about 50 more to join from the training college in Kano as soon as they graduate, giving us over 250 officers and men in the command. So, I have no doubt that whether yuletide season or any other season, we are here to deliver and we have the capacity, training and at the headquarters level, they have the political will to support us.”
Speaking on the command’s anti-smuggling operations, Comptroller Umar said the command seized 29, 660 parcels of cannabis sativa and other contraband goods valued at N2.2billion from June to October 2022.
He said the cannabis, which was intercepted while on it’s way to the country from Ghana along the waterways weighed 16, 663kg and has a street value of N2billion.
“Getting the Indian hemp from Ghana is not a small thing. We watched it from where it came and to arrest it, it took us three weeks of intensive surveillance to be able to nip it in the bud.
“This is the second time as a command that we are intercepting a large quantity of cannabis sativa on behalf of Nigerians. We have youths and wards in our homes but what some people don’t understand is that drugs are principal drivers of crime. Already we have insecurity on our door steps.
“Importation like this won’t help our country’s development. We all know the harms that cannabis sativa pose to our youths. It is illegal to ship such contraband into Nigeria and we will continue to thwart the efforts of unscrupulous importers who derive joy in bringing in such substance into the country,” he said.
Giving a breakdown of other items seized by the command within the review period, Umar said they include 1,575 bags of foreign parboiled rice equivalent to two trailer loads worth N39,375,000.00; and 28,735 litres of PMS contained in 1,077 kegs of 25liter size equivalent to about one load of PMS worth N4,921,700.00.
He added that seven wooden boats with four engines as means of Conveyance worth Nl3,750,000.00 were also intercepted.