January 29, 2023

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Smuggling: We’ll not compromise national security, Customs boss vows

Controller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘C’ Owerri of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Ali Ibrahim, has vowed that the unit under his watch will not compromise on its constitutional mandate as regards national security.

Ali gave the assurance  during the 31st Edition of the Annual Lecture/Awards of the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), which held in Ikeja, Lagos.

Comptroller Ali, who received CRAN’s Star Award For Anti-Smuggling, was among respected and deserving Nigerians recognized by the association for his gallantry and revenue generation in Zone C.

Ali said that inspite of insecurity in the Eastern region, the unit under his watch will not relent in its effort to reduce to its barest minimum smuggling of dangerous products into the country.

The Customs boss said more intelligence is being applied now more than ever before in the anti- smuggling operations of the customs in view of what looked like an unusual situation around the nation.

Noting that South East used to be one of the peaceful zones in the country, the Controller stated that the ugly situation now is a temporary set back which will fizzle out with time, as every nation has its own difficult phase in history.

Ali stressed that there is no alternative to peaceful coexistence as that is the only way to engender a virile development of any country.

He said all security agencies have a role to play in sustaining national security, and the customs, being a major stakeholder especially in curtailing the influx of arms smuggling will not fail to sustain the tempo.

According to him, citizens must do everything possible to coexist as suspicion and internal strife were the forerunners of any country’s disintegration.

Making reference to the Sahel region where peace has almost eluded them as a result of internal strife, the Customs boss maintained that tribal sentiments or religious intolerance must take the back seat if any nation must move forward.

He assured that his unit will key into the mandate given to it by the Comptroller General, which centred on the extant laws of the service in promoting security of lives by preventing importation of uncustomed or prohibited items, nipping in the bud evasion of duties, facilitation of lawful trade as well as protection of the economy.

The Controller enlisted the support and synergy between the media and the service in promoting national security noting that positive media reports will build the nation than destroying it.

He said all security agencies as well as state actors must synergise to be able to surmount the present insurgency in the country.

Among the awardees honoured alongside Comptroller Ali are: Dr Babatope Agbeyo Chairman, Cornfield Group of Company; Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba; Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodima; AIG Zone 2, Bode Adeleke; and Lagos Police Commissioner, CP Abiodun Alabi.

Others are: DSP Edafe Bright,  Delta PPRO; Immediate Past President CRAN, Odita Sunday;  Commandant Ewaka Okoro Lagos NSCDC; SP Benjamin Hundeyin, Lagos PPRO; CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi FPRO; South West Zonal Coordinator, Deputy Comptroller Mohammed Sani Yusuf; among others.