Acting Customs CG Speaks on Conditions to Reduce Multiple Checkpoint at Seme Border

Acting Customs CG Speaks on Conditions to Reduce Multiple Checkpoint at Seme Border

Joyce Mmereole Okoli
The Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has mentioned reasons to fast track the reduction of of multiple check points along the Badagry Seme expressway, reduce the free flow of traffic by removing the embarrassing image that it constitutes and also help to strengthen bilateral trade relations in the border communities.

Adeniyi who was well received during his working visit at the Seme-Krake Joint Border Post on Friday and also hosted to a grand reception  by Seme Customs Command led by Comptroller Dera Nnadi, stakeholders, host communities among others.

Speaking further, Adeniyi noted that national Security is the responsibility of everyone and should not be left for the government agencies alone. 

CGC Adeniyi said that the Service is working together with other government agencies bearing in mind their peculiarities to rationalise the multiple checkpoints inhibiting free trade and movement of legitimate goods at the border posts. He noted that the service has taken the first shot in this particular direction by announcing last week that the CGC Strike Force team has been disbanded.

The Custom boss noted that there are numerous trade and economic benefits for Nigeria within the ECOWAS socioeconomic bloc. He however noted that the Service in collaboration with their foreign counterparts will work on improving and developing better bilateral trade relations driven by technology. 

He also added that the service seeks to achieve these through the implementation of ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

While appreciating the traditional rulers and residents of the border communities for their warm reception, CGC Adeniyi however sought for their unflinching support to all government agencies by desisting from illegal and illegitimate business and most importantly providing credible information and intelligence of illegal activities in and around the border post to appropriate government security agencies.

CGC Adeniyi noted that the communities around the border areas have complained about the high number of check points along the axis when he visited the Akran of Badagry. 

He said that border security is very important to the entire national security architecture, but that this can be achieved with fewer number of check points as policies that enhance national security are dynamic and not rigid in nature.    

We are working with other security agencies to see how we can rationalise the checkpoints. I also want to challenge you that National Security is not the responsibility of government agencies alone. This is the difference between us and our counterparts in West Africa. National Security is the business of every citizen. As you make life easier for business, I want to charge you to make life and work of the Security agencies easier. 

"The criminals who bring drugs, arms and ammunitions live around us. What we can do to help our national Security is to help us with credible information and intelligence to catch these criminals. They are our enemies they don't mean well for us.

"I will be engaging other agencies to see how we can streamline the number of checkpoints. We are also in talks as regards the borders that are closed. We would be review some of the policies bothering on National security. It is a continuous process and more borders will be opened along the line.

"When it comes to border security, management and others, the Customs plays a very important role. But of course, we know that we cannot play this role successfully without collaborating with other agencies who also have their mandates in and around the borders. We must draw strength from the complementarity of our operations.

"We are already familiar with the ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme, which has started over 30 years ago. While we are grappling with this, other parts of the world, they have made significant progress. What this portends for us is that while we trade with other regional blocs outside our areas, we still have to define our economic prosperity in the framework of the trade that we conduct between ourselves" Adeniyi noted.

Speaking at the meeting, the Customs Area Controller of the Command, Dera Nnadi mni  cites that some of the challenges faced by the command and stakeholders at the seme border range from smuggling activities, multiple checkpoints, border closure amongst others.

 Nnadi noted that the Seme border with a population of over 350 million people accounts for about 70 per cent of the transit traffic in the ECOWAS sub-region. 

He says  that the potential in doing business among the over Four Hundred and Twenty Eight Million people within the West African sub-region is enormous and should be fully exploited as trade within the Lagos-Abidjan corridor accounts for about 75% of all trade within the sub-region while noting that common trade among this region ranks 4th among all African regions trading with each other.
Nnadi also used the opportunity to give details on some of the achievements of the Command in the course of the year. He noted  that the revenue target for the Command this year 2023  is One Billion, Nine Hundred and Sixty Million Naira (#1,960,000,000.00), but that as at the close of business on the 20th of July, 2023, the Command has generated a total of One Billion, Three Hundred and Twenty Million, Five Hundred and Eighty Two Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Seven Naira, Fifty Seven Kobo (#1,320,582,937.57k) only. 

This represents 67% of the target given to the Command. The collection for the corresponding year of 2022 was Nine Hundred and Seventeen Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty Nine Naira and Twenty Eight Kobo (#917,788,329.28k)

On the part of anti-smuggling activities, the command was also noted to have seized Six Million dollars ($6,000,000.00) worth of fake notes amounting to over Two Billion, Seven Hundred Million Naira (#2,700,000,000.00) in local currency.

According to CAC Nnadi, other seizures over the period of January to June this year include: 6,569 bags of foreign parboiled rice with a duty paid value (DPV) of over Two Hundred and Fifteen Million, Nine Hundred and Seven, One Hundred and Seventy One Naira (#215,907,171.00). 

Also seized over the period are the equivalents of 12 petroleum tankers worth of petroleum products with a DPV of Six Hundred and Eighty Million, Two Hundred and Sixty Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy One Naira (#680,263,271.00) only. The duty paid value (DPV) of all the seized items over the period is One Billion, Fifteen Million and One Hundred and Seventy Three Thousand, Five Hundred and Eighty Seven Naira (#1,015,173,587.00) only.

CAC Nnadi also added that a lot of trade barriers have been removed in the area to help the facilitation of trade and that some corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects like the provision of 250 coconut plants, provision of football jerseys and boots have also been embarked upon.

The Executive Chairman of Badagry Local Government, Mr Onilude Olusegun expressed his gratitude to the CGC for considering the rationalisation of the multiple checkpoints along the border corridor.

Onilude however pledged the support of the local government,  traditional rulers as well as all dwellers of the border communities. He noted that they will continue to be law abiding and engage in legitimate business in accordance to the confines of the Law.
 Adeniyi thanked everyone for the warm welcome giving to him. He noted that he was experiencing the largest amount of crowd since he started his tour. He was presented with a plaque and a portrait picture of him made on an animal skin.

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