The Western Marine Command (WMC) of Nigeria Customs Service, saddled with the statutory responsibilities of suppressing smuggling activities and enforcing Federal Government fiscal policies along the South Western waterways and creeks has disclosed that 2020 is a year of biggest achievement in the history of the command.
The Customs Area Controller in charge of the command, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters PSC+ Dss, who took over the baton of the command in late February 2020, rejigged the operational activities of the Command with the sole aim of blocking the porosity of the creeks in order to suppress smuggling activities along its territorial waters, thereby achieving maximum and efficient operations.
The strategies put in place by Comptroller Olugboyega Peters led to the seizures of 81 different items from January to December, 2020 with Total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of One Billion, One Hundred and Four Million, Six Hundred and Forty Seven Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy Naira (#1,104,647,370.00) only as against the Total DPV of One Hundred and Twenty Nine Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty Six Naira, Forty Six Kobo (#129, 559,656.46) only in the Year 2019.
According to a press statement made available by the command Public Relations Officer, ASCI Isah Sulaiman, these unprecedented seizures were made as a result of the strategies put in place in terms of 24hour patrol, capacity building, surveillance, intelligence gathering, doggedness and determination of the officers and men of the command in making the Zone unbearable for smugglers.
It could be recalled that the Command had on the 24th April 2020 made a unique seizure of over 10tonnes of Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana) valued at One Billion, Two Million, Fifty Thousand Naira (#1, 002,050,000.00) only which happened to be the biggest single item catch of Marijuana ever seized in the history of Nigeria Customs Service.
This great feat, according to the statement has received national and international commendations.
Its on record that the Comptroller General of Customs on behalf of the Management recognised the outstanding performance of the Officers/Men involved in the seizure with commendation letters.
Also, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) recognised the Command and they are about to install a Video Tele-Conferencing (VTC) Cisco WebEx equipment that will aid operations in the maritime industry.
The equipment is funded under the auspices of the Government of Denmark aimed at strengthening maritime law enforcement response to piracy and other maritime crimes in the gulf of guinea.
The statement also reads “These seizures are strong indication that the operatives of the Command are combat-ready in policing and enforcing the Federal Government Fiscal Policies despite the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.
“I want to use this medium to appreciate the efforts of other sister agencies for their contributions in providing relevant information in making some of these seizures.
“Let me use this medium to appreciate the CGC and his management team for their motivation and support giving to the Officers/Men in the discharge of theirstatutory responsibilities. We assure them that the Officers/Men of WMC under the leadership of Comptroller Olugboyega Peters will perform their statutory responsibilities in line with the policy thrust of the present administration of zero tolerance to corruption and other vices.
“To those unscrupulous elements; we want them to know that there is no hidden place for them and whatever their strategy, we will always be ahead of them” it states.
The command boss however reiterates the commands firm commitment in carrying out the vested responsibility in suppressing smuggling to which he declared that the command will not rest until smuggling is brought to the barest minimum.
.He however enjoins the patriotic citizens to continue with their legitimate business in accordance with the extant laws as enshrined in the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).