Nigeria Customs insists countries must comply before reopening borders

Nigeria Customs boss, Col Ahmed Ali (rtd)

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has insisted that neighbouring countries must provide guarantee on full adherence before the borders can be reopened.

Nigeria, under a joint Exercise Swift Response, began a partial closure of the borders across four geopolitical zones since August 2019.

Col. Ali revealed this on Monday at the Customs headquarters in Abuja after marking the 2020 International Customs Day tagged, “Customs Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet.”

“We are still talking with them. There are parameters of understanding. We have reached certain understanding. We are not only talking about Nigeria, we are also asking them to ensure that their borders are also fortified from our own illicit trafficking.

“I believe that as soon as we are able to get to them, we will relax certain things at the borders. For now, we are still conducting our partial border closure under the drill,” the CGC said.

Meanwhile, during the Customs Day commemoration, Ali said the border closure drill has boosted local production and manufacturing.

“These opportunities have stimulated more economic activities as farmers are enjoying unprecedented patronage, farms are being expanded and job opportunities provided,” Ali stated.

He said Customs intercepted illicit cash flows through airports and other trade endangered areas in 2019, and generated N1.34 trillion.

The CGC said figure exceeded its N937bn target by N404bn, adding that the revenue target for 2020 will be announced soon.

Instituted by the World Customs Organization (WCO), International Customs Day is held on January 26, which commemorates the day in 1953 when the inaugural session of the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) was held in Brussels, Belgium.

The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, in a speech to mark the day, urged Customs to ensure “expeditious implementation of the WCO framework of standards on cross-border and e-commerce as well as reduce the impact of counterfeiting and piracy to prevent unfair competition.”

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