… 697 illegal migrants arrested
The Nigeria Customs Service says that goods with a duty paid value of N7,350,818,657.70 have been seized in the last seven months since the partial closure of Nigeria’s international borders. And within the period, 697 illegal migrants were arrested.
Goods seized were 86,602-50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 695 bags of NPK fertilizer; 1,172 vehicles; 2,997 drums filled with PMS; 16,771 empty 200 litre Drums of PMS; 90 engine boats; 68 drums of groundnut oil; 26 trucks (33,000 litres) of PMS; 14,604 Jerricans of PMS; 656 motorcycles; 15,089 Jerricans of PMS, vegetable oil; among other items.
Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah, National Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service, made this known in a press statement issued by the Service.
Attah noted that the border closure has saved the country huge resources and enhanced national security as the agricultural sector has witnessed a boost.
According to him, ‘’Seven months into
the ongoing border drill for the partial border closure, codenamed ‘Exercise
SWIFT Response’, the exercise has continued to yield positive results. It has
saved the country huge resources and enhanced national security. For instance,
the importation of drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons
which usually fuel terrorism and other forms of criminality in the country have
been considerably curtailed. Meanwhile, the agricultural sector has also
received a boost due to the restriction placed on the importation of rice and
other prohibited food items.
‘’The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) which is coordinating the exercise has continued to record large numbers of seizures and arrests from the 4 sectors of the North-West, North-Central, South-West, and South-South geopolitical zones. As at 6th March 2020, 697 illegal migrants have been arrested while seizures include 86,602-50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 695 bags of NPK fertilizer; 1,172 vehicles; 2,997 drums filled with PMS; 16,771 empty 200 litre Drums of PMS; 90 engine boats; 68 drums of groundnut oil; 26 trucks (33,000 litres) of PMS; 14,604 Jerricans of PMS; 656 motorcycles; 15,089 Jerricans of PMS, vegetable oil; among other items. The estimated monetary value of the seizures is N7,350,818,657.70.
‘’Nonetheless, Nigeria remains
committed to ongoing diplomatic engagements to finding lasting solutions to the
concerns that necessitated the partial border closure. It would be recalled
that apart from the ongoing Tripartite Technical Committee meetings comprising
Nigeria, Benin and Niger Republic; Ministers in charge of ECOWAS Affairs and
Trade of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo met
on the 15 February 2020 at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to assess the partial
border closure and its impact on the sub-region. Overall, the government is
fully committed to the recommendations of the respective Committees.
‘’However, the priority remains to keep our borders safe from any inimical activity that would compromise our national interests and by extension our national security. We therefore thank all Nigerians, especially the business community for their continuous support.’’