The Nigeria Customs Service says smuggling thrives in Nigeria because her borders are too many and porous for a little over 15,000 customs officers to police.
The Comptroller-General of Customs Col. Hameed Ali, retired, said this at the presentation of the service’s 2021 budget before the House Committee on Customs Service on Thursday in Abuja.
The Customs proposed a budget of N242.45 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.
Ali said that it was worrisome that smuggling often happened in border communities where most of the residents had no feel of governance and therefore bare no allegiance to the Nigerian government.
He said that those residents would rather bear their allegiance to smugglers because of lack of government presence in the border communities, stressing that the NCS would continue to do its best to police the nation’s borders.
“I feel their pain, in some cases, they have to cross the border to go to school and also fetch water because there is no government presence,” he.
He said that the war against smugglers should not be left to the NCS alone, adding that other security agencies should be involved in the fight against smuggling.
The Comptroller-General noted that the procurement of three mobile scanners for it by the Ministry of Finance would further enhance its surveillance and security at the country’s borders.
Ali also disclosed that the three scanners purchased would be deployed to Apapa, Tin can Island and Port Harcourt, adding that the scanner would be used to improve its work.
Rep Leke Abejide, the Chairman of the committee, said that the committee was interested in the 2020 budget performance of the Customs as it was one of the major agencies of revenue generation in the country.