Customs Launch two service vessels to intercept smugglers on waterways

Sea-going vessel

By Sandra Chukwunyere

Following the boost of the ongoing Ex Swift response exercise by the Nigerian Customs Service which has led to the increase in numbers of smuggled items retrieved by the Customs in the past few weeks on the Nigerian land borders, the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has  to additionally commissioned two sea going vessels in order to stem the tide of smuggling through the Nigerian territorial waters.Speaking during the commissioning of Nigeria Customs Service Vessels, yesterday, Lagos, Comptroller General, CG, NCS, Col. Hameed Ali, pointed out that Nigeria’s dependency on non oil revenue is hugely affected by the smuggling activities which must be curbed to it barest minimum. In his statement, “Nigeria’s quest for non oil revenue is largely dependent on the ability of the service to fight smuggling and bring it to its barest minimum. Experience has shown that whenever smugglers face stiff resistance by NCS anti smuggling operatives on land, they turn to the waterways to carry out their illegal trade.“Unfortunately, before now the service has been weak on the water arising from the lack of sea going vessels to effectively checkmate smugglers on the high sea. The situation led to the death of nine Customs marine officers while confronting deadly petrol smugglers on the sea in 2014.“It is in honour of this group of nine gallant soldiers who died in the service of their fatherland that one of the two sea going vessels is named “Group of Nine” while the other has been named “Customs Pride” representing the customs pride on the sea.“The commissioning of these two sea going vessels will make us equipped with the necessary firepower and other requirements for long time water patrol in line with the ongoing representation of the service to deliver its mandate to the nation. With these vessels, I hope smugglers will no longer take advantage of NCS vulnerability on water to smuggle in contrabands. NCS can now sail to interdict them right on the high sea”.Present at the event were various dignitaries in the maritime and defense sector.

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