The joint-border security exercise, code-named ‘Exercise Swift Response’, was ordered by the Federal Government and commenced on Aug. 20, 2019, to secure Nigeria’s land and water borders.
The Spokesman of Operation Swift Response, DC Joseph Attah, disclosed the achievement of the operations while addressing newsmen in Ilorin on Monday.
Attah said that the operation coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is aimed at better securing the borders to strengthen the economy and address other trans-border security concerns.
He said that in the area of security, the ongoing exercise had recorded a number of seizures and arrest that would have had grave security consequences.
“697 illegal immigrants have been arrested. Also, some items seized were 86,602 of 50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 1,172 vehicles; 2,997 drums filled with Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
“Others were 16,771 jerry cans of vegetable oil; 66,000 litres tanker of vegetable oil; 656 motorcycles; 15,089 jerry cans of PMS and 695 bags of NPK fertiliser used for making explosives,” he said.
Attah said that the estimated monetary value of the seized items is N7.35 billion, aside from the weapons recovered.
He said that 90 per cent of illicit drugs and weapons that were used for act of terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria came in through the nation’s porous borders, but with the partial closure, the act has been drastically reduced.
“This means that the arms and ammunitions these terrorists and criminal elements use no longer gain entry into the country.
“In addition, the drugs which affects the health and the wellbeing of Nigerians have equally been reduced,” Attah said.
The spokesman said that the partial closure had so far curbed the smuggling of foreign rice and other prohibited items, which had in other way increased the revenue generation.
“The Nigeria Customs Service daily revenue collection before the border closure was N5 billion, but we now collect N6 billion daily.
“This will in turn be used to build more infrastructures and develop critical sectors of the nation’s economy,” he said.
Attah said that the border closure had also curbed diversion of petroleum products from Nigeria to other countries.
“NNPC record shows 30 per cent drop in fuel consumption. Meaning; we have been subsidising fuel for our neighboring countries,” he added.
He said that government would continue to engage neighbouring countries on the need to comply with the ECOWAS protocol on transit.
“We will continue to seek the support of Nigerians, especially through the media, to ensure that the desired objectives of the exercise, that is to promote a secured, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria is fully achieved,” Attah said.