Customs Area Controller in charge of Seme border, Mr Sam Aneke has advised indigenes and residents of the border to desist from aiding smuggling and engage in legitimate businesses even across and within the border area.
Aneke, a Comptroller gave this advise last week when briefing journalists about the arrest of some foreigners who were smuggling some prohibited items into Nigeria from neighbouring Benin Republic.
The Customs boss recalled that smugglers were assisted by some indigenes and residents of the border community in an attempt to thwart efforts of customs personnel, but added that he had to call for reinforcement from the Federal operations unit in Ikeja and the Police before his officers and men could effect the arrest of the smugglers and the prohibited items.
He said upon his assumption of office as the controller, he went to the traditional rulers in all the communities around the border to solicit for their cooperation.
“I took two weeks to go to their houses, to the traditional rulers, they called their people, we spoke to them, we told them what does it pay you to spend all your live smuggling and you still remain poorer”, he stated.
“Why don’t you become a clearing agent or an importer, there so many people around here who are clearing agents, go to them, learn this trade than going to one bush or the other”, he counselled, even as he disclosed that he had met with Customs and Police authorities in Benin Republic to assist in unravelling all those who were behind the recent operations which also led to an officer sustaining severe injuries and many Customs and officers’ personal vehicles being seriously damaged.
The Area Controller explained that one of the command’s official vehicles (an auxiliary Jeep) and the personal vehicles of the officers that were used in tracking the smugglers were severly damaged.
He disclosed that five suspects including a Beninoise, a Ghanaian and three Nigerien have been arrested in connection with the offence and added that other who are at large were being tracked down.