From Victor Duruamaku, Owerri
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has arrested 239 illegal immigrants and also impounded a number of prohibited items worth over N2 billion.
The service also disclosed that it is insisting on the closure of Nations Borders with other country until further decision is taken on this by federal government .
The Deputy Controller of Customs and Spokesman of the Federal Government Strategic Communication Team Mr. Joseph Attah, disclosed this at a forum for narratives of the government’s action on the border closure which was held with representatives of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), those of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) as well as fish and poultry farmers at the NCS office in Owerri.
Mr. Attah said the items seized includes 4,321 bags of 50kg par boiled rice, 8,982 jerry cans of PMS (petrol), 399 vehicles, life cartridges and hard drugs explained that the borders were closed consequent upon the rampant flagrant abuse of officially established ECOWAS protocols by some neighbouring African countries as well as to secure, to build and to stimulate economic activities in the country.
The Customs image maker vowed that the closure of the borders would remain in force until such erring nations begin to abide by the ECOWAS protocols, stressing that the action was not targeted at any particular part of the country, neither was it based on regional, tribal or religious considerations.
“Flagrant abuse of established ECOWAS protocol is making our job difficult and we have raised this issue at various Customs fora with a number of MOUs written and signed to remedy the anomaly but all to no avail”. Nigerians are industrious and and business inclined but regrettably, everything produced here is believed to be inferior to foreign products and we find it difficult to support our local framers”.
Attah attributed the unhealthy development partly to international conspiracy against the nation and which is being engineered by the western world thereby inflicting inferiority complex mentality on the citizenry in addition to the penchant of the latter for foreign materials in place of locally manufactured products.
“Shoes manufactured in such places as Aba, Onitsha or Sokoto are usually labeled with foreign names and addresses to deceive and to attract unsuspecting buyers because the buyers themselves erroneously believe that foreign materials are better than those locally manufactured.
“China closed her borders for more than 30 years but today it is the bride of every nation”.
The Customs official regretted that Nigeria as a nation had been playing the role of a big brother to many African nations without getting anything in return, stressing that President Muhammadu Buhari was now more than ever determined to reverse the ugly trend in the interest of the nation’s economy.
“Until such African countries come back to the negotiating table and begin to meet the prescribed ECOWAS guidelines, we will not move an inch,” adding that Customs regional border patrol now places stronger
emphasis on bushes with porous borders now being handled with air surveillance and tight scrutiny.
“Closure of our borders by the federal government was informed by the need to benefit our local producers and to reward them for their hard work. The federal government through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) armed forces, the police, operatives of intelligent agencies had been pulled together to arrest this worrisome
development”, he stated.
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