The acting comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi, wants enhanced collaboration with the Nigerian Army in real operational activities to tackle trans-border security threats.
Mr Adeniyi made the request when he led the management team of NSC on a courtesy visit to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja on Monday in Abuja.
He said the NCS had maintained a cordial relationship with the army in many areas, such as training and distributing relief materials, among others, adding that the current security situation across Nigeria’s borders required deeper collaboration.
According to Mr Adeniyi, apart from the revenue collection role of the NCS, the service also performs other responsibilities, including, but not limited to, fighting smuggling and facilitating trade.
He further listed other areas as collaboration with other government agencies to enhance public safety, public order, and forestalling breakdown of law and order.
He said the service, however, needed to draw on the strength of other agencies to present a formidable force against enemies of the state, as the nature and complexity of crimes had taken different dimensions over the years.
Mr Adeniyi stressed that the service had dealt with cross-border crimes such as smuggling of prohibited items and others in the last years.
“So we, therefore, find ourselves perpetually in the situation where we stand stronger when we work together and collaborate with other government agencies,” he said.
Mr Adeniyi said there was a need to begin to expose the officers to joint training operations with the Nigerian Army and building scenarios that were available in the border areas.
He also requested the support of the army in distributing relief items that were forfeited to internally displaced persons, orphanages, and places where the poorest of the poor Nigerians lived.
Responding, Mr Lagbaja said the Nigerian Army and the NSC had a long history of collaboration, adding that they could further expand the frontiers of such partnerships.
The COAS commended the NCS for cooperating with the army in clearing military platforms imported into the country.
On the possible area of collaboration, the COAS said that the army would ensure focus on border areas to show presence and deter criminals that might want to smuggle contraband into the country.
He urged the customs boss to approve the repair of the NCS Jetty in Cross River, which he said had become somewhat detached from the body of water.