In the past 14 months, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it has seized 159,506 bags of 50kg polished foreign rice from smugglers at the land borders.
The Public Relations Officer, NCS, Joseph Attah, in a statement on Friday said this was one of the achievements of the Operation Swift Response (OSR), which was launched in August 2019 to combat smuggling, irregular migration and other transnational organised crimes along the border.
Other seized items as of January 5, 2021, according to him, are 10,447 bags of NPK fertilizer used for making explosives; 1,974 vehicles, 895 motorcycles and 18,690 jerry cans of vegetable oil, among other items.
He stated that 1,401 irregular migrants had been arrested in relation to the seizures.
According to Attah, the total monetary value of the seized items is about ₦12.54bn.
“A year and four months into the operation, the smuggling of illicit drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons used to exacerbate violent extremism and terrorism in some parts of the country have been significantly curbed,” he said.
He added, “This is in addition to the quantum of seizures of prohibited items and numbers of arrested irregular migrants as the operation progresses.”
Attah added that the OSR was coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser but had transformed into Nigeria’s Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) as part of a tripartite operation, comprising Benin, Niger and Nigeria.
He stressed that with the reopening of the borders for commercial activities, items such as parboiled rice, frozen chicken, illicit drugs, among others remain prohibited.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), in a goodwill message to the transformed OSR, applauded the unflinching commitment of the security operatives to the national assignment, and urged them not to rest on their oars.
The NSA stated that the joint patrols would be adequately administered, charging the operatives to display a high level of professionalism during the operation with their neighbouring counterparts.
He said this was because Nigeria had a widely acclaimed track record of security operations not just at the ECOWAS level, but the world at large.
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