BY FUNMI ALUKO
The Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, yesterday paid a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, where both leaders discussed and sought inter agencies collaboration for both economic, human and security of properties.
After the Customs boss congratulated the IGP on his appointment by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, he expressed the commitment of NCS at joining forces with the police to fight the challenges of insecurity, nationwide.
A release by the Customs National Public Relations Officer, CSC Aliyu Maiwada stated the CGC also assured the IGP that Nigeria Customs is willing to learn more from the Nigeria Police Force in areas of investigation and other operational areas through coordinated capacity-building programs.
“Criminal activities are inter-connected, thus a need for the two security agencies to collaborate to mitigate the menace of smuggling, which will help the Nigeria Customs Service to generate revenue for the nation. I will therefore request to build a strong relationship between the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Police Force.” The CGC said.
According to him, the major issues that bother the two organizations can be mitigated through the sharing of intelligence to help achieve a common goal in the fight against criminals.
In particular, the statement quoted the CGC as also briefed the Ag. IGP on the menace of the proliferation of checkpoints along the Lagos Mile 2, Seme Border axis, while challenging agencies responsible on the need to look into the possibility of rationalizing the checkpoints.
This is even as the CGC said that the Nigeria Customs Service is considering using geospatial intelligence to monitor the borders. According to the statement, the customs leadership also expressed the willingness of the Nigeria Customs Service to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Service and the Nigeria Police Force, to impact areas of collaboration.
Responding, the IGP described the CGC’s visit to the Force Headquarters as timely, affirming his readiness to unanimously establish a solid working relationship with the Nigeria Customs Service. The IGP, who congratulated the CGC on his appointment, appreciated his vibrant steps of re-branding the Service.
He said, “Your bold steps to uplift the organization is well recognized by Nigerians, and you will surely succeed. You are coming at a time that the Nigeria Police Force is committed to having strong collaboration with other security agencies. I want to inform you that we also share the vision of having a strong platform where all Services will interact, share intelligence and leverage on our different expertise.”
He told the CGC that the best time to actualize the synergy is now, adding that the Nigeria Police Force is determined to form a system that appropriately responds to the dynamics of criminalities in the Country.
Corroborating the CGC’s call on the state of Mile 2-Seme Checkpoints, the Ag. IGP proposed the need to constitute a joint tour of the area, adding that “I will also be paying unscheduled visits to Mile 2-Seme axis.”
The brilliant and enthusiastic IGP assured that the Nigeria Police Force would commit to dismantling illegal checkpoints on the affected roads, even as he promised to take their partnership to the crest, adding that synergy is required to fight criminals and criminalities in identified strategic places.
In a related development, the Customs helmsman has unveiled another roadmap towards simplifying trade in Nigeria through fast-tracking of compliant traders in line with the World Customs Organization protocol.
The project tagged ‘Authorised Economic Operators’ (AEO) has the protection of the new Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and will be designed to systematically identify tolerable risks affecting the importation of legitimate goods into Nigeria.
During a presentation on the modalities of implementation at Customs Headquarters Abuja, Adeniyi re-echoed his commitment to tackling challenges be-devilling trade facilitation in Nigeria; noting that compliant traders and businesses of significant benefits who embrace the system will benefit from the innovation, assuring that it will be a game-changer in the realm of trade facilitation.
The process, which is expected to improve security and efficiency in fast-tracking goods, will reduce turnaround time for importers and double up the chances of generating revenue, which according to CGC, will strengthen the mutual recognition between the Service and stakeholders.