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Nigeria Customs set to adopt satellite imagery, drones to tackle smuggling


Nigeria Customs set to adopt satellite imagery, drones to tackle smuggling

Story from Haruna YUSUF

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), has revealed that in tackling the economic sabotage in the country’s borders, the agency will soon adopt the use of satellite imagery, geospatial, drones and others.

The Customs boss made the revelation in his speech at a two-day retreat organised by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) in Badagry, with the theme “Enhancing Capacity/Efficiency in Modern News Reportage”.

While noting that efforts are being made to tackle the illegal activities of notorious smugglers, Colonel Ali warned that the service will not have mercy on anyone caught in the act irrespective of his or her position in the society.

Also speaking on service single-window system, he insisted that the policy will continue to improve movement of goods, eliminate time wastage, reduce associated cost burdens and maximise efficiency, while safeguarding legitimate trade.

The CGC emphasised that Customs is taking the lead and working regularly with other relevant agencies to ensure proper implementation of the single-window system for trade facilitation, as part of its modernisation project.

According to him, the single-window system is a trade facilitation concept, which allows an international trader submit information to a single platform, rather than having to deal with multiple agencies in different locations to obtain necessary papers, permits and clearances to complete their import or export processes.

While explaining that Nigeria is still struggling to fully implement the concept, the CGC revealed that the policy has been assisting in business transactions, which helps save time and is recognised by the World Customs Organization (WCO), as well as other trade-related organisations.

“The Nigerian government agencies involved in the process include: Customs, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit,” he said.

The Customs CG who was represented by the agency’s National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, said that the Service has been working hard and carrying along all agencies involved in the trade process to make it work as expected.

He stressed further that the objective remains the improved movement of goods, eliminating time wastage, reducing associated cost burdens and maximising efficiency, while safeguarding legitimate trade.

“The issue of single window is one of the WCO trade facilitation areas which has to do with coordination and cooperation among agencies. It is one of the key areas if we really want to take trade seriously in Nigeria. The effort is on and we are hopeful of achieving that.

“It is not a core responsibility of the Customs alone to achieve this, so many agencies need to come together so that we can have good interaction between us. I think this kind of interface is been championed by the Customs. If you look at our system, it embraces sister agency collaboration so that cargoes can be moved effectively,” he added.

The NCS commended AMJON for hosting the event, stating that journalism is an important and highly regarded profession that helps to propagate the activities of the Service.

Among the PROs present at the event were Seme Command, Hussaini Abdullahi; PTML Command, Muhammad Yakubu; Ogun 1 Command, Hameed Oloyede; FOU Zone ‘A’, Theophilus Duniya; Western Marine Command, Mailafia Magaji; Murtala Muhammed Airport Cargo Command, VU Ogagbor.

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