The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has disclosed that seven months into the ongoing border drill for the partial border closure, codenamed ‘Exercise SWIFT Response’,697 illegal migrants have been arrested as at March 6, 2020.
This is just as it also noted that seizures that have been made include; 86,602-50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 695 bags of NPK fertilizer; 1,172 vehicles; 2,997 drums filled with PMS; 16,771 empty 200 litre Drums of PMS; 90 engine boats; 68 drums of groundnut oil; 26 trucks (33,000 litres) of PMS; 14,604 Jerricans of PMS; 656 motorcycles; 15,089 Jerricans of PMS, vegetable oil; among other items.
Making these known in a statement on Tuesday, the NCS Public Relations Officer, DC Joseph Attah, revealed that the estimated monetary value of the seizures is put at N7,350,818,657.70.
According to him, “The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) which is coordinating the exercise has continued to record large numbers of seizures and arrests from the 4 sectors of the North-West, North-Central, South-West, and South-South geopolitical zones.
“Nonetheless, Nigeria remains committed to ongoing diplomatic engagements to finding lasting solutions to the concerns that necessitated the partial border closure”.
He recalled that apart from the ongoing Tripartite Technical Committee meetings comprising Nigeria, Benin and Niger Republic; Ministers in charge of ECOWAS Affairs and Trade of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo met on February 15, 2020 at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to assess the partial border closure and its impact on the sub-region.
He noted that overall, the government is fully committed to the recommendations of the respective Committees, however, the priority remains to keep the borders safe from any inimical activity that would compromise national interests and by extension national security.
“We therefore thank all Nigerians, especially the business community for their continuous support”, Attah ended.