Nigeria’s Borders To Remain Closed Till Next Year

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…Customs Says Partial Borders Closure To continue Until Objectives Achieved

 

President Buhari approves the extension of border closure to achieve more strategic objectives.
Nigerian land borders have been partially closed since August 2019, with neighbouring countries till January 31, 2020.

The presidential directive was announced in a memo, which Victor Dimka, the Deputy Comptroller of Customs in charge of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspectorate conveyed to the Sector Coordinators.

The memo with reference number NCS/ENF/ABJ/221/S.45, and marked “Restricted” was dated November 1, 2019.

According to the memo which states that despite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved.

The memo further states that the closure of land borders was extended till January to achieve the strategic objectives of the exercise.

The memo reads in part, “I am directed to inform you that it is observed that despite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved.

“Against this background, Mr. President has approved the extension of the exercise to January 31, 2020. “Consequently, you are requested to convey the development to all personnel for their awareness and guidance.

“Meanwhile, allowance for personnel sustenance and fuelling of vehicles for the period of extension will be paid as soon as possible. “This is for your information and necessary action, please.”

The Federal Government partially closed the land borders with neighbouring countries in August to address smuggling activities in the border areas.

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Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says the partial border closure will continue untill the set objectives are achieved. The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali, said.

The customs’ Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah said this while reacting to the Service’s leaked memo in the media.

In an interview with in Abuja, Attah explained that the internal memo was referring to the end of a phase of the joint security operations known as “Ex Swift Response”.

According to him, the memo is not on the terminal date for the partial border closure. He said that security operation of this kind was usually in phases.

In a report the NCS Comptroller-General, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) had recently said the main objective of the border closure was to ensure that neighbouring countries complied with the ECOWAS protocols on transit.

Ali explained that the protocol on transit mandated customs in the neighbouring countries to escort items coming to Nigeria to the borders so the importers would not evade payment of duties.

The customs boss added that the closure of the borders had helped to reduce the incessant attacks by bandits. He said that the measure had also helped in curtailing the influx of arms and ammunition into the country.

The leaked memo by the Comptroller (Enforcement) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Victor Dimka, dated Nov. 1, circulating in the media had said that President Muhammadu Buhari had extended border closure to January 2020.

Dimka in the leaked internal memo said that the ongoing closure of the land borders had recorded an “overwhelming success.” He, however, said that there were some objectives yet to be achieved hence the extension.

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The memo reads: “I am directed to inform you that it is observed that in spite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved.

 “Against this background, Mr. President has approved the extension of the exercise to Jan. 31, 2020. “Consequently, you are requested to convey the development to all personnel for their awareness and guidance.

“Meanwhile, allowance for personnel sustenance and fuelling of vehicles for the period of extension will be paid as soon as possible. “This is for your information and necessary action, please.” the memo said.

 


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