Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Western Marine Command (WMC), Ibafon, Apapa, Lagos on a visiting CGC to CAC, listed out its wish to have to the Comptroller General of Customs.
AS a flagship of NCS anti-smuggling outfit in the waterways based in the South-West geo-political zone of the country, command requested that the provisions of the items on the list will enable it meet its statutory roles and responsibilities within command.
The wish list was presented by WMC Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Yusuf Umar to the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Colonel Hameed Ali (retired) during his recent visit to the command as part of his familiarisation tour of NCS formations in Lagos and its environs.
Among the needs of the command are more out stations to fulfill its mandate of curbing the activities of smugglers in the nation’s waterways, outstations to be located in Iyana Sashi and Ikorodu (Lagos State); Lokoja (Kogi); as well as Odo and Shaki in Oyo State.
Other demands include modern and efficient water patrol crafts like medium size boats and high-speed outboard engines to boost anti- smuggling operations as well as trucks for conveying seizures to the base and other utility vehicles for the outstations.
Umar also appealed to the CGC for the provision of accommodation (barracks) for men and officers the outstations who presently live in rented apartments which is risky to their lives.
He stated that for the command to actualise its set goals and objectives for WMC operations which gave room to the command to suppressing smuggling activities and enforcing other extant regulations as may be assigned to it from time to time.
He gave more insight that the operational areas of the command covered the South Western axis of the country, while enjoined the CGC to extend it to the North Western area of the country, particularly River Yauri in Kebbi State where the command presently has no outstation.
WMC boss explained further that other outstations include Idiroko (Ogun); Igbokoda (Ondo State); Yekeme, Bar Beach, Ijora and Badagry all in Lagos State.
On the achievements of WMC, Umar disclosed that the command had in the last 10 months made 35 seizures with a duty paid value (DPV) of N70.3 million.
According to him, the figure was approximately a 65 per cent increase compared with 30 seizures valued at N28.8 million recorded in 2014 before he assumed office.
“I had to sand fill the environment, reconstruct a drainage system into the shoreline as part of efforts to give the erstwhile swampy environment a face-lift. The command also installed a CCTV monitor to check movements and activities around the base as one of security measures put in place,” he said.
Continuing on the strides made by the command since he was appointed its CAC, Umar said: “We renovated and refurbished the CAC’s office complex and other offices and residential structures that were in completely obsolete state. We constructed a befitting medical clinic, fully equipped to cater for the health needs of our officers, who are always on the waters on patrol duties.
The command had to construct make-shift offices and residential quarters containing five offices and three rooms for the Customs Officers Wives Association (COWA) office/conference room and officers residential accommodation”.
Umar said that the temporary structures became necessary when the old buildings were demolished, even as he pointed out that the command had to repair 14 of its water crafts to boost its operations, while 112 officers and men were trained on how to handle AK 47 riffles.