The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it will soon deploy drones at the Seme border in Lagos state for effective patrol and to check smuggling activities.
Modupe Aremu, NCS zone A coordinator and an assistant comptroller-general (ACG), disclosed this on Monday, during a working visit to the Seme area command.
According to her, border management surveillance will be done electronically through the use of drones to ensure that there is an aerial overview of the border.
“Seme command visit is the end of my tour in zone A, and I must commend all the commands. They account for over 80 per cent of revenue collection by the NCS and so they should keep up the good work,” Aremu said.
“With the tour of all commands, I have seen that all the officers are doing well but they can do better. And I am telling them that they should expect impromptu visits from the zonal coordinator. So, they should not relax on the job.
“Also, e-customs N300 billion contract, that is, end-to-end automation that is about to kick-off, is about information and communication technology connectivity. When it comes on board, we are going to have an electronic signature, drones patrolling the border.”
She said the service is trying to minimise person-to-person contact to reduce human interaction and make the work faster and more efficient.
Aremu asked the customs officers to keep abreast of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol in order to understand procedures.
On enforcement activities, she urged the command to keep up the work done as the country needs the service to properly secure its borders.
She expressed hope that the scanner at the border would start functioning to help simplify processes as much as possible.
She also asked the command to ensure proper compilation of case files and prosecution of arrested suspects to show the seriousness of the service in fighting smuggling.
In his remarks, Bello Jibo, customs area comptroller, Seme area command, said enforcement activities were not affected by the border closure as the command intercepted 1,244 suspected smuggled goods with duty paid value of over N856 million.
He also highlighted areas of collaboration between the NCS and the host community.
“The command has a very good understanding with the host community and in cementing this relationship. The command built and handed over a modern toilet facility to the Badagry West Development Area and partnered with an NGO to equip the Badagry United Football Club,” he said.
“The challenges faced has to do with ICT interconnectivity at the joint border patrol, signing of a bilateral agreement, the connection of the barracks to the national grid, and inadequate junior staff.”