Nigeria’s border security officials under Operation SWIFT RESPONSE (OSR) have commenced a joint patrol team with their counterparts from the Republics of Benin and Niger.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said that OSR has transformed into Nigeria’s Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT), in a renewed effort to combat transnational crimes along the borders of the three countries.
According to a statement by the NCS spokesman, Mr. Joseph Attah, DC, yesterday, “In a renewed effort to combat smuggling, irregular migration and other transitional organised crimes along the nation’s border coupled with the gradual reopening of the borders, Operation SWIFT RESPONSE (OSR) which was launched in August 2019 and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has transformed into Nigeria’s Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) as part of a Tripartite Operation, comprising Benin, Niger, and Nigeria.”
The Nigeria Customs also clarified that despite the re-opening of the borders for commercial activities, “items such as parboiled rice, frozen chicken, illicit drugs, among others remain prohibited.
NCS said that a year and four months into the operation, the smuggling of illicit drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons used to exacerbate Violent Extremism and Terrorism in some parts of the country had been significantly curbed.
“This is in addition to the quantum of seizures of prohibited items and numbers of arrested irregular migrants as the operation progresses.
“As at 5 January 2021;1,401 irregular migrants had been arrested while the total seizures were; 159,506.7-(50kg) bags of parboiled foreign rice; 10,447 bags of NPK fertilizer used for making explosives; 1,974 Vehicles; 895 motorcycles; 18,690.3 Jerricans of Vegetable Oil, among other seized items.
“The total monetary value of the apprehended items is about Twelve Billion, Five Hundred and Thirty-Eight Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-Three Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty Five Naira Fifty Kobo(₦12,538,333,545.50).”
Customs said that the priority of the patrol team remained security of the nation by stopping any item that could compromise the nation’s interests.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) was said to have applauded the commitment of the security operatives to the national assignment and urged them to ensure the realization of the objectives of their assignment.