Out-going Area Controller of the Seme/Badagry border Command, Compt Dera Nnadi, mni today outlined most of the feats recorded by the Command since his assumption of office in January this year.
Sign posted with various quality seizures, Nnadi showcased hundreds of parcels/ cartons of drugs, including cannabis sativa, tramadol, adding that within the year, the command seized fake six million US dollars, equivalent of N2.7 billion.
Other contraband include 16 trailer loads of foreign parboiled rice with Duty paid value of N312, 242,064.93.
Also 415,050 litres of premium motor spirit valued at N738,276,461, while 15,389 General merchandise cargoes, and other assorted items featured. On the revenue generation, more than N1.9 billion has been raked in during the period under consideration.
He said Seme Area Command advantageously lies on the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor (ALCO) which connects Lagos-Cotonou-Lomé-Accra-Abidjan. With a population of over 350 million people, this corridor and indeed the Command accounts for about 70 per cent of the transit traffic in the ECOWAS sub-region.
This route is also a component of the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya (LAKAJI) corridor which extends from Lagos through Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Kastina states in Nigeria. The LAKAJI corridor compliments the trade route from Abidjan through Cotonou to Niamey and even to Libya and Egypt. The significant of this corridor as an economic, cultural and political platform for regional integration of West Africa cannot be over emphasized.
Gentlemen of the Press, Seme Area Command is the platform for the sustenance of the regional integration expected to be driven through the ECOWAS Protocol on the free movement of persons, goods, and services, the implementation of the various trade policies of the sub-region and the continent especially the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and the emerging African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The objective of the ETLS and AfCFTA is to liberalise trade by abolishing customs duties and fees on imports and exports and the elimination of non-tariff barriers among member states. It is intended to achieve unhindered market access to the countries of the sub-region. Seme Area Command has worked assiduously to ensure that the region optimises this expectation.
Among the trade blocks in Africa, the ECOWAS region has a population of 428.6 million people and ranks second in Africa after East Africa region with a population of 474.9 million people. It is expected that the potential inherent in this advantageous position will be translated to increased trade among countries of the ECOWAS subregion especially between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin with a combined population of nearly 250 million people.
Sadly, ECOWAS ranks fourth at 10 per cent when it comes to trade within the African Continent. Southern African Development Community (SADC) with a population of 69.2 million people ranks first in trading among themselves at 32. 12 percent, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) at 20.32 per cent, and Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) at 16.59 per cent. This is an indication that the ECOWAS region is yet to maximize the gains of ETLS. Again, this underscores the level of our limited preparedness for the African Continental Fre Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Several factors have been adjudged to hamper trade (between Nigeria and her proximate neighbour) within the sub-region especially transit trade across the countries and along the corridor. There have been several complaints by operators against the closure of the borders, the non-adherence to transit agreements signed under the ECOWAS, World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff.
Gentlemen of the Press, upon my assumption of duty on the 23 of January, 2023, I pledged to adopt new strategies to boost trade while enforcing the nation’s anti-smuggling laws along the Abidjan Lagos Corridor (ALCO) in line with the ECOWAS protocols on free movement of goods and persons.
I also promised along with officers and men to encourage compliant traders along the corridor bearing in mind the challenges of the JBP as one that is still recovering from the effects of the border closure. We have kept faith with that as will be explained in due course.
It is important to note that the Nigeria 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures by the Federal Ministry of Finance lifted the ban on export of goods imported into Nigeria hitherto prohibited under item 8 Schedule 6 of the Common External Tariff. It is hoped that our stakeholders take full advantage of this gesture while our brothers from other countries in the sub-region particularly the Republic of Benin will reciprocate this gesture where there are existing trade barriers.
It is gratifying to note that the CGC and the government of both countries and the stakeholders are all on the same page regarding the need to improve our relationship with a view to maximize the opportunities offered by the proximity of our two countries to the border and develop trade along the corridor.
Gentlemen of the Press, this address will not be complete without mentioning notable impacts made by the Command in our key performance indicators which are revenue collection and anti-smuggling operations.
The revenue target for the Command for the year 2023 is One Billion Nine Hundred and Sixty Million Naira Only. As at this morning the 8th of September, 2023 the Command has collected One Billion Nine Hundred and Four Million, Four Hundred and Fifty-Nine Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety Naira, Seventy Seven Kobo (N1,904,459, 390.77) only. This represents 97.2% of N1,960,000,000 allotted target for the year 2023.
In the corresponding period under review for year 2022, the revenue was Eight Hundred and Eighty Five Million, Five Hundred and Forty Three Thousand, Ninety Eight Naira Eleven Kobo (N885,543,098.11) The implication is that the Commands revenue profile witnessed a tremendous increase of N1, 018,916, 292. 33 (51.98%).
This was a result of painstaking efforts made by the leadership of the Command in partnership with our stakeholders to ensure compliance with our revenue generation agenda.
In the area of anti-smuggling operation, you are already conversant with our past headline seizures (fake six million US dollars equivalent to two billion seven hundred million (N2.7 B) Naira). This is in addition to other notable seizures recorded between January and August 2023 and listed below:
Six Thousand Five Hundred and Sixty Nine (9500) 50kg bags of rice equivalent to sixteen (16) trailer loads of foreign parboiled rice with Duty Paid Value of N312, 242, 064.93k.
13, 835 x 30 liters Jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit equivalent to 415, 050 liters or 13 petroleum tankers with Duty Paid Value of 738,276, 461k. 15,389 of General Merchandise Goods. Hard Drugs and Narcotics:
41 parcels of Cannabis Sativa 4,900 Tablets 225mg of Tramadol Tamol-X
3,600 Tablets 225mg Tramadol Royal 225
157 Tablets of Heineken Ecstacy
864 Packs of Cigarette. In the same vein, Officers and Men of the Command acting on credible intelligence intercepted One Thousand Three Hundred and Sixty Four (1,364) 30 Liters Jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit equivalent to forty thousand eight hundred (40,800) litres over one Tanker Load and with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of (N24, 663, 355) only at the early hours of Friday 8th September, 2023 along the Badagry Coast
The duty paid value for items seized for the period January to 8th Septmeber 2023 is One Billion, Eight Hundred and Twenty Seven Million, Three Hundred and Sixty Two Thousand, Six Hundred and Nineteen Niara (1, 827, 362, 619. 00)
In addition to the above, in line with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) dictate of encouraging its personnels, the Officers and Men of the Command that were involved in the seizures of fake Six million USD ($6,000,000) currency, Fifteen (15) fake international passports and Ten (10) Driver’s license, and that of Donkey skins in January, 2023 have been commended by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, dsm, fnipr, psc (+).