By Eguono Odjegba
THE checkpoints mounted by different security agencies along every kilometer of the Seme/Badagary expressway may soon be dismantled by a joint security task force recently constituted to bring sanity to the axis.
Newly appointed Seme Customs Area Comptroller, Comptroller Bello Mohammed Jibo, who dropped the hint in Seme during a media briefing said the task force made up of personnel from the Customs, Army, Immigration, Police, Border Patrol, DSS, Civil Defence and others have the mandate to dismantle and engage in routine patrol of the axis to ensure that checkpoints are not indiscriminately mounted.
He stated: “The task force has the task of dismantling any illegal checkpoints and maintaining regular patrols to ensure that they are prevented from giving the customs and the entire security system a bad name.
“An Army Colonel is among the team, our Deputy Comptroller, Enforcement is also part of it, very soon they will begin operation to remove these illegal checkpoints so that the route is sanitized.
”It is a joint team created by the Seme Border Security Committee, so we are confident that it will succeed in removing these illegal checkpoints that is giving us bad image”, he said.
In the same vein, the Command recorded a total of 128 contraband seizures with a Duty Paid value of N182.9 million during and after the EndSARS protest.
Jibo listed the items seized to include vehicles, foreign rice, vegetable oil, vehicles, fuel, medicaments and general merchandise goods, said to be in violation of the extant Customs rules. The Customs boss said the items were smuggled from neighbouring Benin Republic through unapproved routes.
He explained further that the impressive performance was made possible through application of strategies put in place, including oiling the existing customs-host community relationship. His words: “In the wake to the recent EndSARS protest, the Command harnessed the existing cordial relationship with the host Communities at different levels through adequate and robust engagement with the aim of sustaining peace and tranquility within the nooks and crannies of the border area.
“The community was made to understand that NCS is a partner in progress and always ready to facilitate genuine and compliant traders for the progress and economic development of Nigeria.”
Jibo also explained that some criminal elements take undue advantage of the nation’s security system ‘espirit de corp’ relationship to smuggle in vehicles, by hosting military or police emblems in the vehicle interior, precisely on top of the dashboard or hooked to the roof and left dangling conspicuously.