Customs unveils 18 patrol boats to curb smuggling
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), has launched 18 patrol boats to curb the activities of smugglers who use the streams and waterways as a safe haven for their illegal trade.
Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, who inaugurated the ships in Port Harcourt, said the 18 creeks patrol boats, made up of nine logistics support boats and nine gunboats whose parts were armored, should send clear signals to criminals that “the game is up.”
He said: “Unlike before, we now have flat-bottomed boats that can access streams even when the water has receded.
“Adding these ships to the Service Marine arsenal at a time when more smugglers are fleeing from land to water is just the right thing to do.
“This event undoubtedly marks the beginning of a renewed offensive against those who have chosen the creeks and waterways as a safe haven for their illegal trade,” he stated.
Ali, who also presented the Auto-Mobile Scanner at Onne Port, stated that the scanner would facilitate the service‘s activities, as it would scan no less than 20 containers in one hour and more than 480 containers in 24 hours.
He stated that the Federal Government has plans to bring 135 automobile scanners to curb smuggling, and help in the clearance of goods.
The customs boss called on well-intentioned individuals and organisations to provide the Nigerian Customs Service with credible information that would enable the interception and seizure of contraband items.
President of SEWA West Africa Limited, Murtala Mohammed, said that the submission of SW27GB and SW23BC to Nigeria Customs would help facilitate their operations in the Rivers streams and waterways.
Mohammed said the ships, built by SEWA West Africa Limited in Nigeria, were a laudable achievement by the Federal Government in local content policy.