Communities at the Ogun State border with Benin Republic, are demanding a quota for their jobless youths in the ongoing recruitment of new personnel by the Nigeria Customs Service. Traditional rulers in the communities, says the proposed quota will create jobs for their youths, and help to reduce the spate of smuggling activities across Nigeria-Benin border in the axis. Comptroller of Ogun one command of Nigeria Customs in Ogun State, Dike Nnamdi said the request was made during his visit to several communities in Ogun West to mobilize support against the rising cases of smuggling across borders in the area.
The comptroller, addressing a news conference at Idiroko, said his command had forwarded their requests to the customs headquarters in Abuja.
The customs comptroller also said the customs patrol no longer shoot sporadically while chasing smugglers across the border communities to avoid casualties. According to Nnamdi, the advice of Governor Dapo Abiodun to the customs to stop shooting within the communities while chasing smugglers has brought a new lease of life in the area.
He also announced that the command realized revenue totaling N43.9 million from the auction sale of seized petroleum products and scrap metals between January 2021 and January this year.
A total of 1,389 seizures of contraband were made by the command during the period with a duty paid value of N1.37 billion, raising the grand total for the period at N1.48 billion.
Items impounded by the command included 60,766 bags of 50 kilogramme of smuggled Rice, 27 used vehicles, 258 units of means of conveyance and foreign used. Other items seized during the period were poultry products, used tyres, second hand clothing, dangerous drugs, palm oil, assorted soaps and creams, vegetable oils.
Meanwhile, residents and traders in the Ogun State border with Benin Republic at Idiroko, have pleaded for the re-opening of the border. They said the border shut since August 20, 2019, is inflicting untold economic hardship on them and killing businesses in the area.
The residents, speaking to newsmen on Monday in Idi Iroko, said the border closure had resulted into the loss of jobs and relocation of businesses elsewhere.
Their spokesman, Alhaji Tajudeen Adetayo, said the indiscriminate erection of barricades by armed customs and other security officers and extortion, is scaring investors away and killing genuine businesses. He also complains that the ban of sales of petrol within a 20-kilometer radius of the border communities since November 6, 2019 had fueled the smuggling of petrol into the axis. Adetayo also accused armed security personnels of raiding homes at night, harassing women in the guise of searching for smuggled items. General Secretary of Federation of Informal Workers Organisation of Nigeria (FIWON) Gbenga Komolafe who also addressed newsmen also called for the immediate lift of ban on the sale of petroleum products in the border communities in the absence of electricity supply in some of the areas.