The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdulahi Dikko, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to come to the aid of his service in tackling the rising tide of smuggling in the country.
He said this on Wednesday during a courtesy call on the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, at the headquarters of the Commission in Abuja.
Mr. Dikko said smuggling of vehicles should no longer be blamed on innocent buyers but on the dealers. He threatened that Customs officers found harassing motorists over smuggling will henceforth be arrested.
“Innocent people are harassed along the road while driving their vehicles which they bought legitimately from car dealers. The dealers that really smuggled these cars are left displaying the vehicles along the road with impunity. I will like to seek the assistance of the EFCC to attack the disease rather than the symptoms. The person who bought such cars innocently does not deserve the harassment being meted out to him by our officers. Honestly, such harassment is illegal. I have sent a message to officers harassing innocent persons on this issue that they will also be arrested,” he said.
In his response, Mr. Lamorde expressed appreciation to Mr.Dikko for his visit and promised stronger inter-agency collaboration and support between the Customs and the EFCC. He commended the Customs boss over the visible improvement in revenue collection by his officers across the country and noted the cooperation extended to the Commission by Customs officers at various airports in checking the smuggling of counterfeit financial instruments to Europe and America.
The EFCC boss urged Mr. Dikko to be more proactive in making his officers check bulk cash shipment out of the country stressing that the practice was becoming embarrassing.
“We have made some few observations of recent, especially in the area of bulk cash shipment out of Nigeria. It is becoming a huge embarrassment for the country. I know that no single security arrangements in the airports can handle such situation. We have to come together in order to handle such embarrassing situation which is the affecting the image of Nigeria”, he said.
Mr. Lamorde therefore, suggested the designation of desk officers to handle relations between the two agencies, as their chief executives might be too busy to respond speedily to request for assistance.
Mr. Dikko was accompanied on the visit by Musa Tahir, Assistant Comptroller General, Headquarters; Mohammed Umar, legal adviser and Joseph Attah, Public Relations Officer.