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Customs to deploy drones at borders to check smuggling

A Drone

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), says plans are ongoing to deploy drones and other technologically advanced facilities around the country’s borders to curb smuggling.

The Public Relations Officer of Customs, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that technology will help tackle the menace.

He said one of the major ways in that regard is to deploy “technology like drones, non-intrinsic inspection at the borders and a lot of other things that are in the pipeline.”

Bomodi said progress had been made with regard to the concession agreement or modernisation agreement with Huawei and other technical partners in that regard.

According to him, the development will enhance the process of accessing potential danger as well as how to tackle them.

On calls in some quarters for the deployment of more manpower at the borders, the Customs spokesperson said the borders were too large to be fully covered by the staff alone.

“If you take everybody that presently works in the military and paramilitary to hold hands across all the borders in Nigeria, you will not be able to come up to ten per cent of our borders. That is how huge this country is and how tough the terrain which we operate is.

“However, we do know that when you introduce technology into the scheme of things, you are going to achieve a lot more.”

According to him, there is no doubt that the Service has plans to keep expanding its staff base but it is not the individuals that will make the desired impact.

Funding operations

“It is the technology that will be deployed to support these individuals that will make the kind of impact we know will go a very long way.”

However, we do know that when you introduce technology into the scheme of things, you are going to achieve a lot more.

On funding of the Service to deliver on its mandate, Bomodi said there was the need for more funding to expand its strategies to curb crimes and generate more revenue.

“We are talking about innovation in the kind of services that we provide and it costs a lot of money.

“We are talking about the welfare of officers which comprises the provision of adequate accommodation, adequate transportation, proper offices and a myriad of other things. Even vehicles that help them operate under all kinds of terrains in all kinds of environments.

“All these things cost money and we cannot say no to that because the more we can get the more we will achieve,” he said.

NAN reports that Nigeria with a landmass of more than 900,000 square kilometres, shares boundaries with 15 countries.

Some of the countries are the Republics of Niger, Benin, Chad and Cameroon.

The NCS is an independent body under the supervisory oversight of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

It is saddled with the responsibility of collecting customs revenue, facilitation of national and international trade as well as curtailing smuggling activities. (NAN)

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