By Adeniyi Adedeji, Ilorin.
The Operation Joint Border Drill consisting of the Nigerian Customs Service, the Nigerian military, the Police and other security agencies have arrested some foreigners crossing Nigerian border with arms and ammunitions on them.
The Coordinator of the North Central Zone of the operation in Ilorin, Customs Deputy Comptroller Mohammed Garba, who briefed journalists, said those arrested were Beninoise and Nigerians.
He said that arrested include: ”Seven Beninoise and 13 Nigerien illegal migrants with three long single barrel guns, knives and three cutlasses at Lokoja in the zone” had already been handed over to “B” Division Police Station, Lokoja, Kogi State.
Garba said other foreign nationals were arrested and found with long single barrel guns, eight life cartridges and one locally made pistol on them at Kotangora axis of Niger State, and they had also been handed over to the “A” Division Police Station, Kotangora.
At the press briefing in Ilorin, the Operation Border Drill Coordinator paraded fleet of cars seized from smugglers stuffed with contrabands in an attempt to bring the items into the country with the vehicles
He said that the 57 vehicles of various types were intercepted, carrying foreign rice, bales of second hand clothes and clothing materials, groundnut oil, foreign cosmetics and tin tomatoes.
Garba added that some foreign nationals were also arrested at the borders, trying to cross into Nigeria with arms in their custody and they had been handed over to the police for proper investigation and prosecution.
He disclosed that “the Joint Border Operations team is always in military mood to ensure total compliance that will translate to effective revenue generation, suppression of smuggling, facilitation of legitimate trade and protecting our national security.”
Meanwhile, Garba said the team would also employ dialogue processes with borders communities and all stakeholders with an aim to achieving the goals for which the operation was established.
He said, “We will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public for the reasons behind border closure, which is aimed at social and economic stability of our dear nation.
“On the other hand, enforcement of government policies will always be accorded utmost priority with strict adherence to extant laws and guidelines.”
Expressing appreciation to all the security agencies in the team, as well as the people who he said had been cooperating with the him to record huge successes, Garba said, “We commend the synergy we are receiving from sister agencies, opinion leaders, head of traditional institutions, media, eminent personalities and other law abiding members of the public.
“We will continue to count on your support in the discharge of our statutory functions.”