Lagos — The Nigeria Customs Service has said it will raid more warehouses and car marts across the country where smuggled or prohibited goods are kept.
He stated this over the weekend when he received members of the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) who paid him a courtesy visit at the Unit's headquarters in Lagos.
Speaking to members of SCAN, the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Uba while making reference to section 147 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) said the law empowers Customs to search any warehouse where there is reasonable suspicion that prohibited goods are kept.
The Controller, also blamed ignorance of residents of border communities who see smuggling as legitimate business as the challenge faced by the Unit in its effort to curtail illegal border trades and other forms of smuggling.
He said the lack of knowledge is the reason why people see customs officials as enemies and sometimes attack them while carrying out their legitimate duty.
He however noted that the challenge will not deter the unit from performing its statutory responsibility of suppressing smuggling.
He called on the media to support the Service in the fight against smuggling by educating and enlightening the public on the dangers of smuggling.
"It is because of ignorance people living in the border communities feel and believes smuggling is a legitimate business. Customs is a constituted authority by the government but to our surprise, the whole community will just come and be attacking us. Because we collect tax, people see us as enemies.
"It is the media and some individuals who understand that smuggling is dangerous. So we must continue to educate ourselves and that is why we are soliciting the support of the media to educate people that smuggling is injurious to the economy.
"I have also been talking to my colleagues at the borders by advising them on customs community relation activity. We advise them and they set up such communities and advise them on what to do.
"Smuggling is a war not only for customs but all of us. For example, look at the issue of rice. What is the point bringing in rice when we can locally produce this rice or bring them through the port, this are some of the issues we are facing but that will not deter us from doing our work," he said.
Uba said the Unit has also devised other means to curb smuggling.