Borders Closure: Customs Reacts To Leaked Internal Memo


The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is yet to set any date for the reopening of borders that have been partially closed since August.

The social media were rife on Sunday with a story emanating from a circular from the Headquarters of the organization.

According to the story, following the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the NCS has set January 31, 2020, as the terminal date for the border closure.

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But the NCS Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah, explained that the internal memo referred to did not set any date for the reopening of the borders.

He noted that the memo was only referring to the terminal date of the Joint Security EX SWIFT Response.

Attah insisted that the partial border closure would last till the achievement of its set objectives.

His words: “Please note that the internal memo is referring to the end of this phase of the joint security Ex Swift  Response and NOT a terminal date for the partial border closure.

“Security operation of this kind is usually in phases.

“The partial border closure will continue until the set objectives are achieved.”

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President Muhammadu Buhari has granted approval to the extension of the joint border operations code-named Exercise Swift Response which has led to the total closure of land frontiers across the country.

The land borders which were partially closed on August 20, are expected to be reopened on January 31, 2020, with this hopes of entrepreneurs in the West African region who were optimistic that the federal government will end the military exercise before Christmas has been dashed.

According to the circular dated November 1, 2019 (NCS/ENF/ABJ/221/S.45) and signed by the Comptroller of Customs in charge of enforcement, Victor David Dimka, to the Sector Coordinators, joint border operations drill (Exercise Swift Response), Sectors 1, 2, 3 & 4, directed them to note the new development and comply accordingly.

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The circular reads:

“I am directed to inform you that it is observed that despite the overwhelming success of the operation, particularly the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are you to be achieved.

“Against this background, Mr President has approved the extension of the exercise to January 31, 2020.

“Consequently, you are requested to convey the development to all personnel for their awareness and guidance.

“Meanwhile, allowance for personnel sustenance and fuelling of vehicles for the period of extension will be paid as soon as possible.

“This is for your information and necessary action, please.”

It was on August 20, that the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, announced the commencement of “Exercise Swift Response”, a joint operation involving all military, paramilitary and intelligence agencies, in government’s efforts to sanitise the land borders that have become notorious for cross border smuggling that assumed frightening proportions in recent times.