*Says…The event marks the beginning of a renewed offensive against those who chose creeks and waterways as safe haven for their illegal trade
By Silas Onuoha
The Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) has commissioned on Thursday 18 patrol boats to fight the activities of smugglers using the creeks and waterways for their illegal trade in Port Harcourt.
Addressing Journalists at the commission ceremony on Thursday, Col. Hameed Ali informed.
“The addition of these boats to the Service Marine arsenal at a time when more smugglers are running away from the heat on land to water is simply the right thing to do. This event no doubt marks the beginning of a renewed offensive against those who chose creeks and waterways as safe haven for their illegal trade.
The 18 creeks patrol boats, consisting of 9 logistic support boats and 9 gun boats whose parts are armored, should send clear signals to the criminals that the game is up. Unlike before, we now have boats with flat bottoms that can access the creeks even when the water has receded,” he said.
He went further.
“In-line with Executive Order on Local Content of 2017, NCS tapped into the ingenuity of a Nigerian Company, SEWA to design, construct and build these edifices. As you can see, these boats are not only built with our weather and circumstances in mind they can compete with similar ones built anywhere in the world.”
According to Ali,
the relationship between NCS and SEWA represents excellent examples of what Nigerians can achieve when we come together.
“I therefore commend SEWA for delivering on their promise and have no hesitation to recommend them to individuals or organizations that need what they are capable of producing.
As we commission these boats which will be deployed for the Southern waters, (the Eastern and Western Marine Commands), I urge our Marine Operatives to use them judiciously in the interest of the nation.
Let me state here that even with the best of working tools, NCS efforts will not yield maximum output, If Nigerians for which we work, do not give us needed cooperation. I therefore call on well-meaning individuals and organizations to give the Service credible information that will enable interception and seizures of smuggled items.”
The NCS boss thanked the media for their continuous support and urged them not to relent on their valuable job of informing, educating and entertaining the public. “Together, we will succeed.”
The Chairman of SEWA West Africa Limited. Murtala Mohammed, said in his remark that the boats, built by SEWA West Africa Limited in Nigeria, were the Federal Government’s laudable achievement on the local content policy.
Hence unveiling of the SW27GB and SW23BC for the Nigeria Customs would help to facilitate their operations in the creeks and waterways.