New Telegraph

FG Tightens Border As NLC, TUC Announces Two-Day Protest

In a bid to curb smuggling and food hoarding amid economic hardships, the Federal Government has deployed a multi-agency task force comprising the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Department of State Services, and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to bolster surveillance across the nation’s borders.

This strategic move follows the Organised Labour declaration of a two-day protest against Nigeria’s economic challenges bedevilling the country.

According to the Nigeria Customs Service, President Bola Tinubu’s directive to combat food hoarding has prompted intensified surveillance along land borders in states like Borno, Niger, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Jigawa, identified as key smuggling hotspots.

The decision to tighten border security came after an emergency meeting between President Tinubu, Vice-President Kashim Shettima, and state governors, where concerns over widespread food hoarding, especially in Kano State, were addressed.

President Tinubu emphasized the government’s stance against food imports as a solution to soaring food prices and economic strains.

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While acknowledging that the bulk of Nigeria’s grain production occurs in the North-West and North-East regions, ongoing violence has disrupted supplies, exacerbating the plight of the 63% of the population living in extreme poverty, as per the National Bureau of Statistics.

Sources within the Presidency revealed that sophisticated smuggling networks, employing round-tripping tactics, have contributed to price hikes. These networks involve cartels smuggling goods across borders, notably using foreign currencies like the CFA to circumvent regulations and profit from price differentials.

In response, security agencies have conducted raids on grain markets and uncovered significant hoarding by major companies masquerading under the guise of manufacturing feed and other products.

The Nigeria Customs Service has affirmed its commitment to the cause, announcing re-strategized operations and heightened alert mechanisms along borders.

“Abdullahi Maiwada, the NCS Public Relations Officer, emphasized the use of intelligence-driven operations and engagement with the populace to combat smuggling effectively.

As the Federal Government intensifies efforts to curb smuggling and ensure food security, Nigerians await further developments amidst ongoing economic challenges and labour unrest.

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