Customs Chiefs overseeing different flanks have disclosed that “Operation Ex Swift Response” , the joint ongoing border security exercise is aimed at protecting the country and her citizens.
Customs Assistant Comptrollers General (ACG)Aminu Dahiru and Bukar Amajam who spoke on the exercise from different fronts reassured that the Nigerian state and her citizens stand to benefit from the exercise.
Dahiru who is ACG in the Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation (EI&I) Department of Customs Headquarters told our reporter on the telephone from Kwara State, that the exercise will achieve a total lockdown to trans border illegalities.
He said, the exercise will among other things, achieve zero tolerance to illegal migration from outside into Nigeria through land borders, curb activities of bandits and prevent any form of smuggling into the country.
He also said that the end of petroleum product smuggling from Nigeria to other neighbouring countries has come with the exercise which had full presence of various security outfits like the Nigerian Navy checking movement on waters, air force giving aerial support and combined forces on the ground .
He added that the flag off segment has shown good success with tremendous cooperation among all the government security outfits involved.
Dahiru’s operational coverage with full compliment of armed forces covers Benue axis in north central with Niger, kwara where defined border stations are located.
An area under Kwande Locals Government which shares state and international border with cross river and part of Cameroon are also being policed as part of the exercise.
Amajam, an ACG in the Finance, Administration and Technical Services Department of Customs Headquarters described the exercise as an important national assignment for citizens benefits.
Citizens residing along and around border areas should have a sense of increased security and safety of their lives and properties on sighting the combined team of forces.
Amajam disclosed that the exercise started in the Lagos axis with increased security manpower at Seme Border. He added that the movement will continue to Idiroko border in Ogun State and other borders in Oyo State
Joseph Atrah, National Public Relations Officer of Customs said in a recent press statement that “As part of measures to secure Nigeria’s land and maritime borders, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), in collaboration with the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) as well as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security and intelligence agencies will be conducting a joint border security exercise, codenamed “EX-SWIFT RESPONSE”.
“The joint exercise is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and will take place in 4 geopolitical zones, namely; South-South, South-West, North-Central and North-West. It is expected that the exercise will promote interagency cooperation and increase preparedness to address trans-border security challenges such as terrorism, armed banditry, smuggling, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, amongst others.
“The exercise will also involve the movement of personnel, vehicles and equipment within the affected parts of the country. Therefore, we call on members of the public not to panic and should continue to engage in their normal duties. The overall objective is to ensure a peaceful and secured country in the interest of our National Security.”
Attah also told our reporter that it is not an outright border closure as people who are screened and found to be free of any incriminating thing can come in or go out of the country from any of the approved borders.