No fewer than 200 operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) lose their lives annually to the fight against smuggling, the Comptroller-General, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) has said.
Ali disclosed this on Thursday at a meeting organised by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with the service chiefs and heads of paramilitary organisations.
Others participants at the meeting were stakeholders from the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) industries.
Represented by Abdullahi Babani, an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Ali said smuggling was the greatest challenge facing the service and all hands must be on deck to defeat it.
He said NCS was disturbed by the high level of smuggling in the country and it was working tirelessly to reduce it to the bearest minimum.
Ali urged the Federal Government to work to improve its fiscal and monetary policies to help check the level of smuggling, especially the textile materials.
“The government needs to get its fiscal and monetary policies right; the cost of business is high, there is need for the government to provide roads, security and power for our local industries to thrive.
“When these are made available and easier, their products will be cheap and able to compete with the foreign ones because this is one of the reasons why smuggling thrives.
“Frankly, to address smuggling, the local industries must set the right prices and quality to have desired patronage.
“The market is there, our local textile industries must be ready to compete and this is Nigerian project. We shall work with CBN and other relevant stakeholders in achieving it.
“Our core mandate is to suppress smuggling and we are committed to achieving that. Therefore all stakeholders must support us to reduce it,” he said.
The customs boss urged stakeholders in the CTG industries to help the service in the area of intelligence by providing useful information that would assist in identifying the smugglers with a view to punishing them accordingly.