Nigerian Customs Service acquires weapons, equipment to combat smuggling

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The Nigerian Customs Service has taken delivery of two helicopters and will soon receive 400 Toyota Hilux vehicles and 5 000 AK-47 assault rifles in an effort to secure the country’s borders.

Alhaji Mohammed Dikko, the Comptroller-General of the Customs Service, on Tuesday said that his agency had already acquired the helicopters for surveillance of Nigeria’s borders and added that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the purchase of 400 Toyota Hilux vehicles for border patrol.

Dikko went on to say that his agency had imported approximately 5 000 AK-47 assault rifles to arm its personnel against smugglers and gun runners.
“I think with all these [items of equipment], we will give Nigerians a pleasant surprise,” he said.

Dikko added that the recently inaugurated Customs Staff College in Gwagwalada is being used to train customs officials and personnel from sister security agencies. It has started full academic activities with middle and high cadre officers from foreign countries.
“It is a staff college; that means it is for middle and high cadre officers and I want to assure that the school is occupied up till December. The American Embassy has indicated its interest to train not only Customs but other agencies, so also are the German Embassy and the World Customs Organisation. That school is fully occupied; it is the new pride of educational facilities in Nigeria.”

Border control is an increasingly important issue in Nigeria. Militant groups in the oil-producing Niger Delta have been illegally supplying weapons for years and Boko Haram is also believed to have received illegal arms, raising questions about border surveillance, especially after reports that weapons looted from Libya have turned up in Nigeria.