The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the ongoing border drill in four of the country’s six geo-political zones has drastically reduced incidents of cattle rustling, kidnapping, armed banditry and other forms of insecurity in the North-West.
The Minister disclosed this at the Customs Border Station in Magama Jibia, Katsina State, on Monday when he led a Federal Government delegation on a visit to Sector Four (North-West) of the Border Drill, code-named ‘Exercise Swift Response’.
“The drill has drastically curtailed the inflow of arms and ammunition. Bandits and terrorists are finding it hard to procure arms and ammunition, hence we have recorded a reduction in cases of cattle rustling, kidnapping and armed banditry, which were predominant in the North-West Region,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the arms and ammunition being used by violent extremists and criminal elements no longer make their way into the country through the land borders.
He also disclosed that the smuggling of petroleum products, which has also been prominent through the borders in the North-West, has been curtailed due to the closure of filling stations along the border.
“There are hundreds of filling stations along the border. We counted many as we drove to the border this morning. They were set up purposely for smuggling. They don’t sell the fuel consignment they receive to the public, plus 50% of them are owned by foreigners. Now that they are closed, we have recorded over 30% reduction in domestic fuel consumption,” the Minister said.
He said the Customs, which used to record about N4.5 billion as revenue daily, is now posting between N5 billion and N8 billion daily.
Alhaji Mohammed said the North-West Sector, out of the four sectors affected by the drill, has recorded the highest success in terms of reduction of illegal migration as a result of the closure of the borders.
He clarified that the exercise is not targeted at any region in the country, neither is it designed to cripple businesses in any part of the country as being insinuated in some quarters.
The Minister said on the contrary since the commencement of the exercise, local businesses across the country have continued to thrive as farmers and rice millers, in particular, are now having a high turnover on their investments.
‘Exercise Swift Response’ was launched on 20th August 2019 as part of the measures to secure Nigeria’s land and maritime borders, and comprises the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) as well as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security and intelligence agencies and it is coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser.