Monday, 29 April 2013

Nigeria Signs Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement With The Us And Argentina

Nigeria has signed Cooperation and Mutual Assistance Agreement on Customs Matters with Argentina and the United States of America in a bid to forge a strong counter force against smuggling.

Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi was at the head of a delegation to the two countries expressed optimism expressed optimism that the agreements would boost anti smuggling activities in Nigeria and enhance regional security.

Cooperation between Customs administrations is a major pillar recommended by the World Customs Organization to operate a modern and effective customs service

The agreement with. Argentina is particularly important to Nigeria's battle against Drugs trafficking particularly as Argentina remains a major drug trafficking route via Nigeria.

Interestingly a large percentage of Nigerians in Prison in the South American country are there on charges relating to drug trafficking.

Mindful of the importance of these agreements Nigeria's Comptroller General of Customs noted that the agreement demonstrated the commitment of the customs agencies of both countries to forge a formidable partnership in tackling trans-border crimes.

His counterpart in Argentina the Director General of the Argentine Revenue Service was upbeat that these discussions that started two years ago had been successfully concluded.

Meanwhile, the trip to Washington DC was a mere formality as the agreement on Customs matters had been concluded last year and it only needed Nigeria's Comptroller General of Customs and the US Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border protection to come together.

The US Acting Commissioner expressed optimism that the agreement would open a vista of opportunities for partnership between the countries.

The Acting Director of International Affairs for Homeland Security Peter Vincent agrees, acknowledging the cooperation and support the US had enjoyed in previous operations in Nigeria.

Mr Abdullahi for his part was confident the agreement would provide a structured approach to consolidate the partnership already in existence between the Customs Administrations of Nigeria and the United States.

These agreements signed demonstrate the importance of Nigeria to the two countries in question but may not answer questions about the success of the Nigeria Customs Service in modernizing its operations in the country.

The Customs Service remains the top revenue spinner amongst government agencies in the country often surpassing targets given to it by government.

But many  say the Customs service has not been able to effectively police the nation's borders and close loopholes in the application of customs and duties while 24 hours ports operations remain a mirage despite the mandate given to the Service and the Nigeria Ports Authority.

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