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Joint taskforce arrests over 1,400 migrants, intercepts explosives, others across Nigerian borders

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Nigeria Joint Border Patrol Team (JBPT) has disclosed that 1,401 illegal migrants were arrested during patrol of the country’s border and intercepted 10,447 bags of NPK fertilizer often used for making explosives especially in the northern region of Nigeria.

Also intercepted by the patrol team 1,974 vehicles, 895 motorcycles, 159,506.7-(50kg) bags of parboiled foreign rice, and 18,690.3Jerricans of vegetable oil, among other items seized within a year and four months across the country’s borders.

The statistics were revealed in a statement released by Nigerian Customs Public Relations Officer (PRO), Joseph Attah, and made available on the agency’s official social media handle, said that the statistics represented the enforcement completed on January 5th, 2021.

While recalling that the patrol team, a Tripartite Operation, comprising Benin, Niger, and Nigeria was launched in August 2019 and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), it said that JBPT, code-named Operation Swift Response (OSR), was set up to combat smuggling, irregular migration and other transnational organised crimes along the nation’s border coupled with the gradual reopening of the borders.

According to the statement, the smuggling of illicit drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons used to exacerbate Violent Extremism and Terrorism in some parts of the country have been significantly curbed by the team.

The statement noted that the achievement recorded by the team was in addition to the quantum of prohibited items impounded and numbers of arrested irregular migrants.

“As at 5 January 2021; 1,401 irregular migrants had been arrested while the total seizures were; 159,506.7-(50kg) bags of parboiled foreign rice; 10,447 bags of NPK fertilizer used for making explosives; 1,974 Vehicles; 895motorcycles;
18,690.3Jerricans of Vegetable Oil, among other seized items. And the total monetary value of the apprehended items is about ₦12,538,333,545.50)”.

The patrol team stressed that its priority remained to keep our borders safe from any inimical activity that could compromise the country’s national interests even after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the reopening of borders.

“With the reopening of the borders for commercial activities, items such as parboiled rice, frozen chicken, illicit drugs, among others remain prohibited. The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) in a goodwill message to the transformed Operation SWIFT RESPONSE, applauded the unflinching commitment of the security operatives to the national assignment, and urged them not to rest on their oars.

“The NSA further stated that the joint patrols would be adequately administered and charged the operatives to display a high level of professionalism during the operation with their neighbouring counterparts. This was because Nigeria has a widely acclaimed track record of security operations not just at the ECOWAS level, but the world at large”.

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