Reps move to check smuggling, illegal emigration

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The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to come up with stringent polices that would check illegal smuggling and emigration in the country.

In a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Rotimi Agunsoye (Lagos-APC) at plenary on Tuesday, the chamber said it was worrisome that the country’s land and sea borders had become quite porous.

In the motion earlier, Agunsoye said that it was regrettable that the borders allowed unlawful goods and immigrants into the country.

According to him, shops, markets and stores are adorned with smuggled goods, including clothing materials and food items.

“Roads in the country have been taken over by smuggled cars and the anti-smuggling unit and other formations of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) are not able to stem the tide.

“The NCS has failed in its duty to stop smuggled goods into the country.

“The organization now resorts to harassing innocent citizens who have purchased vehicles and other goods off the shelves,’’ he said.

The lawmaker said that the failure of government agencies to check smuggling of substandard and harmful goods was posing socio-economic threat to the existence of the country.

He listed some of the smuggled goods as plastic rice, Genetically Modified Foods, expired drugs and high radiation mobile phones.

The legislator regretted that foreigners who had gained entry into the country without immigration papers or whose visas had expired, were still in the country competing with citizens and enjoying tax payers money.

He said that it was imperative for the country’s borders to be guarded and monitored to reduce the spate of smuggling.

He also said that the NCS and the Nigerian Immigration Service were operating below expectation.

Contributing, Rep. Emmanuel Orker-Jev (Benue-APC) pointed out cases where Nigerians had been killed by foreigners.

He said that the herdsmen unleashing mayhem in the country had always been referred to as foreigners.

Orker-Jev called for documentation of movement of persons across the borders in spite of the ECOWAS free trade zone policy.

Rep. Nicholas Ossai (Delta-PDP) said that there was need to ascertain if the NCS and other services were well funded to do their job.

He said that the Government of United States of America was committing enough funds to build border walls to enable security agencies checkmate movement of hoodlums.

“What is the budgetary allocation for border monitoring?

“If the executive has failed to do that, we are the representatives of the people and I move that this 8th Assembly should make provision of N1 trillion in the 2017 budget to guard our borders,” he said.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Yussuf Lasun (Osun-APC) described Nigeria as a very unique country.

He said that the Yoruba race, for instance, had their kinsmen in Cotonou, Ghana, Liberia just like the Fulanis in Niger and up to Libya.

According to Lasun, building walls will amount to disconnecting the people from their kinsmen in the neighbouring countries.

He, however, advocated deliberate policies that would protect the economy and clearly differentiate between foreigners and citizens of the country.

In his ruling, Speaker of the house, Mr Yakubu Dogara, mandated the Committees on Customs and Excise and Interior to organise a public hearing on the matter and report to the house for further action.

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