President of Nigeria meets with WCO Secretary General
At the invitation of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya was received at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on 2 February 2023. He was accompanied by representatives of Customs administrations attending the WCO Conference on Enabling Customs in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations, including Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service.
President Buhari declared that Nigeria and her neighbours must place a higher premium on the effective policing of borders, as the fragile nature of entry points into various countries enhances terrorism, economic sabotage and the illicit flow of arms.
He said it gladdened his heart that the WCO was dedicating an entire conference to fragile and conflict-affected situations, which the President said was of “critical importance for us as a country as we go to the polls, but equally important to most countries on the continent, and dare I say the world. The fragility of our borders has been a major Achilles heel in our fight against terrorism, economic sabotage and the illicit flow of small and light weapons.”
The Nigerian leader then briefed the WCO Secretary General and his delegation on a number of initiatives, including: mandating the Nigeria Customs Service to support other agencies in fighting terrorism; approving a new Customs modernization project that actively promotes the integration of technology into border operations; and revising the law in order to strengthen the Nigeria Customs Service and provide stiffer sanctions against smuggling and other criminal acts.
Dr. Mikuriya thanked the President for demonstrating a strong political will to support the Nigeria Customs Service as a critical actor in Nigeria’s security arsenal, and praised him for making the modernization of the Nigeria Customs Service a priority.