Importers, traders, motorists and other stakeholders plying the Seme ,Badagry to Lagos route can now have a smooth jolly ride on that road as several Customs checkpoints which dotted that road and hitherto caused snail movement by vehicles have been ordered to be removed ,courtesy the new Customs Area Controller (CAC),Seme Area Command, David Victor Dimka.
Dimka’s directive redeploying all Customs operatives manning these unapproved check points numbering close to eighteen excluding that of Agbara and Gbaji approved ,came barely a week after he resumed duties at the nation’s ever busy and most commercially viable and busiest land frontier in the country.
Apparently bringing his fore knowledge of the Seme border and its terrain to bear,having served there before as a junior officer, Dimka, audaciously took the decision to dismantle the illegal checkpoints which had hitherto being a difficult if not impossible decision to take by successive Controllers who had headed the Seme border in the past.
To several importers, traders, members of the Seme Community and especially motorists along that route, the new Area Controllers decision is long overdue and most welcome as according to them it will save loss of man hours usually witnessed on the road as well as allow for quick clearance of goods entering the country through that road.
Adekunle Sodeke, a business man who plies the route said the dismantling of the checkpoints will go a long way to for example improve the image of Nigeria in the eyes of foreigners who normally passed through the road and were traumatized as a result of the uncivil behaviours usually exhibited by most Custom officers along that route in the past.
Sodeke added that unnecessary traffic gridlock which usually was recorded regularly on that would no doubt stop as well as put an end to the incessant extortion by officers along each checkpoint on the road.
Chairman elect of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) ,Lasisi Fanu while commenting on the new order described it as quite unprecedented in the history of the Seme border area, noting with delight that Dimka’s coming to Seme portends very good signs that the end may actually have come for smugglers and their accomplices to continue to perpetrate their nefarious activities.
In a random chat with some licensed Customs agents who did not want their names mentioned, they praised the bold decision of the current Controller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali rtd in appointing an officer like Dimka to come and embark on sanitization of Seme border which they described as the hub of the nations commercial activities.
They noted with delight that the new Area Controller had indeed started to put into practical terms and fulfillment of the promise of the Controller General of Customs when he last visited some commands in Lagos that he would ensure free and quick movement and clearance of goods for importers.
Meanwhile, a visit to Seme border by Newsanewng correspondent on Monday showed that the order was already being enforced as though some of the improvised barricades at the checkpoints made of wood and used tyres were still lying there, they were not manned by operatives of the customs and no longer obstructing the free flow of traffic.
Controller Victor Dimka, a crack enforcement officer per excellence who was transferred from the Federal Operations Unit ,Zone C, Owerri Imo State where he successfully supervised anti-smuggling activities of the Nigeria Customs in eleven States of the South East and South South told the press that close to 250 Customs personnel had so far been redeployed to patrol bush paths and maintain strict anti-smuggling duties 24/7 with a directive that they put in more of intelligence driven operations in order to achieve results.