Security operatives have seized smuggled items worth about ₦12,362,574,090.50 across the nation’s borders.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Monday at a press conference held in Lagos.
Highlighting the gains of the operation, he noted that a total of 1,375 irregular migrants were arrested as of December 17, 2020.
Mohammed listed the seized items to include 157,511 50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 10,447 bags of NPK fertiliser used for making explosives, and 18,630 jerry cans of vegetable oil.
He informed the reporters that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the reopening of four land borders – Seme, Illela, Maigatari, and Mfun.
The minister noted that the reopening was the culmination of the border drill, code-named Exercise Swift Response.
“I can report to you, gentlemen, that over a year into the exercise, it is a huge success, having saved resources and enhanced national security.
“The importation of drugs and proliferation of small arms, which usually fuel violent extremism and terrorism in the country, has been significantly curtailed,” he said.
Mohammed added, “For instance, 95 per cent of illicit drugs and weapons that are being used for acts of terrorism and kidnapping in the country comes in through our porous borders.
“However, since the border drill started, this importation has been drastically reduced.”
According to him, the agricultural sector also received a boost from the drill, with rice production now nearing the level of self-sufficiency for Nigeria and poultry production at a high level.
The minister explained that the exercise was launched on August 20, 2019, as part of efforts to secure the land and maritime borders in the south-south, south-west, north-central and north-west regions from smuggling and irregular migration, as well as boost the economy and strengthen security at the nation’s borders.
The exercise is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and comprises the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the Armed Forces of Nigeria, as well as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security and intelligence agencies.