FG bans NATFORCE


 
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The Federal Government has ordered the immediate ban of the National Taskforce to Combat Illegal Importation of Goods, Small Arms, Ammunition and Light Weapons (NATFORCE).
Government had equally directed the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the State Security Service, Comptroller General of Customs and the Comptroller General of Immigration to swing into immediate action by ensuring immediate compliance and arrest officials of the taskforce.
A statement from the Federal Ministry of Finance signed by the Director, Legal, Mr. Bukhari Bello, said that there is no law or authority backing the establishment of the said taskforce, adding that the taskforce has no fixed address and neither report to any Ministry of the Federal Government nor the President.
“I am directed to inform you that the Honourable Minister of Finance is not aware of the existence of the above named national taskforce to combat the illegal importation of goods, small arms, ammunition and light weapons. “He is also not aware of any law or authority establishing same. Consequent upon the above the Honourable Minister has directed that the said task force be disbanded immediately”.
Ships & Ports recalls that operatives of NATFORCE in the last few months had be sighted at the seaports in Lagos, federal roads and land border areas.

This body, according to Ships & Ports findings, have been generating a groundswell of angst in the industry. A number of industry watchers have described NATFORCE as unnecessary additions to the nation's international trade milieu, which, according to them, is already overpopulated by multiple government agencies.
These analysts posit that the National Task force is adding no value to the system.
This school of thought has adopted a similar position for the fledging task force, which they readily predict will in full bloom not impact positively on the system.
The taskforce whose roots have been traced to a public-private initiative by the Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN) in collaboration with the Federal Government was allegedly inaugurated in Abuja on July 16, 2010, by Finance Minister, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who allegedly stated that NATFORCE is expected to complement the efforts of already existing security agencies to plug the loopholes through which these illegal weapons flood into the country.
At the flag-off of its operations in Apapa, Lagos, recently, NATFORCE Chairman, Major-General C.R.U, Ihekire (rtd), represented by the South West Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Ayo Omotoso, stated: “The Federal Government and indeed Nigerians have been worried by the high level of insecurity in our country due to rampant violence and crimes committed with these illegal fire arms, as seen in armed robberies, killings, kidnapping, the Boko Haram massacres, the recurrent Jos crises, the Niger-Delta upheavals and the violence which usually characterize our elections. The establishment of NATFORCE is also in line with the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Convent of SALW. This dangerous phenomenon does not only constitute a genuine source of concern to the well-meaning people of this country. It also engenders a fragile economic environment and threatens the very sovereignty of the nation, hence the need to set the task force at this auspicious time.

“The impoundment of a lorry load of arms and ammunition in Onitsha, Anambra State on 18th October by NATFORCE and interception of 13 containers loaded with arms and ammunition at Apapa Wharf, Lagos by security agents on 26th October, 2010 justify the existence of NATFORCE.”
Meanwhile, stakeholders at the just-concluded Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (PCC) Meeting/Maritime Summit, which held at Akure, Ondo State, roundly condemned what was described as dearth of Customs Boarding Units to adequately service the ship traffic at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa, the domain of the NCS premier area command, the Apapa Area 1 Command.
This situation, it was noted, allegedly was impeding the prompt handling of the vessels calling at the port, adversely affecting cargo discharge and delivery.
The stakeholders were concerned enough to state in the communiqué “that while appreciating the manpower challenges in the Nigeria Customs Service and the steps recently taken to address them, there is need for the Enforcement Unit to ensure the adequacy of Boarding personnel in each terminal instead of the current situation where only one team services the whole port with its attendant delays, operational dislocation and huge cost implication”.
Just before the end of last year it was alleged that the taskforce was being headed by a former Inspector.

Comments
  • The natforce has done a wonderful job by arresting lorry load of arms in onitsha and consequently arrest of 13 containers in apapa wharf gives credit to the existance of natforce. Customs has not been doing their work as it supposes to be. i encourage FG to unban this outfit.
Posted By: princ jude ekwobi on,15/02/11 10:40:48

  • it is obvious that the said national task force is out to ensure the safety of the citizens of the nation. credit must be given to whom it is due, i support the the existence of the national task force whom duty is to combat illegal importation of arms and goods into the nation since other security agencies has failed to combat such importations.
Posted By: eze paul on,03/03/11 07:36:24

  • 1FMbZa At last, seomnoe comes up with the "right" answer!
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