The Federal Government has extended the deadline for the first phase of the border closure exercise, otherwise codenamed ‘Ex-Swift Response’ till the 31st of January, 2020.
This was disclosed by the Spokesman of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) who is also the Spokesman for the Ex-Swift Response team, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Joseph Attah, stated that only the deadline for the first phase of the operation has been extended till 31st of January, 2020; that this does not signal the end of the operation.
According to Joseph Attah, “An internal memo was issued to all field officers on the Ex-Swift Response operation, informing them that the first phase has been extended till 31st of January, 2020. This extension only serves for the first phase.
“Before 31st of January, 2020, officers on the field will be notified on developments on the second phase of the border closure exercise, if the need arises.
“How the memo got leaked is still a surprise to me. This is a memo classified ‘Restricted’ and meant for officers on the field carrying out the Ex-Swift Response operation.”
It would be recalled that in August 2019, as part of measures to secure Nigeria’s land and maritime borders, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), in collaboration with the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) as well as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security and intelligence agencies began a joint border security exercise, codenamed “EX-SWIFT RESPONSE”.
The joint exercise is being coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and has taken place in 4 geopolitical zones, namely; South-South, South-West, North-Central and North-West. It is expected that the exercise will promote interagency cooperation and increase preparedness to address trans-border security challenges such as terrorism, armed banditry, smuggling, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, amongst others.
The new directive is contained in a Memo number NCS/ENF/ABJ/221/S.45 addressed to all Sector Coordinators, Joint Border Operation Drill ( Exercise Swift Response), Sectors 1,2,3&4 to comply.
The memo which was signed by Comptroller Victor David Dimka, Comptroller (Enforcement), Customs Headquarters on behalf of Deputy Comptroller-General (E, I &I) is titled “Re- Extension of Exercise Swift Response”
The memo is dated 1st November 2019 and reads,” I am directed to inform you that it is observed that despite the overwhelming success of the Operation particularly, the security and economic benefits to the nation, a few strategic objectives are yet to be achieved.
“Against this background, Mr President has approved an extension of the Exercise to 31st January 2020.
“Consequently, you are required to convey the development of all personnel for their awareness and guidance.
“Meanwhile, allowances for personnel sustenance and fueling of vehicles for the period of extension will be paid as soon as possible.
“This is for your information and necessary action”.