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(PHOTOS) EFCC, Army, Customs Parley against Corruption

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The Acting Zonal Director of the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Harry Erin, has described the Nigeria Army as a veritable ally in the fight against economic and financial crimes.

Erin, who spoke Tuesday, on May 14, 2024, during a courtesy visit to the Brigade Commander, 22 Armoured Brigade, Sobi, Ilorin, Brigadier General Oluwafemi D. Williams lauded the synergy between the two agencies.

He, however, said there was a need for improved inter -agency collaboration among government agencies if corruption must be kicked out of Nigeria. He specifically requested the collaboration of the army in tackling illegal mining activities in the state.

“The drafters of the EFCC Establishment Act in Section 2 of the Act realised the importance of collaboration, which is why we have heads of security and relevant agencies or their representatives on the board of the Commission. It is in this regard that we are here today to further cement the relationship between the two agencies”, he said.

He disclosed that over 44 truckloads of assorted solid minerals such as lithium, lepidolite, marble, and gold running into millions of Naira were currently at the Command’s exhibit dump. According to him, “a ton of lithium sells between $42,000 and $70,000 in the international market whereas pittances are usually paid as wages from the several millions of dollars realised from the illicit business to casual labourers hired for the job. The unfortunate thing is that hundreds of trucks of these crude minerals are being transported outside the country without due registration and payment of royalties to the government as required by law. We just have to find a way to deal with it.”

While thanking the Nigerian Army for its unwavering support for the Commission, he further solicited its collaboration particularly in the area of intelligence sharing in tackling the menace of illegal mining, money laundering and terrorism financing in Nigeria.

Responding, Brigadier General Williams said he was pleased to receive the new Zonal Director and his team. “I can assure you that we are with you shoulder to shoulder in fighting corruption. Putting heads together to work for this great nation is no longer an option”, he said.

The General who assumed command of the Brigade two weeks ago assured that, “the philosophy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja was collaboration with other security agencies in securing the country against crimes and criminalities. “ This would continue to be my guiding principle”, he said.

At the office of the Customs Area Comptroller, Kwara Command, Comptroller Faith M. Ojeifo, Erin called for a broad-based collaboration and synergy between the Commission and the Nigerian Customs Service in tackling the menace of money laundering and transportation of illegally mined solid minerals across the country’s borders.

The Zonal Director described the Nigeria Customs Service as “a dependable ally in the fight against corruption”, noting that no one agency can fight and defeat corruption alone, without the support and collaboration of other stakeholders.

Responding, Comptroller Ojeifo commended the EFCC for working hard to deal with economic saboteurs in the state and ensuring that sanity is restored, especially in the mining sector

He said that Customs/EFCC collaboration had always been a reference point of best practices. According to him, “officers of the two agencies have worked closely together in special joint operations, investigations and training. In building this synergy, we are sending strong signals to all economic saboteurs that they now face a more difficult task to evade payment of Customs duty or smuggle prohibited goods through our borders.”

He assured the visiting EFCC’s Zonal Director of the firm commitment of the NCS to boosting the economy through professionalism, revenue generation and facilitation of trade, in line with the federal government’s renewed hope agenda.

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