WASHINGTON D.C – The Nigeria Customs Service has signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with the Customs and Border Protection agency of United States. While Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Inde Dikko represented the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the signing ceremony, CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski stood in on behalf of the United States .
CMAAs are known to provide for mutual assistance which ensure the accurate assessment of customs duties and taxes, and in efforts to combat illicit cross-border activities to include contraband smuggling, financial crimes such as customs fraud and money laundering, and international terrorism. This bilateral agreement between the United States and Nigeria would serve to prevent, repress and investigate customs offenses.
Speaking at the event, Comptroller General Abdullahi Inde Dikko noted that the signing ceremony which held on Tuesday April 23rd, marked the end of a two year period of consultations, dialogue and negotiations. He described the CMAA as an agreement of strategic importance to Nigeria which represented a structural approach to consolidate an existing partnership with the United States.
In his remarks, Acting Commissioner Thomas S.Winkowski disclosed that the agreement would strengthen the resilience of the United States against threats by expanding cooperation and information sharing.
Also speaking, Acting Assistant Director ICE Homeland Security Investigations, Office of International Affairs, Peter S. Vincent stated that the office of Homeland Security Investigations had achieved tremendous success with the Nigerian Customs service on various projects.
“We have had the pleasure and honor of our agents being well taken care of in Lagos last year during an extended detail out there at the airport and the relationship only grew stronger as a result of those particular projects that we worked together. This agreement will enable our customs authorities to expand efforts to protect our borders through the timely and secure exchange of information.
We look forward to future opportunities for collaborative enforcement efforts with the Nigeria Customs Service.” – He said.
The Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement marks a significant milestone in collaboration between the United States and Nigeria.