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How to end smuggling

Title: Appraisal of the Crime of Smuggling in Nigeria

Author: Dr. Musa Omale

Publisher: De-Adroit Innovation, Enugu

Year: 2017

pagination: 388

Reviewer: Betty Abbah


Though Nigeria is West Africa’s biggest economy and one of the economic powerhouses on the continent, it continues to limp in terms of economic performances and as to how its real and potential wealth translates to the welfare of its citizens. One of the culprits is smuggling of goods and services.

It is common knowledge that goods worth billions of naira are smuggled into and outside the country annually without the requisite revenues getting into government coffers. This stems from outright violation of laid down customs laws by smugglers exploiting our porous borders to corruption in the system.

As a way of proffering solution to the leakages in the system, a Customs officer, Dr. Musa Omale, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs (AC), has published a book detailing how the hydra-headed monster can be tackled.

In the book, Appraisals of the Crime of Smuggling in Nigeria, Omale, a Ph.D graduate of Law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, gave insight into the primary purpose of the establishment of the Nigerian Customs and Excise, the various initiatives to combat smuggling and maximise government revenues/earnings from imported and exported goods among other insightful details.

The author uses the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), the legal instrument for enforcing operations, to establish his facts, observations and recommendations. According to the book: The Act which was established in 1958 under the Queen of England, Elizabeth II (when Sir James Wilson Robertson was the Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the country), was enacted to regulate the management and collection of |Customs and Excise Duties, and other purposes ancillary therefore, including prescriptions of penalties for any infringements of the law. The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is therefore the Federal Agency and custodian, and administrator of the CEMA which spells out various responsibilities and the formation of sub-bodies and agencies through which it would carry out its work effectively.

The author, who described the book as “the contribution of a serving customs officer, lawyer and scholar to alleviate the dearth of books in this area of law in Nigeria”, attempted to marshal his points via nine chapters. They include General Introduction, Origin and Nature of the Crime of Smuggling, Legal Framework for Combating the Crime of Smuggling, Causes of Smuggling, Effects of Smuggling, Preventive Measures against Smuggling, Enforcement Measures against Smuggling, Institution of Proceedings under the Customs and Excise Management Act and Conclusion.

The book utilises simple language to buttress its points, though, the author is a lawyer that could as well resort to legal jargons. The references, in “Table of Cases”, to cases and litigations, eg. Abu Anakwa Vs State, 1969; Ebiri Vs BOCE, 1969 etc., covering local and international cases is one hallmarks of the author’s research prowess).

The current Comptroller-General of Customs (C-G-C), Col. Ahmad Ali (Rtd), has recommended the book highly. In his foreword to the book, he described the new publication as “an indispensable tool in the hands of Customs and other relevant regulatory bodies. The book is also recommended for not only undergraduates and graduate students, but for legal practitioners and members of the public most of whom are scarcely aware of the peculiar features of the crime of smuggling”.

The book, which is due for launch in Abuja on November 30, is a highly commended effort of Dr. Omale, a celebrated Customs officer and trained lawyer.


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