By Joy Baba
Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Ibrahim Lamorde has assured the British American Tobacco Company of the Commission’s readiness to fight illegal importation of tobacco into the country.
Lamorde gave the assurance yesterday, while receiving the Managing Director, British America Tobacco Company, Mr. Chris McAllister, who led members of his management team on a courtesy visit to the Commission.
A statement, signed by the head of media and publicity of the Commission, Wilson Uwujaren said the EFCC boss also promised to exploit the agency’s relationship with the Nigeria Customs Service, to forge a common front in intercepting and curbing illegal importation of tobacco into the country.
“If we have an idea of how some of these cigarettes are being smuggled into the country we can work with you and even bring in Customs because they are the ones at the entry points and border posts.
“It is in the nation’s economic interest to assist BAT as the company has helped in creating jobs and boosting government revenue earnings” Lamorde said.
Earlier, Mr. McAllister said they were in the Commission to solicit support of EFCC in tracking of illicit traffickers of tobacco in Nigeria.
He emphasised the contribution of the sector to the nation’s economy saying, “before we came into the market, over 80% of the market was dominated by illicit trade but through our memorandum of understanding with the government, we have cut it down to 20% and the result is that we now generate N20 billion in tax revenue to the government”.