Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority has described the newly established Special Economic Zone Security (SEZSEC), as the best way to attract more investment to the areas that are free from restrictions.
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It is also expected to create a safe and secure environment for the zones’ employees, facilities, contracted service providers, members of the public, the special economic zones and NEPZA resources.
The Guardian learned that the outfit was born out of the need for additional security architecture strengthening and adequate security to people and properties in the no-fly zones.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba is the NEPZA’s Managing Director. This was disclosed at the weekend in Lagos at the ceremony to award 40 SEZSEC Officers.
In collaboration with the Department of State Services, the SEZSEC training lasted for one month. Represented by Authority’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Dr. Oyesola Oyekunle, the NEPZA Chief Executive Officer said the authority had suffered its share of insecurity when hoodlums invaded the Tinapa Free Zone in Calabar, which led to several losses of investments.
He said that ‘’It is no gainsaying that this singular action will cause an upsurge of investment into the zones as investors look to invest in places where there is security,”
He however, said that the outfit was not created to dislodge the existing zones’ security structure, rather it was established to reinforce the collaborative force of sister security services.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, stated in his remarks that the decision to create the body was right to secure and maintain the special economic zone (SEZ) and give confidence and security to investors.
Adebayo, who was represented by NEPZA’s Director, Policy Planning, Research and Statistics, Babagana Alkali, tasked the authority to make the zones more attractive to investors, provide high quality infrastructure and be a one-stop shop that would positively impact the economy.
Salami Ajege (commandant, States Services Academy), also spoke. He said that the security unit was expected gather intelligence to combat economic sabotage, boost commerce, and other related activities wherever it was deployed.
Ajege stated that to fulfill their mandate, the unit must ensure professionalism in the performance of their duties.
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He encouraged them to be smart, efficient, diligent, determined, and discreet with information. They should also be ready to face any challenges that may arise in the discharge of their duties.
On his part, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), urged the team to learn the rules that guide other government organisations they would work with to avoid stepping on each other’s toes.
Ali, represented in this capacity by Catherine Ekekezie, the Deputy Comptroller General in-charge of Excise, Free Trade Zones and Industrial Incentives Department, cautioned personnel against taking part in a “one-man patrol”To avoid getting into trouble.