The Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, on Thursday told the House of Representatives that the agency’s biggest problem in trying to stem arms smuggling is border communities ganging up against his officers.
Ali said the protection smugglers enjoy from the border communities is why the agency was yet to contain the smuggling of arms into the country.
Speaking in Abuja at the budget 2020/2021 defence organised by the House Committee on Customs, Ali said, “Our biggest problem with stopping arms smuggling is that border communities gang up against us, kill us and burn our vehicles.
“They gang up to fight us because they think the bandits (who smuggle arms), are more important to their lives than us. We need other agencies and communities to help us. Until that is done, Customs is willing to do what it can to stop that.”
He further stated that it was impossible for Customs to effectively patrol the nation’s borders to end arms smuggling.
“There is no nation that has been able to stop arms smuggling. I understand there are complaints; that how can Customs not stop this? But we cannot effectively police borders. We can only make efforts through the third tier, to curtail smuggling,” he said.