No fewer than 35 officers of the Western Marine command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Thursday commence training on the use of AK-47 rifles.
Newly appointed Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Yusuf Umar who disclosed this in an exclusive chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in his office said the training was part of measures put in place by the command in anticipation of the acquisition of two new sea going vessels by the Customs management.
He said the Customs high command did not only approve the training of the marine officers but also the purchase of 80 AK-47 rifles that would be used to equip the officers for the onslaught against smugglers on the high sea.
“We don’t have a single AK-47 here, we have been using G3 which is an obsolete arm and we even borrow from federal operations unit and other sister organizations but because I push it across to the management, I have been directed to organise weapon training for my officers and after that, we’ll take them to Army ranch so that they can learn how to shoot and we have applied for 80 pieces of AK47 so by the time we finish with the training, we are going to take custody of them.
“We need modern equipment in order to fight modern wars. Smugglers will always update themselves. They have more sophisticated weapons and vessels, so we must match our vessels more than their own so that we crush them down and achieve desired result we are expected to achieve,” he said.
Umar also disclosed that the high command had concluded plans to send some of its officers to Turkey where vessels were being built for the NCS “to understudy them in order to manage them well”.
He assured that pending the arrival of the new vessels; the command would work within its resources to ensure that smuggled goods do not find their way into the country.
He also disclosed that the NCS was set to immortalize its officers who died on active duties especially those who drowned during a fight with smugglers in 2012 by engraving their names on a cenotaph at the command.
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