The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has sought an end to frequent clashes between its operatives and members of its host communities in Seme border area. This is even as it warned its officers to desist from conducts that could escalate crises in the area.
Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone ‘A’, Assistant Comptroller General Charles Edike on Wednesday appealed for cooperation of indigenes in the community during a Customs community consultative meeting with some chiefs and youth representatives.
Edike urged the community to see customs operatives not as their enemies but as fellow Nigerians carrying out national duty within their communities.
“Don’t see us as your enemies. Know that we are here on government’s directive, and working for Nigeria’s good. It pains me to hear of such clashes because we are all Nigerians and should live together happily.
“Fathers, mothers, and brothers advise the youths to cool down and let us work together because there is no gain, but only pain, disgrace and shame in violence,” he said.
Edike also frowned at acts of overzealousness by some officers, which could lead to clashes, pointing out that the Service would never at any time encourage misconducts from any officer.
He said, “National security is first. So, officers on duty will be suspicious of anyone who refuses to stop when asked to. You cannot tell if such persons may be carrying things that compromise the peace and security, like arms and ammunition, even drugs,” he said.
Responding to complaints by representatives of the communities about wrong handling of arms by some officers, the Customs boss directed the Area Controller, Victor Dimka to immediately proceed with further educating the officers on provisions of the Customs Code.
“Get the Code and begin to systematically educate the officers in batches. Educate them on emotional intelligence, not to be trigger-happy. Also, create a youth forum for more interaction,” he said.
Sole Administrator of the Badagry West Local Government Area, Williams Genesis, complained that some officers habitually stopped vehicles in the middle of the road, obstructing traffic flow while they checked or questioned the drivers.
He also complained about having several check-points from Lagos to Seme.
He however appealed that their indigenes be considered for employment in the Service when the time to employ comes.
Responding, the ACG mandated the area controller to ensure an end to the unacceptable conduct where operatives disrupt traffic flow by dealing with drivers in the middle of the road.
He also asked that the Controller to determine the number of check-points along the road based on intelligence reports.
On the request for employment for indigenes, Edike said he would pass the request to the Comptroller General.
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