Customs officer still missing one year after abduction

AbdulSalam Rasheed

Basirat AbdulSalam, wife of a Customs Assistant II, AbdulSalam Rasheed, has cried out that more than one year after her husband went missing during an operations by the Nigerian Customs Service, (NCS) Federal Operations, Lagos, mum is still the word from the Customs management about his fate.

A full time housewife, Basirat said she had been abandoned by the NCS since her husband got missing about a year ago. According to her, her husband had gone on an operation with his colleagues on April 14, 2018 and in the process of carrying out their official duty, they were attacked by smugglers around Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, shortly after the tollgate.

She said: “My husband and his colleagues who were also attached to the Federal Operations Unit, as we were told, were attacked by smugglers during the operation. He was the one that drove the Customs’ official Hilux car, which was taken for the operation. In the process, the smugglers overwhelmed the officers and they had to run away. Because my husband was driving the vehicle, he was captured by the smugglers who had blocked the road. He was said to have been taken away by the smugglers”.

According to Basirat, the Customs never even had the courtesy of visiting the family since the incident occurred.

“I was forced to visit their office in Lagos in company of members of my husband’s family – his younger brother, AbdulWaheed and their senior brother, Bolaji Tunji, the Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy to former governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

“During the visit, we were told that they were working on the matter. They told us that the police have arrested about 12 people. They said they have even arrested the owner of the smuggled rice. We were even shown the vehicle that the smugglers used to load the rice. The rice was still inside the yellow van in their office in Ikeja. But since then, no one is giving us information about what is happening. They have never visited us once since I went there,” she said.

She said since her husband was abducted, the responsibility for the upkeep of their six children, including their school fees had been on her and some family members.

“When my husband got missing, our last children, a set of twins, were less than six months. Till date, they are expected to start nursery school, I do not know where to even start from. We were told that they have stopped paying his salary since December 2018. Meanwhile, they are saying they cannot declare him dead yet as his body has not been found. So why then did they stop his salary?” the grieving wife queried.

Also Speaking on the issue, AbdulWaheed said his visits to the Customs office had not yielded any result.