Customs suffers Black Thursday in Seme
… As mob butcher senior officer, burn vehicle
Stung by the resolute anti-smuggling stand of the Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), suspected bloodthirsty smugglers, working in cahoots with an irate mob allegedly led by a traditional chief, yesterday morning butchered a senior officer of the Command, setting ablaze his vehicle in the Ashipa area of Seme, one of Nigeria’s busiest international border post.
In an email release sent yesterday to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, the Command’s Customs Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent Ernest Olottah, said: “With heavy and sorrowful heart, the Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service announce the gruesome killing of one of our Senior Officers by some smugglers in the Ashipa area of Seme on Thursday, 29th August, 2013, at about 0950hrs.
“The deceased Customs officer, while in his official uniform, unarmed and driving to the Command’s Headquarter for a routine meeting, was accosted by a mob who forced him out of his vehicle. Buoyed by an identified Chief of the community, the officer was murdered in cold blood and his vehicle set ablaze.”
Olottah went on: “It is worth noting that the intensification of our anti smuggling operation which has led to the making of over 686 seizures since January 2013 has placed us on the danger of attacks like this from criminals who are being prevented from using the border for the anti economic and other nefarious activities.
“Our operatives due to their uncompromising stance against smuggling and protecting the nation’s economy have come under series of attacks by smugglers and some unpatriotic elements who see smuggling as their right. In some cases attempts made at disarming some of our operatives in the recent past were rebuffed.”
The CPRO explained that the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Othman Abdu Saleh, has in collaboration with sister-government agencies, including the Police, commenced moves to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime to book.
The CAC, according to him, posits that this unfortunate incident will not deter operatives of the command under his watch from carrying out their lawful duties.
The CPRO quotes the CAC as having said: ”This is indeed a sad day for us here in this Command, but let it me emphasised that we are not relenting in the discharge of our duty, as we will not allow the darkness of criminality to dampen the light of our service to our great country, Nigeria. We, in collaboration with the Police and under security agencies, hope to arrest and bring the perpetrators of this crime to book.”