Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi, on Wednesday said that the killing of a Customs officer recently at the Seme border station near Badagry, Lagos, will not deter the Service from fighting smuggling in the country.
Abdullahi gave the assurance during a condolence visit to the family of the deceased, John Motojehi, at Ibereko, near Badagry.
He was represented by the Zonal Coordinator, Zone ‘A’ of the NCS, Assistant Comptroller-General Victor Gbemudu.
The Customs chief also assured the widow and family of the slain officer of adequate support.
He expressed shock over the killing and pledged the sponsorship of the deceased children in the area of their education at all levels.
He also said that the killing will not deter Customs officers from discharging their official responsibility to the nation, noting that, rather, it will cause them to redouble their efforts.
He described the Service as a system that ensures welfare of its personnel.
“I am here on behalf of the Comptroller-General, who attaches importance to the welfare and lives of all our officers and men. We want to assure you that you are not alone in this and we are with you all the way.”
Motojehi, a Superintedent of Customs, and Officer-in-Charge of Aradagun Patrol Team, was killed by persons suspected to be the villagers sympathetic to smugglers’ cause at the Ashipa area of Seme while returning from his duty post to the Seme Area Command Headquarters for a routine meeting.
Noted for his dedication and commitment to duty, Motojehi was waylaid by a rampaging mob, forced out of his car and killed while his Peugeot 206 car in which he was driving to the office was set ablaze.
A Custom anti-smuggling patrol van was also vandalized and set ablaze by the same group of persons who see smuggling along the international frontier as a right.
Speaking to journalists after the visit, Gbemudu said that the Service was taken aback by the incident, noting that some persons chose to defy the various counsels given by the Customs Community Relations meeting and decided to kill an officer who was not only working in the area, but was also residing in the community with his family.
“I know the Controller has this Customs Community parley with the people every month. I don’t know why this happened. This officer lives in their midst and this is why we advise people who live in glass houses not to throw stones.
“Some arrests have been made and, in due course, I think those behind this will be prosecuted. Our officers are not alone. The Service will always stand by its men.”
Gbemudu added that the Service is still working on the housing needs of its officers as it is trying to get barracks accommodation at Okokomaiko area of Lagos where officers serving at Seme and other Commands within Lagos will be accommodated.
Also commenting on the death of the officer, Oba Israel Okoya of Ibereko described Motojehi as a gentle officer who had spent years in the community and was not known to be troublesome.
The monarch added that the deceased was committed to his job and was one of his very reliable non-indigene residents.