Smugglers attack Customs officers, damage patrol vehicle

The Co-ordinator, Customs headquarters Anti-smuggling Task-force, Deputy Comptroller Shallangwa Hassan Sule, has condemned the brutal attack carried out by suspected smugglers, who also allegedly mobilised youths from Kishi and Igbeti communities of Oyo/Osun Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), against Customs officers on duty.Sule, said this during his visit to the Command.

Speaking during his visit to the command last last week, Sule said that the smugglers descended on officers of the Customs Task-force performing their legitimate duty, adding that the brutality, which left some officers bleeding on the spot and their patrol vehicle destroyed may be connected with Customs effort to curtail illegal border trades in the region.

He said, “Task-force team had in the past weeks made it very difficult for smugglers in that axis to carry out their nefarious activities, hence they resorted to violence. This is with a view to intimidating the officers from carrying out their legitimate duty, but we want to assure them that we cannot be intimidated by these acts of violence.

“We shall continue to vigorously perform our duty and also restrain from the use of arms with respect to the sanctity of human lives. But I must warn that we shall not condone further acts of hooliganism to distract our operations”.

He added, “I want to state here for records that this team, which was constituted by the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji   Dikko Inde Abdullahi, is a special anti-smuggling unit that is compact, fully kitted and staffed with highly trained and experienced officers.

“Their duty is to compliment the anti-smuggling effort of the border Commands in the face of challenging security situation in the country. The impact of this special Task-force have been felt in all areas of operations by the high profile seizures of contraband goods intercepted in the region.”

“Let me use this opportunity to assure the trading community in the State that, as long as they engage in legitimate trade, they have nothing to fear. But those who think they can make profit through compromising our economy, health and national security have everything to fear, because we must always bring them to justice.”

Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Richard Oteri, in his remarks, said that between January and June 2014, the Command has recorded 105 seizures, with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N99.8million, and 6 suspects standing trial for economic sabotage.

The goods, he said, had been deposited at the government warehouse in Ibadan.   The items inspected in the warehouse include 1,508 bags of foreign rice, 71 bales of second hand clothes, 45 bales of textile materials, 13 used vehicles, used in conveying contraband goods, 21 vehicles used in conveying contraband goods, 744 tokunbo tyres and many general merchandise goods

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