Katsina gov chides Customs over assault on residents
Governor Dikko Radda of Katsina State has criticised operatives of Nigeria Customs Service’s (NCS) Anti-Smuggling Special Force, for repeated assaults on residents of the state.
Radda, in a statement, advised NCS to rather renew its fight against smuggling of arms and illicit drugs, which is fuelling armed banditry across the states in North West and North Central geo-political zones.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ibrahim Mohammed, said his principal stated this when he received the Senate ad-hoc committee investigating the incessant killing of people smuggling rice and other prohibited goods into the country by Customsofficers.
Led by its Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Francis Fadahunsi, the committee has Senators Abdulaziz Yar’adua, Adeola Olamilekan, Shuaib Salisu, KawuSumaila, Tony Nwoye, and Suleiman Sadiq as members.
The committee, which was received by the governor at the Government House in Katsina, was accompanied by some senior Customs officials from the Federal Operations Unit Zone B.
“In as much as it is essential to stop the smuggling of food items such as rice and tiger nuts, it is more of a priority for the Customs to curb the movement of arms and illicit drugs through our borders because these contraband items end up in the hands of armed bandits,” it stated.
According to the committee, curbing the smuggling of arms will also complement ongoing efforts by security agencies in the fight against bandits and other armed groups operating in different parts of the country.
Radda said: “I have interacted at length with members of the committee. We support their work, and hereby call on our people that reside along the borders to cooperate with them.”
The Katsina governor expressed dismay over the increasing harassment suffered by members of Jibia border communities from the hands of Customs officials.
This, he said, compounded the movement of consumable goods to and from area, observing that Nigerian law spelt out clearly goods that should not be allowed into the country.
While regretting the alarming rate of arms proliferation into the country, Radda said his administration would henceforth not condone the harassment of Katsina citizens carrying out their legitimate businesses by Customs’ anti-smuggling personnel.
Fadaunshi said they were in Katsina on a fact-finding mission over the alleged harassment of members of Jibia communities by Customs.
This, he said, followed a motion raised by Senator Abdulaziz Yar’Adua (Katsina Central), seeking the intervention of the red chamber.
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