The Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun 1 Area Command, Mr. Abdullahi Maiwada has cleared air on the attacks between the men and officers of NCS and smugglers.
In an exclusive phone chat on Thursday, he said the agency is just discharging its duties by enforcing Federal Government policy and adhering to rules of engagement while tackling smugglers.
“As an agency, we are discharging our responsibility and enforcing government policy. While enforcing such policy, we have to adhere to the rules of engagement guiding the principles of all our operations, which we are doing,” he said.
Maiwada also noted that the only issue they normally clash with smugglers bothers on conflict of principles especially when cautioned on smuggling activities.
According to him; “the issue is that in a situation where you work with people that you have contracts in terms of principles, definitely, there will be collision”.
He explained further that they have mandate to stop smuggling, while smugglers are not ready to stop, which leads to the enforcement and implementation of government policy.
“We are to stop smuggling and the other side wants to smuggle. What do you expect to happen? There will be a collision definitely,” he said.
Maiwada, however, maintained that what the NCS is doing is simply implementation, persuasion and enforcement through sensitisation for smugglers to stop their nefarious acts and do the needful but failure to do so resorts to enforcement by the NCS.
“In the course of such enforcement, we are bound to have altercations. It’s obvious some of them are die-hard, recalcitrant and want to smuggle by hook and crook.
“We have no option than to enforce and in the process of enforcement, if it comes our way and they unleash any force, we’re bound to defend ourselves and that’s what we’re doing.
“Definitely, whatever they are doing, we have to defend ourselves. That’s what we’re doing with casualties sometimes from us and them.
“Last week, an incident took place where an officer was matcheted. Another incident involving some cult boys called ‘Eye boys’, which one of them lost life because they attacked with different forms of weapons like cutlasses and we have to defend ourselves and one of them lost his life,” Maiwada said.
Meanwhile, the Customs spokesman frowned at the unfortunate situation where people do say the agency’s personnel killed an innocent person going to farm or thereabout.
He said: “Unfortunately, somebody will say an innocent person going to farm was shot by NCS Officials. No! NCS officials won’t just start shooting without somebody triggering it.
“Somebody must have attacked them before they respond. Majorly, we think people who want to make smuggling a means of livelihood should change their ways of livelihood. It’s not allowed by law”.
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