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Customs Offers Bandits Rice In Katsina

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Customs Offers Bandits Rice In Katsina

Abiodun OBA

The coordinator of the sector 4 command, joint border patrol team of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the North-West,  Compt. Aliyu Mohammed, says he had to offer seven bags of seized rice to bandits in exchange for freedom.

Addressing journalists in Katsina on Tuesday, Mohammed said the incident occurred in Dutsinma LGA of the state.

Mohammed who was commenting on the challenges encountered by the customs officers in the discharge of their duties narrated one of his encounters with bandits in a bush in Katsina.

He said the gunmen asked for seven out of the 37 bags of rice they seized at the time, if the officers wanted to be released alive.

He also complained that the operatives do not get enough support from the people.

According to Mohammed, in one instance, smugglers organized some villagers to hurl stones at the customs officers.

“The challenge we have is that the people we are working for are not supporting us. If we have any problem, just accidental discharge in a village, the whole people will bounce on customs. If you make seizure, instead of the villagers to assist you, they may end up attacking you,” Mohammed said.

“I sacrificed my life to enter the bush where the bandits are — the last time we had contact with them — to the extent that they were a little bit friendly with us.

“We seized 37 bags of rice and they said if we are to go, they have to take seven bags. So, we gave them seven bags to save our lives.

“So, you see the risks we take, but people, especially those living along the border communities, engage in attacking our officers.”

In a related development, The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Area Command in Katsina, said it intercepted smuggled goods worth N79million between February and March 2021.

Mr Adewale Aremu, the state Area Controller of Customs (ACC), disclosed this in Katsina on Wednesday.

Aremu said the seized goods included 470 bags of 50kg rice concealed in different compartments of a fuel tanker.

“Others include 367 bales of second-hand clothes worth over N30million; used Honda Accord salon car worth over N8million, as well as, 166 jerry cans of vegetable oil valued at N1.8 million.

“Also confiscated are 321 cartons of foreign spaghetti; 97 cartons of couscous; 110 cartons of macaroni; 65 cartons of milky creamer; 14 cartons of clinical plaster and 187 bags of sugar,” he said.

Aremu said the tanker with registration number KWL 427 TH has a duty value of N13.5million.

“The trailer used for conveying the second-hand clothes is valued at N12.1million,” he said.

Aremu reiterated that the NCS will not relent in its efforts to track down smugglers in the country, pointing out that the practice was detrimental to the economy of Nigeria

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