Senate seeks punishment for Customs personnel who misuse firearms

Senate seeks punishment for Customs personnel who misuse firearms

The Senate has asked Comptroller-General of Customs Adewale Adeniyi to punish any of the agency’s personnel found guilty of misusing firearms at the country’s borders.

This was even as it recommended the installation of long-range cameras at border checkpoints across the country to check the activities of smugglers of prohibited products into the country.

The upper legislative chamber also recommended the use of scanner equipment at all land borders and seaports to checkmate the smuggling of prohibited products into the country.

These were part of the recommendations adopted in the reports of an ad hoc committee established in July to probe the alleged misuse of firearms by the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

The chairman of the ad hoc committee, Senator Francis Fadahunsi (APC, Osun East), presented the report on behalf of other members at the plenary on Tuesday.

Senator Fadahunsi stressed: “The Federal Government should direct the Comptroller General of Customs and other heads of security to reduce the multiple checkpoints mounted in the border communities. It will aid the free flow of goods in and around the communities to the main town.

“Comptroller-General of Customs should investigate and review the border activities. Officers found guilty of the abuse of firearms should be punished.

“The federal government should provide basic amenities for people in the affected border communities.”

The committee also recommended that there should be recruitment of youths from border communities into the service.

It added that Customs should adopt the usage of modern technologies in order to make their personnel work effectively according to global best practices.

The committee also urged the NCS to employ helicopters to monitor the activities of the smugglers and the usage of speed boats by its officers in riverine border communities.

According to the report, auctioning of seized items should be done from time to time to avoid being liquidated.

The committee further blamed the comptroller of customs in Idiroko, Katsina, and Kaduna for failing to establish mutual relationships between their area commands and host communities.

“The Comptroller General of Customs should redeploy the comptrollers of Kastina/Kaduna and Idiroko area commands and appoint replacements who should establish a good community engagement programme. This will create a healthy relationship, make the Customs realise its mandate without being insensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the communities in the State,” the committee recommended.

The committee made further recommendations that included: “The federal government should lift the 20-km ban on sales of petroleum products in border communities. This policy is a threat to peaceful coexistence, a denial of the people’s right to belong to the larger Nigerian society and a serious cause of hardship in these communities.”

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