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Senate advocates punishment for misuse of firearms by Customs personnel

…Wants long range cameras at border checkpoints

By Benjamin Arida://

Senate has asked the 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 activities of smugglers of prohibited products into the country.

The upper legislative chamber also recommended usage of scanner equipment in all land borders and sea ports to scan prohibited products before smuggling it 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.

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.

“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 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 abuse of firearms should be punished.

“The federal government should provide basic amenities for people in the affected border communities,” Senator Fadahunsi stressed

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

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

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

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

It blamed the Comptroller of Customs in Idiroko, Katsina and Kaduna for the lack of establishing mutual relationships between the area commands and border host communities.

The committee, therefore, called the Controller-General of Customs to remove and replace the three Comptrollers for peace to be restored in the border 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 realize its mandate without being insensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the communities in the State, “the committee said.

It also called for the need to lift the 20 kilometers ban on sales of petroleum products in border communities.

“The federal government should lift the 20km ban on sales of petroleum products in border communities. This policy is a threat to peaceful coexistence, a denial of the people to belong to the larger Nigeria society and a serious cause of hardship in these communities.

“The federal government in making policies, should put into consideration the ancestral bond/relationship that exists between the border communities in Nigeria,” the report added.

Peterideal

A journalist by profession and I have been in active practice for so many years. A graduate of Political Science from University of Abuja. Maried with four children.

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