WHY SMUGGLERS ARE AFTER OUR OFFICERS - CUSTOMS COMPTROLLER
Ogun State Area Commander of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr. Oteri Richard yesterday reviewed his six months stay in the state and lamented the incessant attacks and killings of the command's officers and men by smugglers.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Mr. Suraj Adekunbi, yesterday, the Assistant Comptroller of Customs in the state, Oteri, also described as hell-some the illicit activities of smugglers whom he said he would give the run for their lives.
According to the customs comptroller, no fewer than five officers and men of the command were recently shot and attacked by desperate smugglers 'who were not happy with our improved activities aimed at checking their illicit business.'
Oteri who reiterated his commitment to fighting smuggling in the state to a stand-still assured the state Assembly and the people of the state that the fight would be accomplished without inflicting pains or death on innocent people of the state.
His words: 'Yes, no doubt about that; there is pent-up anger because we have stepped up our job in recent time and that has created frustration and pains for smugglers across the command. I want to assure you that we shall carry out our duties with decorum and civility.''
On the issue of alleged incessant killings of members of the public by members of the service, the comptroller said: 'For me, I don't know of any member of the public that were shot but I know of many of my officers that were either killed or maimed in the course of discharging their duties.'
'It was because of this and my managerial ability that I reached out to the traditional rulers in our host communities. Honourable members, let me tell you here that smuggling is one business that those involved in it are not ready to quit.
'Those involved in it have made enough money so much that they have effrontery to fight us as well as arm thugs to either kill or harm us. This is bad. Only two weeks ago, in Owon Community, two members of my command were shot and it was through the help of the traditional doctors that we were able to extract bullets because we realised that was what killed the other officer.'
Describing major boarders in the country as porous, Oteri lamented that many Nigerians involved in the illicit trade were not willing to leave it.
Despite the killing and maiming of the Command's officers and men, Oteri said the NCS would not relent in its efforts at curbing importation of illegitimate goods into the country.