Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, Senator Francis Fadahunsi, has alleged that some retired military, police and paramilitary officers are behind the ongoing smuggling activities at the nation’s land borders.
Fadahunsi, who retired as a Deputy Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, said this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Friday.
He lamented that the NCS lacked the capacity to tackle the criminals whom he said were sabotaging the nation’s development efforts.
He said, “The Nigerian Customs Service does not have enough manpower to tackle the smugglers. For any patrol team, there must be two jeeps with at least 11 personnel. However, we see cases whereby a patrol is taking place with three officers; that is nothing but selfish and fraudulent patrol.
“When they now accost the armed smugglers in more than 100 vehicles in the middle of the night, nothing can be done.
“There is even an incident in Ogun State when a Custom driver was shot and was taken away by the smugglers.
“Who are these smugglers, particularly in the Ilaro and Idiroko axis of Ogun State? They are all retired police, retired Customs, retired military personnel and retired personnel of other security operatives. Those are the people carrying contraband goods.
“Unfortunately, if they are moving by 1:00am nobody can stop them because the NCS does not have enough capacity to stop them.
“If the personnel are just about three or four in a patrol jeep, the smugglers will just shoot the driver and the leader of the patrol will abandon the patrol and escape.
“The smugglers will then take the shot Customs officer away. The NCS is losing officers always.
“A serving brigadier general is coordinating the patrol activities of the NCS which is abnormal.”