The Senate of Nigeria has expressed its disapproval of the misuse of firearms by personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the country’s borders. In response, the Senate has called for appropriate punishment for those involved to ensure accountability within the agency.
Furthermore, the Senate has recognized the need to foster the free flow of goods within border communities by reducing the number of NCS checkpoints. During a recent plenary session, the Senate approved the recommendations made by an ad hoc committee that was established four months ago to investigate allegations of firearm misuse by NCS personnel.
The committee’s report, presented by Chairman Francis Fadahunsi, emphasized the urgency of taking immediate action to address the issue. Fadahunsi stated, “The Federal Government should direct the Comptroller-General of Customs and other heads of security agencies to reduce the multiple checkpoints mounted in border communities. This will aid the free flow of goods in and around the communities to the main town and around the markets in the border communities.”
Specifically, the Senate has directed the Federal Government to instruct the NCS Comptroller-General, Bashir Adewale, to reduce the number of checkpoints in Katsina State. This reduction will enable the smooth movement of goods in and out of the communities.
In addition to this, the Senate has called for the redeployment of NCS controllers in Katsina and Idiroko. The Senate has urged the Comptroller-General to embrace modern technology in the discharge of the agency’s mandate.
Another recommendation put forth by the Senate is for the Comptroller-General to investigate and review the alleged issuance of unofficial receipts to traders and non-traders in Jibia and Mai’adua, Katsina State, by officials of Customs and other security agencies. This practice has caused significant hardships for the residents of these communities, making it challenging to transport goods, particularly farm produce, to major markets and neighboring states.
The Senate recommends the redeployment of the Comptrollers of Kastina/Kaduna and Idiroko Area Commands. The Senate suggests appointing replacements who will establish a robust community engagement program. This approach will contribute to a healthy relationship between the Customs agency and the communities, ensuring that the agency fulfills its mandate while being sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the people.