Arms, Drug Trafficking: Katsina Gov urges tighter border patrol, condemns harassments of residents

Arms, Drug Trafficking: Katsina Gov urges tighter border patrol, condemns harassments of residents

By Faith Awa Maji, Katsina

The Katsina State Governor, Malam Dikko Umaru Radda, has expressed anger over the repeated assaults of residents in some communities by operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, anti-smuggling special force.

He urged the NCS to renew its fight against smuggling of arms and illicit drugs, fueling armed banditry across States in the North West and Central geo-political zones.

Radda made the call when he received the Senate Adhoc Committee investigating the incessant killings of people smuggling rice and other prohibited goods into the country by officers of the Nigeria Customs.

Governor Radda observed that while it is essential for the Nigeria Customs Service to stop the smuggling of contraband food items, it is more important for the agency to curb the smuggling of arms and illicit drugs into the country.

According to him, “In as much as it is essential to stop the smuggling of food items such as rice and tiger nuts among others, it is more of a priority for the Customs to curb the movement of arms and illicit drugs through our borders because these contraband items end up in the hands of armed bandits.

“Curbing the smuggling of arms will also complement ongoing efforts by security agencies in the fight against bandits and other armed groups operating in different parts of the country. I have interacted at length with the members of the committee, we support their work, and we hereby call on our people that reside along the borders to cooperate with them,” he said.

While speaking further, the Katsina Governor, expressed dismay on the increasing harassment suffered by members of Jibia border communities from the hands of Customs officials.

This, he said, compounded the movement of consumable goods from and to the area. Dikko Radda observed that Nigerian law had spelt out clearly prohibited goods that could not be allowed into the country.

While regretting the alarming rate of proliferation of arms and ammunition into the country, Radda said his administration would henceforth not condone the continued harassment of Katsina citizens carrying out their legitimate businesses, by Customs’ anti-smuggling personnel.

Earlier, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Senator Francis Fadaunshi said they were in State on a fact finding mission over the alleged harassment of members of Jibia communities by personnel of the Nigeria Customs.

He said, the visit followed a motion raised by the Senator representing Katsina Central, Senator Abdulaziz Yar’adua, seeking the intervention of the apex chamber.

The committee which is being chaired by Senator Francis Fadahunsi, has Senators Abdulaziz Musa Yar’adua, Adeola Olamilekan, Shuaib Salisu, Kawu Sumaila, Tony Nwoye and Suleiman Sadiq as members.

The committee which was received by the Governor at the Government House in Katsina was accompanied by some senior Custom officials from the Federal Operations Unit Zone B.

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