The Nigerian Senate has called for stringent actions against Customs officers who misuse firearms at the nation’s borders and advocated for a reduction in the number of checkpoints at border communities to facilitate the unhindered flow of goods.
This decision was reached during a Senate plenary session and marks the latest development in an ongoing effort to address the alleged misuse of firearms by Customs personnel.
The Senate’s decision comes four months after an ad hoc committee was established to investigate and make recommendations regarding the reported misuse of firearms by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) officers.
Presenting the committee’s report to the parliament, Francis Fadahunsi, the Chair of the Committee, made several key recommendations aimed at improving border security and trade facilitation.
Fadahunsi specifically recommended the replacement of the comptrollers at the Idiroko and Katsina borders.
He emphasized the need for the Federal government to direct the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale, to reduce the number of checkpoints at border communities.
This reduction would promote the efficient movement of goods between these communities, their main towns, and the local markets.
The Senate went further to urge the Federal Government to instruct the Comptroller General of Customs to reduce the multiple checkpoints in Katsina State, emphasizing the importance of ensuring the free flow of goods in and out of border communities.
The Customs boss was also encouraged to redeploy the controllers of Katsina and embrace modern technology in fulfilling the agency’s responsibilities.
The Senate’s concerns extended to the alleged issuance of unofficial receipts to traders and non-traders in Jibia and Mai’adua, Katsina State, by Customs officials and other security agencies.
This practice was recognized as a source of severe hardship for residents of these communities, impacting the movement of agricultural produce across major markets and even to Katsina town and neighboring states.
As part of the comprehensive recommendations, the Senate urged the Comptroller General of Customs to take immediate action to rectify these issues.
This action included the redeployment of the Comptrollers of Katsina/Kaduna and Idiroko Area Commands, appointing replacements who would establish effective community engagement programs.
Such programs would foster positive relationships and ensure that Customs carries out its duties without disregarding the needs and aspirations of the border communities.
This Senate’s decisive stance on the misuse of firearms and the simplification of trade flows at the nation’s borders sends a clear message about the importance of maintaining security and fostering an environment conducive to the exchange of goods, benefiting both the government and the people living in these border regions.
The ball is now in the court of relevant authorities to implement these recommendations effectively and ensure their impact on the ground
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