Border closure: Senate probes alleged extra judicial killings at borders by NCS operatives - The Naija Weekly

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Border closure: Senate probes alleged extra judicial killings at borders by NCS operatives


The Senate on Wednesday, mandated its Committee on Customs to investigate the alleged extra judicial killings at the nation’s border posts by operatives of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

This was sequel to a motion by Senator Tolulope Odebiyi (APC-Ogun West) during plenary on “the Need to condemn the incessant excesses and recent extra judicial killings of people by men of the NCS in Idiroko/Ipokia state constituency.”

Idiroko is a town in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Debating the motion, Odebiyi said since the closure of the country’s land borders, officials of customs have been conducting themselves in very reckless and unruly manner along the Idiroko axis.

“It is disturbing that precisely, on October 7, while we were on break, men of Nigeria Customs Service were alleged to have shot and killed a student including subjecting many students to various degrees of injury.

“The people of Idiroko state constituency are daily being harassed and treated with disdain by men of the Nigerian Customs Service.

“While many of the actions and excesses by the operatives including the recent killings are not only breaches but done against the state, sadly there are yet to be any report of any of the officers involved or reprimanded.”

Supporting the motion, Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe (APC-Kwara Central), said “we have debated on this floor the reason for the closure of the border and its importance.

“It is very unfortunate and sad that lives of Nigerians are being lost as a result of their actions. It is also sad that those men are not keeping to the code of their various services.”

In his remark, President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan, in a voice vote, called for the amendment of the prayers of the motion which was unanimously adopted by the senators.

Meanwhile Seme Customs command said it intercepted 55 fairly-used  vehicles smuggled into the country since the border closure on August 20 this year.

The Customs Spokesman in Seme, Abdullahi Hussaini, said in a statement that the seizure was part of the tremendous achievements recorded by the command in its anti-smuggling operations.

“The command within the period of the exercise intercepted 55 fairly used smuggled vehicles with DPV values worth millions of naira,” the customs spokesman said.

Hussaini described as baseless and unfounded reports on social media alleging that officers were collecting money in order to allow passage of fairly-used vehicles into the country despite the border drill.

He urged members of the public with tangible evidence that could assist the Command to tackle any recalcitrant to come forward for the benefit of all.

Hussaini also advised social media users to do proper investigation before making such serious allegations in order not to dampen the morale of officers in the discharge of their duties.

This was as the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) on Wednesday commended Nigeria government for allowing its products into the country for the Lagos International Trade Fair.

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Mr Samuel Dentu, gave the commendation in an interview with newsmen at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair.

The Ghanaian official said that Nigeria’s border closure almost created difficulties in bringing exhibition products to the fair but for the timely intervention of relevant Federal Government agencies.

“As a fall out of what is happening with the border closure, we had a bit of issues getting the products coming here for exhibition but we worked with the Nigeria customs and our embassy in Lagos and we were able to get to the fair.

“Nigerian Government helped us by taking Ghanaians to border to negotiate and our goods were released. This shows that the Government of Nigeria has been magnanimous enough to help us so far.

“We have been working with authorities here to make sure that we don’t suffer collateral damage as far as the closure is concerned.

“We eventually pulled through it because of the cordial relationship that we had with Nigeria authorities,” he said.

Dentu said that Ghanaians preferred to exhibit their products in Nigeria because of the similarity in language and products and, above all, the brotherly relationship.

“We know there are trade barriers, but that doesn’t stop the smooth relationship between both countries,” the Ghanaian official said.

About 37 Ghanaian companies are participating at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair, as against  29 companies that exhibited their goods at 2018 fair.

In a related development rice millers in Gombe State say they have recorded increased sales and patronage since the closure of the border by the Federal Government. A recent survey revealed that many of the rice millers who hitherto shut down businesses have reopened for business while others formed themselves into clusters to process rice in large quantities.

According to them, the decision by the President to close the border remains the best for the agricultural sector as it has enhanced local processing of rice in large quantities.

Alhaji Umar Na-Abu, the former Chairman, Rice Millers’ Association of Nigeria, Gombe State chapter told  a reporter that the closure was a good move to boost employment and local production. According to him, Nigeria has the capacity to feed itself.

“May God bless President Buhari for this initiative. We now supply rice to different parts of Nigeria, especially the Southern and there are more jobs here for everyone except you do not want to work. “We have left this place before but today we have all returned and we mill over 10,000 bags every day.

“I mill over 1,200 bags per day now with my machines as against 50 before. I sell with different prices depending on their types.

“We sell for N13,000, N14,000 and N15,000 per 50 kg. Now, we are taking a lot of youths off the street,’’ he said. Another miller, Abubakar Mohammed said that from the time the border was closed, his business had witnessed a lot of expansion and massive employment of youths who had started working for their money.

“Before the closure, we most times do not work at all and when we come here to work, we just mill between 15 and 20 bags…”

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