At least 70 personnel of the Nigerian Customs Service were killed and many others injured in various attacks by suspected smugglers in Idi Iroko and Seme Border areas of Ogun and Lagos States in the past six months, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, retired Col. Hameed Ali said.
Col. Ali made the disclosure while addressing the Nigerian Business Community in Cotonou, the capital of Republic of Benin. He said the smugglers opened fire on the men who were on duty patrolling the borders.
He said some of the deceased were beaten and attacked with sticks and machetes by desperate smugglers “who wanted the old ways to continue”.
“Some of the law enforcement officers were on a routine raid of warehouses, which are said to be located in a notorious area.
“At Idi Iroko, some of the law enforcement officers were attacked on arrival before even undertaking their task. For us to work harmoniously, this act must stop” he said.
He lamented the loss of 70 men, noting that the biggest problem confronting the Nigeria Customs Service is the lack of compliance on the part of traders, who, according to him, make dishonest declarations.
He added that aside the fact that the federal government suffers grievous losses as a result of smuggling, “the senseless killing of officers is one of the biggest problems confronting the Service”
Col. Ali warned stakeholders against unwholesome practices, adding that all those involved in trans-border trade must read the ETLS protocol and understand the laws as they affect their trade.