The Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Katsina State, Wada Chedi, has explained why his agency has failed to check smuggling in the state.
Mr Chedi said the state has too many unofficial exit and entry routes, which smugglers exploit to bring in contrabands.
He spoke during a stakeholders’ meeting on public and customs relations in Katsina, Thursday afternoon.
The comptroller said the number of Customs officers is insufficient to fight smuggling activities.
“Our officers can’t be everywhere because even if you bring all the Customs officers in Nigeria to Katsina, we can’t adequately man the borders, which is why we need the public to help us with credible information on smugglers. There are people where these smugglers come into this state, we want them to help us with information on the smuggler’s movement.
“There are 12 official borders in Katsina but as it is now, we have more than 100 entry and exit routes that these people follow to smuggle contraband. We make sure that our officers are on the official borders and we also do patrol to ensure that smugglers are apprehended,” Mr Chedi said.
He said smugglers have many strategies for evading officers at the borders because “they are cunning in nature.”
Mr Chedi also pointed out that smugglers have now found collaborators in bandits.
“Some desperate smugglers in the state go to the extent of collaborating with bandits, whereby we used to have a lot of attacks and record casualties,” he said.
In his comment, the Secretary to the State Government, Mustapha Inuwa, said border closure has not stopped the smuggling of contraband and other illegalities.
He called on the Customs officers to consider the economy of the people of the state, calling for the borders to be reopened.
“Let me tell you this; if we want to hear the truth, the closing of these borders didn’t stop smuggling. Go to the borders and see, people keep coming in and going out with goods. So, the borders should be reopened and measures should be taken to ensure that law and order in the borders are being adhered to,” Mr Inuwa said.
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