Customs boss says it's hard to eradicate smuggling at border

According to him, a situation where officers are attacked, matchetted and had their nails removed by smugglers will not be tolerated.

Multafu gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.

He said that the service would not be deterred and would continue to make seizures.

``We make seizures everyday; their (smugglers) vehicles and their motorcycles,’’ Multafu said.

``Once in a while, if it happens that we are on the defensive, we have to use our guns. Idiroko is the most notorious of border posts in West Africa.

``I cannot say how many of our officers were killed right from Seme up to Idiroko and Imeko.

``The lands are accessible to any would-be smuggler, The terrain is another obstacles to smooth operation because everywhere is road,’’ he told NAN.

Multafu said that there was no constrain in terms of crossing the border, adding that there were three major entrances - Idiroko, Ohunbe and Imeko.

He said the commands also had out-stations like Ijoun, Ifoyintedo and Ijofin to curtail any smuggling on foot, machines or through the waterways.

According to the controller, Ohunbe, Oke Odan and Ilase are some of the notorious places located along the road to Ajilete.

The controller said that when he resumed at Ogun command on January 2016, he called for stakeholders’ meeting, thinking that both parties could not continue to be at war always.

``After some days, they (smugglers) over-ran two of my officers with motorcycle; one is in a private place of healing and another in an hospital in Kano.

``One time, we made seizures at Ajilete. They barricaded the road, matchetted our officers and carried away two of our rifles. I constrained my officers from not shooting

``The last time, in the process of bringing the seizures from Ajilete, the miscreants blocked the road. Our officers secured the seizures and in the process, there was a shoot-out and we recorded some casualties,’’ Multafu said.

He said that it was not easy to eradicate smuggling, adding that the service was doing its best to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum.

``We have intercepted a lot of motorcycles being used in smuggling. They used a kind of vehicle that can carry 80 bags of rice.

``As long as the service has been authorised to entrench and implant Federal Government’s fiscal policy on anti-smuggling activities, we will continue to carry out our responsibility,’’ the controller said.

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