As State Government, Customs Assures on Synergy
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Customs Area Comptroller, Ogun 1 Area Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi recenty informed the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun that the activities of customs operatives is overly driven by courtesy and discipline as the customs is a mere servant of the people.
Nnadi who was speaking when he paid a working visit to the governor at the Ogun State House, assured that whereas customs activities is a patriot and constitutional task, officers and men are trained to show discipline, professionalism and courtesy to members of the public in the course of their duty, and yet must remain firm and fearless in the discharge of their duty.
This is even as Governor Abiodun urged men of the Nigeria Customs Service to discharge their duties with human face by being civil when dealing with members of the public. Governor Abiodun stated that it is only when the Custom men treat people with dignity that they would cooperate with them.
He said, “Please find a way to discharge your duties with human face. Be civil when you are dealing with the people to minimize lose of lives. It is only when you treat people with respect that they will cooperate and give you to support that you need to carry out your assignment.
“The Customs must change the rules of engagement. You cannot engage in shooting in the markets or on the roads which in most cases result to death and expect the people to cooperate with you. This actions lead to mistrust. People are going through hard times and there are pent up anger everywhere. So our law enforcement agencies need to exercise restraint when enforcing the law.
The governor noted that whereas people in the border areas have lived and engaged in trans- border commercial activities for long, he lamented that some recent economic and fiscal policies have regularly led to skirmishes between the Customs and civilians, leading to casualties.
The governor however expressed delight that having worked in the state before his appointment, he is confident that Comptroller Nnadi will evolve a winning strategy aimed at changing the narrative of incessant clashes.
Worried about the spate of foreigners’ encroachment into border communities within the state, Governor Abiodun said the state government has met with the Vice President and the Attorney General of the Federation on the issue, adding that it was imperative to put a stop to frequent harassment of the people of the state by foreigners.
Speaking earlier, Comptroller Nnadi stressed the importance of Ogun State not only as a trade route, but also the fourth largest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
He lamented that despite Ogun State serving as a critical trade route between Nigeria and Benin Republic for long, it has become a war zone as a result of smuggling activities. He pledged to strive to change the ugly narratives by ensuring that his men pays greater attention to the rule of engagement; even as he urged the state authority at various levels to assist in changing the narrative by cautioning and appealing to citizens and those at border communities to desist from attacking or helping to undermine customs officers and men carrying out their lawful activities.
The custom area boss assured that his command would work with the State government and not allow any incursion into the nation’s territory, calling on government to look in the Ighofofi issue as it has not been resolved.