The Acting Comptroller of Customs, Katsina Area Command, Comptroller Chedu Dalha Wada, says that smugglers are to be blamed for the lingering face-off between customs officers and the people in Katsina State.
CD Wada lamented how Katsina youths in large number, on several occasions will throw stones at customs personnel, provoking them to shoot at them in the course of discharging their duties.
According to CG Wada, intelligence report has revealed that their actions are propelled by smugglers who usually entice the youths with money, causing them to interfere and fight customs officers while discharging their duties.
Wada blamed the actions of the youths on ignorance and as such emphasised on the need to inundate the Katsina populace on the importance of customs activities in the state and the nation at large.
“We are aware that the public is not happy with customs, particularly, the smugglers. They don’t like customs officers because they feel customs is interfering in their businesses.
Therefore, they incite the youths against customs officers by throwing money at them.
“One of the key activities of customs officers is to halt the activities of smugglers. We have discovered that smugglers in the bid to smuggle their goods go to any length to influence the youths negatively.
“On several occasions, while discharging our duties in accordance with the law in Katsina and we make arrest, youths in large numbers attack our men, throwing stones at them, leaving the officers with the option of either to shoot or leave the smuggled goods and run for dear life.
“They intentionally provoke you to shoot in Katsina. What would you do if you have a gun and people are throwing stones at you?
“In fact, some of the traditional rulers confessed that the youths are really being misled to fight customs. That’s why they’re attacking customs and saying so many things which are not true against customs.
“Please let us advise our youths to desist from such act and to have regards and respect for the law,” Wada said.
Wada made the revelation during a customs/community consultative meeting on Monday organised by the Katsina Customs Command at their state headquarters.
On the essence of the consultative forum, Wada said it is meant to enlighten youths and communities on the activities of customs so as to foster harmony and end the hostilities against customs officers in the state.
“We invited traditional rulers, religious leaders and other stakeholders to the consultative forum to enlighten them on the activities of customs.
“We have slated a date for a meeting with them (youths). We will go to the grassroots to meet with all those youths and address them together with the traditional and religious leaders including their parents, and we will follow them to the community and address the issue,” CG Wada stated.
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