Senator Francis Fadahunsi, has disclosed that officials of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, going out on field operations are accompanied by Nigerian Army, NA, officers that are not cleared from their barracks for such operations.
Fadahunsi who is a retired Customs officer disclosed this at a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Customs on the recent killing in Ibadan during a raid on the market by Customs officers, saying that a military officer told him that the soldiers involved in the operation were not cleared by the Army for the operation.
He condemned the raid, explaining that such action endangers lives through direct confrontation with traders, adding that it was a waste of manpower.
He pointed out that during his active service days in the Customs, he did not go to the markets but worked through intelligence to stop smugglers from getting their goods into the country. The former Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, DCG, queried the officer representing the Customs if he ever saw him (Fadahunsi) in such market raids in the north where he served.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of Customs, Joseph Attah, told Vanguard Maritime Report that he is not in the best position to answer, stressing the Army spokesman should be in the best opposition to give the right response to such inquiry.
The Public Relations Officer of 81 Division of the NA covering Lagos and Ogun, Major Olaniyi Osoba, said that it is the duty of the Army to be involved in the provision of security in the country but that when it is internal security, the Army is normally not the lead security agency.
He, however, stated: “Nigerian Army is involved in internal security operations all over the country, and if you have observed, you will see that mostly it is joint operations because the NA is not supposed to be the lead agency in internal security operations.
“You will see them in joint operations with other security agencies and that one has been in existence,” he concluded.