A senior official of the Nigeria Customs Service has explained how operatives offered bandits seven bags of seized rice to save themselves from the criminals.
Comptroller Aliyu Mohammed, who is the Coordinator of the Sector 4 Command of the Joint Border Patrol Team in the North West, narrated how the incident occurred during a press briefing on Tuesday in Katsina State.
He told reporters that the operatives had to offer seven bags of rice to the bandits who he said were operating in Dutsinma Local Government Area of the state.
Mohammed explained that operatives had entered the bush where the bandits were taking shelter, saying that was the same route that smugglers used to bring contrabands into the country.
“We (the operatives) seized 37 bags of rice and the bandits asked for seven bags before allowing them to pass and save their lives.
“So, you see the risk we take but people, especially those living along the border communities engaged in attacking our officers,” he decried.
The comptroller noted that the sector has intercepted contrabands with a duty-paid value of over N304,325,850.90 and arrested four smugglers in Katsina State from February 1 to date.
He called on the residents to always check the expiry date of any product before use, as well as supporting the customs in their resolve to curb the activities of smugglers in the region.
Other items seized within the period include 1,021 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg, 28,830 litres of petrol, a Toyota Corolla 2020 model, and a Toyota Camry 2016 model, as well as 200 bags of dates of 100kg.
Channels Television had reported on February 2 that items with a duty paid value of N152.866 million were intercepted by the Joint Border Patrol Team in Katsina.
Mohammed had advised residents living around the border to desist from accommodating smugglers and their illegally smuggled items.
He threatened to use Section 8 of the Customs and Exile Management Act (CEMA) to expose all items deposited in various warehouses suspected to have been smuggled into the country.
The customs official had also warned traditional leaders, particularly in Kebbi State to desist from mobilising hooligans to attack the security operatives.
He lamented that a lot of customs personnel were killed, and others injured last year while carrying out their official assignments.