Two customs officers have been killed by suspected bandits and smugglers in two separate incidents in Kebbi and Katsina States.
Nigeriacrime.com gathered that others sustained injuries from the attacks.
Confirming the sad development, Public Relations Officer Kebbi Area Command, Mubarak Mustapha, said that the Kebbi incident which is the most recent occurred on Wednesday, August 24, 2023, while customs officers of the Kebbi Area Command were conducting a stop-and-search operation along Bunza, Dakingari, Koko Road, Kebbi.
Suspected bandits who drove in an ash-coloured Toyota Corolla vehicle confronted them with heavy gunfire. Tragically, two among them, Inspector of Customs, Alhaji Kabiru Shehu and Customs Assistant II, Abdullahi Muhammad, lost their lives in the course.
While the Kebbi Area Command has launched a manhunt to apprehend the suspects responsible for the attack, Mubarak noted that the deceased officers have since been laid to rest in accordance with Islamic rites.
In a separate incident earlier on Wednesday, August 23, in the Dankama Area of Katsina State, SC Isah disclosed that while officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service under Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘B’ (FOU ‘B’) on a patrol mission were carrying out their statutory duties, they were attacked by hoodlums suspected to be involved in smuggling.
Customs Public Relations Officer for Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘B’ (FOU ‘B’) Kaduna, SC Isah Sulaiman, said that the attack left an Inspector of Customs Haruna A. seriously injured. The officer had since been rushed to a hospital where he is reported to be responding to treatment.
Expressing his concern about the incidents, the Comptroller FOU ‘B’, Musa Ibrahim Jalo, has directed a full-scale investigation to identify and apprehend the perpetrators.
The Customs Area Controllers for both Kaduna and Kebbi areas have called on community leaders, parents, and traditional rulers to discourage such attacks and cooperate in maintaining peace and security.
They equally urged members of the public to provide any information regarding suspected smugglers and criminals to assist in maintaining law and order, assuring informants of strict confidentiality in the collaborative effort to ensure the safety and security of the nation.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Customs Service has warned that its Officers would not fold their arms and allow smugglers who have no regard for the laws of the land to perpetrate their nefarious activities to the detriment of the nation’s security and economic well-being.
Jalo, the Comptroller FOU ‘B’, stated that any further attacks on any Officer of the Unit would not be tolerated and would be treated with utmost resistance from customs operatives. He added that such violent attacks will never deter the operatives of the Unit from carrying out their legitimate duties, no matter whose ox is gored.
The Nigeria Customs Service plays a crucial role in enforcing government fiscal policies and combating smuggling, which directly impacts the country’s security and economic well-being. These incidents underscore the dangers faced by customs officers in the line of duty and the need for enhanced security measures to protect those responsible for upholding the law.