Laleye Dipo in Minna
Almost one year after their arrest, the Nigeria Customs Service is to commence the prosecution of two suspects arrested for smuggling into the country a large catche of ammunition.
Bukari Dauda a Nigerian and Martins Anokwara a Benenoise were arrested in July 2018 at the Nigeria-Benin border at Banana in Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State with 189,000 packages of live cartridges loaded in a utility vehicle. They were transferred to Abuja and detained at the Kuje Prison while investigation into the case took place.
The duo were brought to Minna the Niger State capital on Monday for their prosecution and are presently being kept at the Minna Maximum Security Prison.
The Customs Area Controller in charge of Niger, Kwara and Kogi commands, Alhaji Abba Kassim confirmed this in Minna on Thursday when he paid a courtesy visit to the state NUJ Chairman, Comrade Abdul Idris at the IBB Pen House.
Alhaji Kassim who did not say when the prosecution of the suspects would commence however disclosed that they would be tried for smuggling since the Customs headquarters had completed investigation into the alleged crime they committed.
“We cannot try them for gun running it is not in our mandate, we will only try them for smuggling” Kassim said.
He disclosed that three other suspects were presently being prosecuted in Minna for alleged smuggling but said ” it takes a long time for these cases to be completed.
Kassim decried what he described as the “spate at which smugglers and their sympathisers attack our officers at will from carrying out their constitutional duties” and therefore solicited the assistance of the media in mounting a vigorous campaign to check the trend.
He disclosed that the revenue generation target given to the area by the government this year was N3 billion saying that with a monthly generation of over N250m the command would surpass the target at the end of the year.
He disclosed that in May alone the command generated N293,559,557.88, adding that 23 seizures of used vehicles with duty paid value of N17.4 m was recorded in May this year.
In his remarks the NUJ chairman Comrade Idris said the union and its members would continue to partner with Customs so that it would discharge its duties effectively and diligently.
Idris, however, advised the organisation to take advantage of all the opportunities provided by the local SNF national media outfits in the state to improve their services.