DSS Arrests Border Drill Security Operatives, Queries Top Customs Officials over Smuggling Allegation

Border post, sourced from Premium Times

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Some members of the Special Taskforce on border drill drawn from various security agencies, including the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have been arrested over allegation of involvement in smuggling some goods into to the country.
The arrest, sources said, was made by the Department of State Security (DSS) which attention was drawn to the allegation following viral video showing some members of the security operatives involved in smuggling.
The arrest, according to our sources covers all the border areas in the North and Seme borders where it was alleged that smugglers relied on some operatives of the Task Force for the supply of smuggled goods.
In the video, sources said security vehicles from Nigeria were seen being used to bring foreign rice into Nigeria.
It was gathered that the security operatives were also allegedly involved in smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
Our source equally said three senior officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) were invited by the DSS to make statements over the involvement of some customs officers in the smuggling exercise.
The invitation by the DSS followed an allegation linking the top officials to having knowledge of the wrong doings among officers who are part of the Task Force.
Our source told SHIPPING DAY that the Comptroller-General of the Customs, Rtd Col. Hammed Ali is furious over the latest development linking some senior customs officers to the smuggling allegation.
It was gathered that the DSS is currently investigating the details of the allegation in what if indicted the affected officers will face severe disciplinary measures.
It would be recalled that the dirty deal was blown open when the Police which is a member of the Task Force issued a security report about plans by security operatives of the Benin Republic planning to arrest any Nigerian security personnel found to be involved in illegal deals in that country.
Sources said the Benin Republic security operatives were angry that some unscrupulous Nigerian security operatives were allegedly involved in smuggling some food items, particularly rice for sale to Nigerian traders willing to buy them.
The plan of the Benin Republic was to arrest and charge the involved Nigerian security officials for espionage activities to embarrass Nigeria, according to intelligence report by the Police.
The Benin Republic operatives are worried that while the border remained closed, some privileged security operatives, among them some Customs officers in uniform were busy going into their country to smuggle rice for selfish purposes.
They were said to have prepared to effect the arrest until their plans were leaked with warning to all security operatives to beware or suffer humiliation.
The intelligence report dated November 13, sighted by SHIPPING DAY and issued by the Police which is part of the Joint Border Patrol confirmed this allegation.
The Police had in that report warned all its operatives not to enter Benin Republic in their uniform for any unofficial trip to avoid any “ untoward development”.
The intelligence report warned that on no account should any Police personnel irrespective of section be allowed to cross the border to the neighbouring country of Benin.
It would be recalled that a member of the House of Representatives had also come out to allege the involvement of some unidentified security operatives who are involved in smuggling in the Northern part of the country following the closure of the border.
At plenary, Hon Sada Soli (APC-Katsina) had accused Customs of connivance with smugglers to smuggle some items into the country.
Soli was quoted saying, “Mr. CG you are a very honest person and some of your men, are also honest and I want to tell you that this policy would push people into illegal activities the more. You need to sit down and look at this policy because I believe some of your men pushed you to carry out this policy and a lot of them are benefiting from it the more. Sir, you might not agree with me because they are your men, but they are making more money now. We live on these borders and I’m telling you the reality. There’s a need to take intelligence and get this done once and for all because your men are extorting our people because of this policy. I must say I like this policy but your men are not doing their job, rather it is an open window for corruption.”

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