The Senate has requested that Customs Comptroller-General Adewale Adeniyi take disciplinary action against any Customs agents who are found to have used excessive force while protecting the country’s borders.

This was even as it proposed the installation of long-range cameras at border checkpoints across the country to check the operations of smugglers of illegal products into the country.

The Senate concurred with the House and urged the installation of scanners at all land and seaports to prevent the entry of illegal goods.

As part of their investigation into the suspected misuse of firearms by officials and personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), an ad hoc committee was formed in July, and their reports included these suggestions.

On Tuesday, the plenary heard a report from the ad hoc committee, which was chaired by Senator Francis Fadahunsi (APC, Osun East).

To limit the number of checkpoints set up in border areas, Senator Fadahunsi emphasized, “The Federal Government should direct the Comptroller General of Customs and other heads of security.” It will facilitate the transport of goods from the outlying settlements to the central hub.

The border operations warrant an inquiry and evaluation by the Customs Comptroller General. Police officers who misuse their weapons should face consequences.

Residents of border towns in need of basic services should receive them from the federal government.

The committee also suggested that young people living in border villages be enlisted.

It also noted that Customs should use cutting-edge technology to ensure that its employees are productively meeting international standards.

To keep an eye on smugglers and their use of speedboats in riverine border settlements, the committee recommended that the NCS use helicopters.

The report suggests periodically auctioning off seized property as a way to stave from liquidation.

The committee also found fault with the customs commissioners in Idiroko, Katsina, and Kaduna for not properly liaising with the local areas in which their respective commands are located.

Comptrollers in the Kastina/Kaduna and Idiroko area commands should be reassigned, and new appointees should begin a productive community involvement program, as recommended by the Comptroller General of Customs. The committee concluded that this course of action would foster a positive working relationship between the Customs and the communities inside the State, allowing the Customs to fulfill its mission without becoming indifferent to the needs and hopes of its citizens.

The committee also suggested that the government remove a 20-kilometer restriction on the selling of petroleum products in border areas. This approach is a major contributor to the hardships experienced by the locals in these areas and poses a threat to peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.

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