ABUJA – The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has dismissed an allegation that it had withdrawn its operatives deployed at border stations in Kebbi and Sokoto states.
This is contained in a statement issued by the service’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Wale Adeniyi, on Monday in Abuja.
The statement said there was no directive whatsoever, verbal or written to officers of NCS posted to Kebbi/Sokoto and Kaduna/Katsina commands to withdraw from the borders or their patrol bases.
According to the statement, the attention of the Service has been drawn to reports alleging that customs operatives deployed at border stations in Kebbi and Sokoto states have been withdrawn.
“According to the reports, the directive withdrawing the officers was said to have been given verbally by an un-named official of the Federal Government, raising fears about security of our borders.
“In view of the security implication of this development and its sensitivity, it is necessary for the service to clarify the situation,” it said.
The statement added that there was no directive withdrawing customs operatives from duty posts in the affected areas or other border stations across the country.
It said the service’s Comptroller-General, Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi, had last week directed a reinforcement of patrol teams across the country in view of the security situation in the country.
“The Sokoto/Kebbi axis was beefed up with the deployment of a Special Squad in view of a reported incident between Customs and smugglers.
“The service is in consultation with Nigeria Immigration Service and other sister government agencies on this issue. They confirmed that they did not receive any such withdrawal directive.
“We are similarly in consultation with the state governments in the North West axis, to reassure them that our officers are at alert in their duty posts.’’
The statement, however, urged the state with border posts to regard the withdrawal allegation as baseless and mere speculations.