The Coordinator, Sector 4 Command, Joint Border Patrol Team of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the North-West, Aliyu Mohammed, has revealed that he offered seven bags of seized rice to bandits in exchange for freedom in Dutsinma local government area of Katsina State.
Mohammed, who disclosed this to journalists in Katsina on Tuesday, was speaking on the challenges encountered by the customs officers in the discharge of their duties.
He narrated how some armed bandits demanded seven out of the 37 bags of rice they seized at the time, before some kidnapped officers could be released alive.
The coordinator also complained that operatives do not get enough support from members of the public because they attack custom officers whenever they have the opportunity.
“The challenge we have is that the people we are working for are not supporting us. If we have any problem, just accidental discharge in a village, the whole people will bounce on customs. If you make seizure, instead of the villagers to assist you, they may end up attacking you.
“I sacrificed my life to enter the bush where the bandits are — the last time we had contact with them — to the extent that they were a little bit friendly with us.
“We seized 37 bags of rice and they said if we are to go, they have to take seven bags. So, we gave them seven bags to save our lives.
“So, you see the risks we take, but people, especially those living along the border communities, engage in attacking our officers,” Mohammed said.
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KanyiDaily had reported how two children were hit by stray bullets during a clash between Nigerian Customs officers and petrol smugglers at Seme border in Lagos State.