By DAPO OLAWUNI
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has called on men of the Nigeria Customs Service, to discharge their duties with human face by being civil when dealing with members of the public.
Prince Abiodun stated this when he received the new Customs Area Comptroller, Ogun 1 Area Command, Mr. Dera Nnadi, who paid him a courtesy call in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, noted that it is only when the Custom men treat people with dignity, that they would cooperate with them.
“Please find a way to discharge your duties with human face. Be civil when you are dealing with the people to minimize lose of lives. It is only when you treat people with respect that they will Cooperate and give you to support that you need to carry out your assignment.
“The Customs must change the rules of engagement. You cannot engaged in shooting in the markets or on the roads which in must cases result to death and expect the people to cooperate with you. This actions lead to mistrust. People are going through hard times and there is pent up anger everywhere. So our law enforcement agencies need to exercise restraint when enforcing the Law.
Governor Abiodun noted that people in the border areas have lived and engaged in trans- border commercial activities for long, saying that some recent policies of the Federal Government which the Nigeria Customs are expected to enforced, have led to skirmishes between the Customs and the people, which usually resulted to casualties.
The Governor, while calling for trust building, expressed delight that the new Customs’ boss who has worked in the State before his appointment, has come up with a mission aimed at changing the narrative of incessant clashes as a result smuggling, to the gateway of industries and prosperity.
Speaking on the incursion into Nigeria by one of her neighbours, the State helmsman said the State has met with the Attorney General of the Federation and Office of the Vice President which is in charge of border matters on the issue, adding that it was imperative to put a stop to frequent harassment of the people of the State by foreigners.
Speaking earlier, Comptroller Nnadi, stressed the importance of the State not only being a trade route that cut across the country, but also the fourth largest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic product.
According to Nnadi, Ogun State, through Idi-Iroko has served as a trade route between Nigeria and Benin Republic for long, but regretted that it has now become a war zone as a result of smuggling activities.
He said though he was in the State to enforce the Federal Government policy, he was ready to change the negative narratives by ensuring that his men observed the rule of engagement by exercising restraint when dealing with people and cautioned against unruly behaviour from the people against Customs men to forestall skirmishes.
The Custom boss assured that his command would work with the State government and not allow any incursion into the nation’s territory, calling on government to look in the Ighofofi issue as it has not been resolved.