By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigeria Customs Service has insinuated that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is fueling smuggling activities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport through activities of its security officials.
National Public Relations Officer of Customs, Compt Joseph Attah dropped this on Tuesday in response to a press statement issued earlier on Monday by the FAAN spokesperson, Henrietta Yakubu who alleged that Customs officers breached a security gate at the airport and gained entrance forcefully.
In what appears like a show of shame, the two Federal Government agencies are currently in war of words.
Compt Joseph Attah stated that it could be that FAAN was using the gate to ferry goods out of the airport without Customs clearance.
He rubbished the statement by FAAN, saying that Customs officers cannot be restricted to any area within the airport because it is a Customs airport.
In the statement earlier issued by FAAN, it stated that “At about 1745hrs on Thursday, January 20, 2022, while the AVSEC officers on day duty at Gate 3 of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport were profiling a NAHCO vehicle that wanted to access the Security Restricted Area (SRA) via gate 3, the Customs Area Comptroller for Hajj and Cargo Terminal suddenly emerged and pulled off behind the NAHCO vehicle that was being attended to and CSC Agunbiade, a customs officer on the Area Comptroller’s entourage later shoved aside the AVSEC Officer at the gate, forcefully took over the gate and opened the gate for the Comptroller and his escorts to forcefully access the Security Restricted Area via the gate.
“While accessing the gate, the armed escorts to the Comptroller threatened to beat up the AVSEC officers at the gate if they dare resist their assault and breach of security”
“This blatant abuse of the privilege of bearing firearms by the NCS has become a recurrent threat to the Safety and Security of our Staff and our operations.
“While we keep on working to resolve all our challenges decisively, we hereby urge all stakeholders to please respect our mandate by being of disciplined and Professional conduct in the interest of national security and operational safety” it stated.
In his response on Tuesday however, Compt Joseph Attah accused FAAN of engaging in public display of false sense of superiority, instead of engaging officers of customs.
He insinuated that FAAN security officials were using the gate to fuel smuggling operations at the airport.
“Saying that a gate is restricted to Customs in an international cargo airport shows lack of understanding of NCS roles”
“Could it be that the gate is being used to ferry goods out of the airport without Customs clearance?
What is the intention behind restricting Customs in what is by status a Customs controlled area?
“It’s curious that instead of engaging each other for better understanding between Government agencies, FAAN is engaging in public display of false sense of superiority” he said