Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun has urged men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to be civil in the discharge of their duties, particularly when dealing with members of the public.
Abiodun gave the advice when receiving the new Customs Area Controller, Ogun 1 Area Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, who paid him a courtesy call on Friday in Abeokuta.
The governor said that it was only when officials of the service 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 minimise loss of lives.
“It is only when you treat people with respect that they will cooperate and give you the support that you need to carry out your assignment.
“The customs must change the rules of engagement. You cannot engage in shooting in the markets or on the roads, which in most cases result to death and expect the people to cooperate with you.
“These 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,” he said.
The governor said that the people in the border areas have lived and engaged in trans-border commercial activities for long.
He expressed optimism that the new customs boss, who had worked in the state before his appointment, would come up with strategies aimed at changing the narrative of incessant clashes as a result smuggling.
Abiodun further said that he had met with the Attorney General of the Federation and the office of the Vice President on the incursions into Nigeria by criminals from neighboring countries.
He added that it was imperative to put a stop to frequent harassment of the people of the state by foreigners.
Earlier, Comptroller Nnadi had noted the importance of the state describing it as not only being a trade route to the West coast, but also the fourth largest contributor to the nation’s GDP.
According to him, 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.
The comptroller said that though he was in the state to enforce the federal government’s policy, he would change the negative narratives by ensuring that his men observed the rules of engagement and exercise restraint when dealing with people.
Nnadi assured that his command would work with the state government to ward off any incursion into the country’s territory.
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