Some residents of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital have accused officers of the Oyo/Osun command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of aiding smuggling activities.
The residents made this disclosure when they spoke with DAILY POST.
Some of the residents of Ilupeju, Bakatari and Omi-Adio communities in Ido Local Government Area, alleged that some of the customs officers from Oyo/Osun command are in the habit of aiding and abetting smuggling activities along Idi-roko – Abeokuta -Ibadan routes.
The residents explained that the custom officers usually pursue commercial buses to some of the villages along the Ibadan-Abeokuta Road for failure to pay a certain amount of money as bribe.
Some of the residents claimed that some Customs officers had created some locations along the routes where bags of rice are deposited and later sold to members of the public.
They therefore called on the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Ahmed Ali (retired), to ensure that the culprits are punished.
A community leader in Bakatari, Pa Odusanya Jacob, who spoke on behalf of the residents on Thursday, condemned what he called the unpatriotic habit of the officers.
He further revealed some of the warehouses in Ibadan where smuggled rice and other contrabands are kept are secured and policed by same unpatriotic customs officers who demand in return millions of naira from the owners.
He said, “We condemn this unpatriotic attitude among the Customs officers, who work by double standards. They pretend to be patriotic officers when pursuing motorists whereas their motive was bad.
“They only go after those motorists who failed to pay bribes to them. On the other hand, all motorists who paid the stipulated bribe were allowed access without hindrance.Only to come round to disturb the peace of the community when pursuing those motorists who evade payment of bribe.
We reject this act of sabotage and unpatriotic act among the officers of the Nigeria Customs of Oyo/Osun Command.
We know of filling stations along Ibadan-Abeokuta road that have been turned to warehouses by these officers. If you check very well, you will discover that these filling stations are where they use as shops to dispose smuggled rice as well as hundreds of bags of rice seized from motorists.”
A farmer who lives at Aba-Oke village along Ibadan-Abeokuta road, alleged that smugglers who are in the good books of the officers paid as much as N250,000 each as bribe to the officers to gain tickets to smuggle goods into the city of Ibadan.
The tickets, he said, grant access to identified smugglers who enjoyed special treatment from officers at road blocks.
A commercial bus driver who identified himself as Olojo , accused Customs Officers at checkpoints along Abeokuta- Ibadan road, of chasing after some commercial buses who failed to give them bribes.
But, Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Oyo/ Osun command, Mr. Kayode Wey when contacted, described the allegations as false.
He told DAILY POST that the officers of the command were well trained to shun corruption.
According to him, “We don’t do that in Oyo/Osun command. Our officers cannot do that. I have never come across such a thing. All these are just allegations. Officers of Oyo/Osun command do not participate in such acts.
Our officers have been property trained. How can an officer trained by law be giving tickets to smugglers.
To the best of my knowledge, all these are not true. Oyo/ Osun command officers cannot connive with smugglers,” he insisted.