Statements, Actions, Achievements of Nigeria Customs Service

Gunmen shoot senior Customs officer in Zamfara State

Map of Nigeria showing Zamfara State

On 23 January, unidentified gunmen shot the Comptroller of Customs in charge of the Sokoto Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Atiku Mustapha.

Reports said Mustapha, who was only recently posted to take charge of the Sokoto Command (comprising Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States), was shot near Tsafe town, while on his way to Gusau, capital of Zamfara State.

The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara State, Mr Tambari Yabo Muhammad, said the gunmen, who seemed to be armed robbers, had laid ambush along the Gusau-Funtua Road near Tsafe town, between 6.45 and 7.15am, shooting at passing vehicles.

Mr Muhammad said: “They fired indiscriminately at vehicles. As a result, they shot the Customs officer”. He said the gunmen also shot and killed a retired soldier who was travelling in a commercial bus.

Sources said the Customs chief was travelling with his family at the time he was attacked and shot in the thigh. He was said to be admitted and receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in Gusau.


President Jonathan urges tighter controls against influx of small arms

Security agents inspecting arms seized at Lagos port in 2010

On 8 December, President Goodluck Jonathan directed the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to be more vigilant in order to stop the importation of small arms into the country through the nation’s land borders.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Nigerian Customs Staff College/World Customs Organisation Regional Training Centre in Gwagwalada, Abuja, the President said the proliferation of small arms was one of the major causes of the security challenges facing the country.

Jonathan said he had consistently drawn attention to the spread of such weapons across Africa, especially in the West African region, by those who he described as “foreign merchants of death”. He said the culprits were ingenious and desperate to sell their wares at the expense of the peoples of the region. He therefore urged officers and men of the Customs Service to intensify their efforts in the nation’s fight against this and other security challenges.

While acknowledging that the NCS had recorded some remarkable breakthroughs in seizing small arms and light weapons smuggled in to destabilise the country, the President said the Customs should not relent. He promised his administration’s continued support to the organisation, towards making it a model agency of government in West Africa.

President Jonathan inaugurates Nigerian Customs Staff College in Abuja

President Jonathan inaugurating the College. On right is Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service

On 8 December, President Goodluck performed the historic inauguration of Nigeria’s Customs Staff College in Gwagwalada, Abuja. The institution has also been designated a World Customs Organisation Regional Training Centre.

Speaking at the ceremony, the President said his administration was committed to making the Nigerian Customs Service a model agency in West Africa and a trusted gate-keeper for the nation. He said: “For us, the opening of the College for operation will also reduce the need and cost of going abroad for some training courses. It will also help our Customs to develop relevant best practices that could be useful to sister institutions in other parts of the world”.

He added that: “We have no doubt that this institution will do the job for which it was built. The serene and conducive environment that is evident in this College should provide ample opportunity for learning which we all know is continuous throughout life and is very crucial in an important organisation like the Customs”.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, said the facility inaugurated was a world class college that would produce middle and senior customs managers for the NCS and the Customs administrations of the entire West Africa region.

He added that, apart from Customs officers, others who would benefit from the training facilities and programmes to be offered by the College include security agents, importers, customs agents and other stakeholders.

 The facilities already completed include one main auditorium, four lecture theatres, 16 classrooms all equipped with digital audio-visual systems, one ultra-modern e-library and a computer centre. There are also residential facilities for principal officers and visiting direct staff, hostel facilities for students and some recreational facilities for the College community.

Nigeria Customs seizes arms, ammunition at Lagos airport

Beretta Pistol: The XX-TREME Model

On 17 November, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) seized a cache of arms, ammunition and servicing accessories in the strong room of the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO), at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

 The Customs Area Comptroller, MMIA Command, Mr Michael Adewole, said the arms comprised six double-barrel guns, one single-barrel, one pump action, one Uzzi, two magazines, one Beretta pistol and one B Echeverria pistol. He listed the ammunition as 20 pieces of 5.56 mm calibre, 19 cartridges, 12/12; 500 pieces of blank armour and a sealed box of cartridges. He also listed the servicing accessories as four pieces of pull trough, two brushes, one oil rifle bag as well as a sling colt belt.

The Area Comptroller said the arms were found and seized following information his command had received, indicating that some unidentified persons had abandoned arms at the NAHCO strong room. He said the seized items were categorized as prohibited items that could not be allowed into the country, except by government security agencies, and that investigations were underway to identify those behind their illegal importation.

In recent months, security agencies at the airport have intensified their surveillance and monitoring activities in and around the facility.

17 foreign smugglers arrested in Adamawa and Taraba States

Alh ABDULLAHI DIKKO Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service

On 23 August, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Army jointly paraded 17 persons comprising 15 foreigners from Central African Republic, one from Cameroon and one from Niger Republic, who were arrested by a joint military and customs patrol team in Adamawa State. The men were arrested with contraband goods worth over N50 million.

Parading the suspects in Yola, the Adamawa/Taraba States Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Sambo  Joseph, accompanied by Brigade Commander, 23 Armoured Brigade, Brig Gen John Nwoaga, said the  arrested person were suspected to be members of the notorious and deadly smuggling ring (kaskaade) that uses motorcycles to ferry drugs and firearms across the borders of West and Central African countries.

The Comptroller said his men had been on the trail of the smugglers following their repeated clashes with security agents along the borders of Adamawa and Taraba states, and also on the boundary between Nigeria and Cameroon. He said it was in view of the vastness and porosity of the Nigeria-Cameroon border that that the Customs sought the support of the Army  to arrest the smugglers.

Among the contraband seized from the suspects were 200 brands of assorted performance-enhancing drugs, an unspecified quantity of narcotics, 17 motorcycles and vehicle tyres.

The Comptroller, however, appealed for more resources from the Federal Government, especially in the form of vehicles and personnel, pointing out that the Command earned over N25 million as excise duties last year, which was well above the projected N15 million.

Suspected cyber hacker arrested by Customs officials in Lagos

Alh ABDULLAHI DIKKO Comptroller General, NCS

On 18 July, a suspected cyber hacker, Mr Adedoyin Shofola, was arrested by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) under the Tin-Can Island Port Command in Lagos.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Comptroller Eporwei Edike, who paraded the suspect before newsmen, said Mr Shofola was arrested by the enforcement team of the Tin-Can Port Command, after he had allegedly broken into the Customs work-station and  down-loaded vital information from the Customs computer.

The CAC said Mr Shofola had on him an electronic device filled with valuable data that had been extracted from the Customs workstation. He said the intention of the suspect was to use the information to release containers awaiting customs’ clearance to their owners, at less than the officially stipulated rate of duties, and then channel the proceeds to his own account.

He said:  “The suspect deliberately made his way into the terminal before 7 am and manipulated the computer to retrieve officers’ pass words from our ASYCUDA system, in order to release containers without the knowledge of the Customs.

“This is a serious case because we had cases in the past when containers in the ports were released with low import duties, without the consent of Customs, but at the end, innocent officers were punished for the crime they did not commit”.

The Comptroller said he was amazed that cyber hackers, who breached the security systems of the US government releasing vital information to the world through Wikileaks, were also now operating in Nigeria.

Armed men attack Customs office, kill at least two girls in Maiduguri, Borno State

On 27 June, at least two girls were killed and three Customs officers seriously wounded as armed men staged a daylight assault on a Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) office in Maiduguri, Borno State.

According to Maj. Gen. Jack Okechukwu Nwaogbo, commander of a military Joint Task Force recently deployed to deal with the deepening insecurity in the north-eastern states, the attackers struck while officials were holding a meeting inside the office. The exact nature of the blast was not immediately known, but the general said the assault included bomb blasts and gunfire.

He told an AFP correspondent that: “Three Customs officers were seriously injured in the attack while two child vendors – both of them girls – were killed in the blast”.

However, residents and witnesses later reported higher casualty figures, saying the real toll could be as high as 10 or 12.

Authorities believe the attackers were members of the militant Islamist group, known locally as Boko Haram, which wants to install an Islamic regime across northern Nigeria, based strictly on Shariah law. The group has been blamed for many bomb attacks and assassinations since mid-2010 and has itself claimed responsibility for several others.

On 16 June, it carried out what was apparently a suicide attack on the national police headquarters in Abuja, in which at least two people were killed and over 70 cars burnt. On 26 June, a handful of men believed to be members of the group hurled three bombs into a beer garden in Maiduguri, killing at least 25 people. Boko Haram has not yet claimed responsibility for that attack.

The new governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kassim Shettima, who assumed office on 29 May had tried to open talks with the group. He has the go-ahead of President Goodluck Jonathan who said on 8 June, that the government would apply a “carrot and stick” approach in dealing with the Boko Haram challenge.

But Shettima’s overtures to the group suffered a setback after his government procured 10 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for the police and the Inspector General of Police said Boko Haram’s days were numbered. The group said those actions and pronouncements and what it sees as the continued militarisation of Borno State, have undermined any progress towards the conference table.

In an interview with the Abuja-based Daily Trust newspaper on 24 June, Boko Haram spokesman Abu Zaid, said the federal government was asking his group to disarm at the same time as it was rearming security forces that had violated past agreements. He quoted the Prophet Muhammad as saying, “A believer should not allow himself to be attacked twice in one place”. He added, significantly, that the group is fighting for a sovereign land under Islamic law, which might then engage in dialogue with what he called “the country of the unbelievers”.

However, the Public Relations Officer of the Borno State Police Command, Mr Lawal Abdullahi, has said the APCs and other security equipment acquired by the police are “not aimed at harming or confronting any person or group” but are meant to protect the lives and property of everyone. The police say the “doors for dialogue and constructive criticism” will remain open, and are calling on all citizens to reject violence and sectarian killings.


Nigeria Customs Service Recruitment 2011: List of successful candidates published

On 24 June, the Nigeria Customs Service Board released the list of successful candidates for recruitment into the Service in 2011.

According to the statement issued by the Board, the successful candidates were carefully selected, based on four main criteria. These were:
1. Qualification.
2. Performance at the recruitment examination/interview.
3. Principle of Federal Character to ensure geographical spread.
4. Physical fitness.

The Service, which confirms that it has already received certificate of compliance from the Federal Character Commission, presents the names of the successful candidates on its website:

In terms of documentation information, it directs all successful candidates to report to:






However, it said the candidates are to report within the dates allocated to their ranks in the documentation time table as follows:

  1. Consol’s 08, 10 and 11 (GD and Support Staff):  Monday 4th July to Saturday 16th July, 2011
  2. Consol’s 07/06 (GD and Support Staff):  Monday 18th July to Saturday 23rd July, 2011.
  3. Consol’s 04/03 (GD and Support Staff):  Monday 25th July to Saturday 30th July 2011.


PRESS RELEASE: ECOWAS Commission expresses concern over indiscriminate movement of weapons, mercenary fighters in West Africa [10 June 2011, Abuja]

The ECOWAS Commission wishes to express its deep concern over reports of the illicit movement of sophisticated weapons and mercenary fighters across the  region’s borders, a situation largely attributable to the ongoing crisis in Libya and the recent conflict in Cote d’Ivoire.

This situation is very worrisome and portends grave danger to the stability of our region, particularly in countries emerging from conflicts and or experiencing internal unrests.

Consequently, the ECOWAS Commission calls on all Member States to be extra vigilant in monitoring  movements across their borders with a view to arresting perpetrators of crime and forestalling any act that could jeopardize the prevailing peace and tranquility in the region.

The situation also requires the strict implementation of the relevant provisions of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and Other Related Materials relating to inter-state cooperation and the strengthening of border controls.

The ECOWAS Commission equally appeals to citizens of the Community to be vigilant and to report to relevant authorities any suspicious movement, especially of weapons or mercenaries in order to contribute to safeguarding life and property within the Community.

Bombs not imported but locally made, says Customs boss Abdullahi Dikko

Alh ABDULLAHI DIKKO, Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service

On 12 April, the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Sevice (NCS), Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, said the bombs that have been used by hoodlums and terrorists across the country in recent times were not smuggled in, but were made within the country.

Speaking on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Customs boss rejected the notion that it is the negligence of the Customs service that had aided the smuggling of explosives into the country in recent times. He was emphatic that his men were not negligent in the discharge of their duties.

Said Dikko: “An individual can produce a bomb, and most of the bombs that exploded in Nigeria were locally made. They are local bombs. If you see the kind of bomb that is brought from outside, if it explodes, the devastation will be enormous”.

In the wake of several explosions in the country since 2010, there have been growing concerns that some parts of the country may be experiencing an influx of explosives. However, some observers have noted that most of the blasts that have occurred apparently involved Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which could have been assembled or made within the country.

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