Story by Seun Ibiyemi
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has blamed the rise in importation of illicit drugs, arms and ammunition into the country in recent times on the forthcoming general election.
They also blamed it on lack of integrity on the part of the politicians who want to win elections at all cost.
The National Vice President of the association, Dr. Kayode Farinto who made this known in an interview with our newsmen in Lagos recently, said that because the politicians want to win election either by hook or by crook, they end up engaging some youths who in turn engage in the abuse of psychotropic drugs hence the rise in importation of such drugs into the country in recent times.
In his words,” You know very few of our politicians have integrity, many of our politicians want to be elected by hook or by crook and unfortunately, they will leave their children abroad and it is still the same youths they want to use and that is why the moment you are seeing psychotropic drugs increasing, the level of illegal arms and ammunitions will increase because the two go together. It is when you give a youth a gun that you now give him drug that will not make him feel guilty, he will not even know that what he is doing is wrong, he will now feel high”.
Farinto, however, blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for failing to live up to expectation saying that the commission ought to get every candidate standing in for any election to commit to a violence free election by getting them to sign an undertaking that once a group of youths is caught and narrowed down to a particular candidate as sponsoring them with arms or psychotropic drug, that such candidate should be disqualified.
“It is unfortunate INEC is not doing their job, they are supposed to tell every politician to sign an undertaking that once a group of youths is caught and narrowed down to you that you are the one sponsoring them with arms or psychotropic drug, that person should be disqualified”, he said.
While pointing out that Nigeria has a long way to go in her electoral reforms, he warned that one should expect that importation of illicit drugs, arms and ammunition would be on the increase as the 2019 general election was just few weeks away from now.
On the allegation that the management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) don’t do enough to punish its officers found culpable in the importation of illicit drugs, arms and ammunition, the ANLCA chieftain said,” Don’t make that mistake. Let me give you privileged information, I give it to this CG, on a more serious note, he is trying his best. Yesterday, I was reliably informed that a container of Tramadol was arrested and all the officers that were involved in the release of that container, the CG brought customs vehicle to take them to Abuja, they are likely to be paraded today and he summoned all the Controllers to Abuja today, they are having Management meeting as I am talking to you now.
“What you want is a situation where if officer A is punished, you want it published, it is not done. If you want to know whether customs is disciplining its own, you have the right to write to the Investigation Department of the Customs, it has a Controller and if they don’t furnish you with that information, you will now know that they are not doing their job.
“There are two categories of punishments; you have what is called interdiction which means that you can be out of service without payment of salary or summary dismissal. I am not holding briefs for them but I know there are disciplinary measures in customs and I know that this Comptroller-General is a no nonsense person”.