Coordinator of the sector 4 command, joint patrol team of the Nigeria customs service in the North-West, Aliyu Mohammed, has said that he gave bandits 7 bags out of 37 seized rice in exchange for his freedom and that of his men.
Mohammed said this while addressing journalists in Katsina on Tuesday on the challenges encountered by customs officers while carrying out their duties.
According to Mohammed, the heavily armed bandits accosted them in Dutsinma LGA and asked for seven bags of rice if the officers wanted to go back alive.
He also narrated that customs officers do not get enough support from the locals.
Mohammed said, “The challenge we have is that the people we are working for are not supporting us. If we have any problem, just accidental discharge in a village, the whole people will bounce on customs. If you make seizure, instead of the villagers to assist you, they may end up attacking you,” Mohammed said.
“I sacrificed my life to enter the bush where the bandits are — the last time we had contact with them — to the extent that they were a little bit friendly with us.
“We seized 37 bags of rice and they said if we are to go, they have to take seven bags. So, we gave them seven bags to save our lives.
“So, you see the risks we take, but people, especially those living along the border communities, engage in attacking our officers.”