- The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has debunked the claim in a viral video that a repentant bandit was recruited into the service
- Joseph Attah, the NCS's spokesman, described the claim as false and provided clarifications regarding a customs officer featured in the video
- An independent investigation of the viral video also concluded that the claim that the customs officer in the video was the same person as a bandit posing with a governor was false
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has reacted to a video making rounds on social media platforms with the claim that a repentant bandit was recruited into the service.
The NCS clarified that the officer in the video in question was recruited through a rigorous process and trained in 2011 and has just grown to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Customs (3 stars).
A statement released by the NCS's spokesman, Joseph Attah, reads:
"The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service has been drawn to a ridiculous video making rounds on social media platforms, comparing a newly promoted Deputy Superintendent of Customs and a bandit with the insinuation that the Customs Officer is the bandit that was recruited into the Service.
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"When this Officer in a nervous excitement could not get his acts together during decoration, resulting in various public commentaries, little did we imagine that mischief-makers would descend so low as to fabricate this evil.
"For the avoidance of doubt, the Officer in question was recruited through a rigorous process and trained in 2011 and has just grown to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Customs (3 stars).
"It is therefore very unfortunate that those who are bent on presenting the country in a bad light could take a simple human error during decoration to ridicule his person and attempting to extend the same to the Service and the nation. This is obviously the handiwork of unpatriotic elements that should be ignored.
"A good look at the pictures will clearly show that the Customs Officer is NOT the pictured bandit."
The NCS, therefore, urged Nigerians to ignore the ridiculous comparison of the officer with a bandit and treat it as the work of those who do not wish the nation well.
Investigative report finds viral claim false
Meanwhile, a fact-check report by The Cable also sheds light on the viral video where the customs officer was struggling to salute his superiors appropriately.
The newspaper stated that the viral post making the rounds on social media claimed that the customs officer in the viral video is a “repentant Boko Haram member” who posed in a picture with Aminu Masari, governor of Katsina.
The post further claimed that the “repentant Boko Haram member” has been enlisted in the customs.
Legit.ng gathers the post attempted to draw semblance between the customs officer in the viral video and “the bandit” who clutched an Ak-47 rifle beside Masari.
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Conducting its verification, The Cable stated that the earliest version of the “bandit” picture seen by was posted on January 21, 2017, on a Facebook page.
The report stated:
"The caption of the picture(s) was written in Hausa language. The translation of the post stated that Masari was receiving a leader of bandits identified as Buharin Daji, called “Buhari of the forest”. Different media reports confirmed the name of the AK-47-bearing bandit as Baharin Daji.
"An online search to find out more details about Buharin Daji shows news items from credible media platforms saying he was killed in March 2018."
The report concludes that there is no sufficient evidence to back up the claim that customs recruited “a repentant Boko Haram member” as an officer.
It added that the claim that the bandit posing with Masari in a picture is the same person as the customs officer in a viral video is false.
Governor Masari threatens to sue customs over killings in Katsina
Meanwhile, following the killing of 10 residents during a border drill operation in the Jibia area of Katsina state, Governor Aminu Bello Masari, recently threatened legal action against the NCS. The
Masari, in a statement by his director-general media, Abdulabaran Malumfashi, condemned the frequent killing of innocent residents in the state by the NCS.
He noted that his government would henceforth not condone any more of such incidents again.