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Arrest fake Customs auctioneers, aggrieved Nigerians tell CG

Aggrieved Nigerians who may have been duped by people fronting as Customs auctioneers have called on the leadership of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) conduct raids and arrest the culprits than warning Nigerians not to patronize them.

In an interview, a victim who pleaded anonymity said “It amounts to poor service and to some extent, a planned job by even the Customs command that somebody will come out online with his photo and uniform, claiming that he is a Customs officer in charge of auction and nothing was done to trace and arrest him within hours.

The victim said “It will be very hard to believe that NCS top officials are not behind it”.

Before now, the NCS had been in the habit of momentary release of warnings against falling into the hands of conmen who masquerade themselves as officer of the agency, many Nigerians now say the warning is no longer enough.

Only yesterday, the NCS, again warned members of the public against falling to the antics of fraudsters who post fake auction advertisements purportedly by the service in the social media.

Public Relations Officer, Tin Can Island Port 2 Customs Command, Ijora, Godwin Andishu, gave the warning in an interview in Lagos on Monday.

He said the warning became imperative because of the increasing complaints by Nigerians who had been duped by some unscrupulous elements through such advertisements.

Andishu explained that it was not the practice of customs to place auction advertisements of abandoned vehicles in its custody in the social media, urging the public to disregard such posts in their own interest.

“We wish to tell the general public that those advertisements on social media purportedly by us calling for people to send money to purchase abandoned vehicles in our custody are misleading.

“We do not auction or sell vehicles online; those who are posing as customs officers are fraudsters who are out to defraud Nigerians of their hard-earned money.

“Nigerians should disregard such advertisements as the service only advertises items to be auctioned on its official website, detailing the procedures to follow by members of the public.

“The NSC does not operate any private account and no personnel of the service are authorized to collect money on its behalf into any account.

“The fraudsters are all over the place using the name of the customs to perpetrate their nefarious acts. People should act wisely by ignoring them,” he said.

Andishu said the service had not had any auction since August 2015 on the directive of the Comptroller-General, Hammed Ali.

He added that the forensic unit of the service had been consistently tasked to fish out these dishonest elements and make them face the wrath of the law.

He also warned job seekers against falling to the antics of those who asked them for money for recruitment into the service, saying the service had no recruitment agent and that “We are a responsible organisation; we do not ask for money for employment”.