The Customs Area Controller, Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Willy Egbudin is a gentleman officer but the same cannot be said of some of his subordinates.
The irresponsible conduct of some customs officers attached to the command in recent times leaves so much to be desired and has regularly kept the command in the news for the wrong reasons.
One cannot but loathe the wickedness of some of these officers.
Perhaps the most detestable wickedness of all was the one perpetrated by one Nwaeze F.C., a Chief Superintendent of Customs and head of the Customs unit at Mosafejo Aradagun of the Seme Area Command.
Nwaeze F.C. attacked a woman identified as Tope Fadipe with acid because of an argument over money. Can you beat that?
According to reports, Fadipe, who served as a salesgirl at a local food business run by Nwanze for three years, was attacked by the Customs officer on Friday May 9th, 2014 after she argued with him when he accused her of not remitting N50, 000 into the business account.
What did Nwanze do? He became the accuser and judge in his own case and meted out jungle justice on the hapless Fadipe by bathing her with concentrated acid.
After the acid attack, the matter was reported at the Badagry Police Station, where Nwaeze had boasted that no one could arrest him. And truly, he had walked around free after a brief appearance at the police station until someone decided to push the matter to the public domain through the media.
The victim, Tope Fadipe, is currently being treated for her severe burns at the Badagry General Hospital. Witnesses and doctors say her condition has been worsening since the attack.
Nwanze’s conduct is criminal and he must face the full wrath of the law for his conduct.
Acid throwing, also called an acid attack is a form of violent assault carried out with the intention to disfigure, maim, torture, or kill a fellow human being. The likes of Nwanze throw acid at their victims, usually at their faces, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones.
As a result of the acid attack, Tope Fadipe may suffer blindness as well as permanent scarring of her face and body along with far-reaching social, psychological, and economic difficulties. She might be disfigured and battle psychological challenges all her life.
Apart from trying to destroy the life of a fellow human being, Nwanze is also guilty of misconduct unbecoming of a public officer. Security officers betray their oath of allegiance when they knowingly break the law as Nwanze has done. The Code of Conduct for public officers is clear enough for Nwanze to know that it is illegal for him to run a business while in the employ of government. So he must face multiple charges of assault and breaking the code of conduct.
Not any less wicked and repugnant is the alleged rape of a 23-year old lady by two Customs officers of the same command, Felola Uzezi and Mohammed Sanni.
Both officers, attached to Gbaji customs checkpoint, are now in police custody for the offence which, according to reports, occurred at Limca Bus Stop area, along Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Uzezi’s residence.
As the story goes, the victim, whose identity has been concealed for obvious reasons, and Uzezi met on Facebook and became friends. After months of online chatting, she agreed to visit the suspect.
According to reports, Uzezi invited Sanni, his colleague over to his place when the victim, who resides around Badagry area, came visiting. Uzezi was said to have pleaded with the victim to allow him make love to her. She refused, saying she was on her monthly circle. However, when Sanni arrived, they became violent and allegedly took turns raping her. Afterwards, Uzezi was said to have given the victim his boxer’s shorts to clean up with.
She immediately reported the incident to Area K Police Command and the suspects have been picked up. Officers were said to have found blood stains on Uzezi’s bed and the boxers with which the victim allegedly cleaned up herself.
Now rape is a crime against humanity. People who have been raped can be severely traumatized and may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition to psychological harm resulting from the act, rape may cause physical injury, or have additional effects on the victims, such as acquiring sexually transmitted infections or becoming pregnant.
So clearly, Uzezi and Sanni are in serious trouble for the few minutes’ pleasure they might have derived from their ignominious act. And no one should pity them. The full weight of the law must be brought to bear on them including summary dismissal without any form of entitlement whatsoever from the Nigeria Customs Service if found guilty.
Nwanze, Uzezi and Sanni should, as a matter of fact, be on suspension without salary by now.
Rather than try to defend one of the rapists by claiming that he was dating the victim, Comptroller Egbudin should allow justice take its full course. A boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is no license to rape anyone.
It has also become expedient at this time for the Seme Area Command to begin to teach its officers lessons in morality, personal and public conduct.