The Nigeria Customs Service has organised a three-day workshop for Customs Legal Practitioners and Operatives at the Customs Training College, Ikeja Lagos.
Speaking on the workshop, Smart Akande the Nigeria Customs Service Legal Adviser, said the workshop is important and timely to boost the knowledge and morale of the Officers and Men on proper Investigation and Prosecution.
“The training is timely, especially for the middle-class Officers concerning investigation and prosecution. We need to educate them more on how to conduct their investigation.”
“Making an arrest or seizure is not an end to itself, you must be able to investigate the case properly and get the necessary ingredients of the offence you are alleging the person has committed, to enable the prosecutor, to prosecute the case successfully.
According to Akande, without a thorough investigation, the suspect will escape and the Government will lose revenue, “So for us to ensure a water right case and fill up the gap, there is a need to train our Officers to build their capacity, so they know what to do and how to conduct their various investigation because investigation is the bedrock of prosecution.”
Educating the trainees on the right to respect an arrested person, David Igbodo, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police said, a suspect’s right is guaranteed by the Constitution and Administration of Criminal Justice Act. Also, Customs Excise and Management Act has some guidelines on how to conduct an investigation.
“We are just trying to refresh their memory, is not like they do not know. Training is a continuous exercise, anyone who stops learning is dead. So, there is a need to conduct a proper investigation on those who evade duty, attack Customs Officers and those who import goods without payment of appropriate duty.” David noted.
Another resource Person from the ICPC, Mr Yahaya who spoke on the prohibition of arrest in view of suspect, said, it is illegal to arrest any relative to get the actual suspect and it is also wrong to attack a suspect before arrest.
Yahaya also admonished all Law Enforcement Agencies at the prescribed period to make a report to the nearest Magistrate of all cases and arrests made with or without Warrant.
The workshop which is the second batch of its series will be running in due time in the four Zones of the Nigeria Customs Service.