By Stephen Ubanna
The Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, have never had it so good over the last 40 years that a Comptroller General could leave his business schedule to visit the families of junior officers killed by dare-devil unrepentant smugglers in the north western state of Kebbi.
Abdullahi Maiwada, a Chief Superintendent of Customs and the service spokesperson had broken the news how the Comptroller General took time out to pay condolence visits to the families of Kabiru Shehu, an Inspector of Customs and Abdullahi Muhammad, a Customs Assistant attached to the Kebbi Command, killed by dare-devil unrepentant smugglers on Thursday, August 24, 2023 while carrying out their legitimate duties.
CSC. Maiwada, had said that that the duo, had stopped a suspected vehicle along the Buna-Dakingari Koko road, described as a notorious smugglers route used by Nigerian foreign rice, vehicle, hard drugs and other prohibited cargoes including Textiles and Petroleum Products, particular, Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol, and their Nigerien collaborators.
Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, the acting Customs Comptroller General, who many believe has started well in running the affairs of the service over the last two months by taking bold decisions which no past Comptroller General of the service could do, not even Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel, who had the ear of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Eyewitness account had said that he had controlled his tears but was still able to volunteer his heart condolence messages to the two late Customs officers families visited in the north western state. ‘’it is with profound sorrow and heavy heart and on behalf of the entire officers and men of the NCS, I extend my deepest condolences to the families of Shehu, Inspector of Customs and Muhammad, a Customs Assistant, Kebbi Command and the state government, over the strategic loss of’’ such dedicated and valiant individuals in active service to their fatherland’’.
In an emotional outburst he has emphasized the perilous challenges that officers and men of the service Interventionist Commands encountered daily from the neighbouriing countries and their Nigerian collaborators while safeguarding the nation’s land borders from the activities of the trigger-hungrysmugglers .
Talking tough, CG. Adeniyi, who had worked under some former Customs Comptrollers, including Ali, the immediate past Customs helmsman, both as a National Public Relations Officer and Management staff, and knows all the efforts that was put in place in tackling the criminal elements in the nation’s land border areas may have sent a message to them that’’ it is no longer going to business as usual where officers carrying out their legitimate duties could be killed and they will escape into thin air’’.
He was said to have made clear to those that care to listen that under his leadership, he will ensure that all officers and men of the service are carried along in the discharge of his duties. True to his words, he has promised ‘’to stand firmly united with the families of deceased officers during the period of the grief’’, which many see the anti-smuggling in the Interventionist Uni and other Interventionist Units across the country.
T Customs CG, who has given his words that he shares the grief with the families of the deceased in Kebbi Command, was said to have made them to understand that that this period of sorrow, the service recognize the void the officer’s departure has left, both personally and within the Customs Community.
This may have informed why he had prayed that’’ May the memory of the officer’s bravery, sacrifice and service offer to their loved ones and motivate all to uphold the principles they epitomized’’, to which the officers and other visitors had chorused Ameen.
Enthused by the swift response of the Ben Oramologo, led Kebbbi Command in launching comprehensive investigation to apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly act and ensure justice for fallen officers, he was said to have pledged complete support and collaboration with Comptroller and his team of dedicated officers in every step taken to bring the culprits to book.
Comptroler Oramologo, may have shocked Nigerians when he revealed that ‘’there was proliferation when he resumed as the Area Controller. in the state, noting that he was forced to go back to the drawing board to devise new strategies to stop the mess. He had said that he went to work immediately and started fighting them, making seizures and making arrests.
According to him ‘’there are rich men into the nefarious drug business, stressing that they are not happy with him and were ready to fight back. Allegedly involved in checking car both of the smugglers It is not surprising why the smugglers have become too hard on the Patrol officers from checking their vehicles between Bunza -DankinGari- Koko road.
He was said o have also expressed gratitude to Nasir Idris, the Kebbi state governor and the people for the solidarity and cooperation extended to the NCS since the reported death of the two officers in the hands of smugglers became known in public domain.
This may have informed, why he has highlighted ‘’ the significance of Community engagement in collective pursuit of safety and security in the land border areas ‘’ and encouraging all and sundry ‘’to collectively contribute to these shared endeavours’’.
As a prelude to ensuring that the ragtag attitude of the cross -border smugglers stop, and strength the officers and men of the service to do their work without fear of harassment from smugglers, the no-nonsense acting Customs Comptroller General was said to have reiterated his resolve ‘’to uphold the Rule of Law and ensure the safety and security of lives and property in the nation’s land border areas.
While the Customs Comptroller General and his management team are currently occupied in battling smugglers to a standstill, the service is faced with another distraction: fake news. The recent clarification of the misleading report on the Vehicle Identification Number, VBN, Valuation process speaks volume.
CSC .Maiwada, the Customs image maker who had described the report as misleading , aiming ‘’to distort the truth and misinform the public’’, had said that ‘’while it is true that there was a circular about examination and release of used vehicles as highted in the report, he was said ‘’to have regretted that ‘’the accurate context of the circular has been overlooked’’.
He has repeatedly said that VIN process remains operational and effective. ‘’The mentioned circular, pertains to imported and used vehicles equipped with trim numbers’’, noting that the trim numbers are critical in identifying distinct versions or tiers with specific car model. He further noted that that the trim numbers delineate varying configurations, features and levels of equipment associated with the model.
He also disclosed that the different trim levels offer diverse technological advancements, interior and exterior features and occasionally distinct engine options. The Customs incumbent, NPRO, was said to have sighted a car model that could feature that could feature trim levels such as’’ Base, Sport, Luxury, and Premium’’.
He averred that each of these trim levels might present differing combinations of attributes such as premium leather seats, advanced information systems, upgraded wheels and enhanced safety features, among other enhancements, stressing that ‘’this results in elevated value for the vehicle compared to the Base model.
Perhaps, to ensure fairness and accuracy, the NCS, was said to have mandated the Area Controllers handling vehicle imports into the country, particular, Port Terminal Multi- Services Limited, PTML, and Tinan Island Commands that imported vehicles with trim numbers should undergo valuation at the Valuation Seat after a thorough Examination.
CSC Maiwada, had said that the process aims to establish the vehicle’s appropriate and precise Customs value. He has appealed to Nigerians involved in vehicle imports ‘’to always engage with the various Customs formations across the country for any additional clarification, information they may require’’ in their car importation, an indication that they should not focus their mindset on misleading reports to form their opinion that may put them into trouble that ought to have been avoided.,