By Elizabeth Chukwuma
The struggle for supremacy and control of the south west geopolitical region in the anti-smuggling war between various Patrol Teams from The Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Border Drill sect 1 and the Comptroller General of Customs, CGC, Strike Force, Lagos Zonal office, appear to be producing spectacular results.
The struggle which became more pronounced between March 4th, 2020, and now, had seen the Patrol Teams tried to outsmart each other to make spectacular Contraband seizures. Usman Yahaya , a Deputy Comptroller and now Acting Comptroller, FOU, Zone A, may have rejig the Command Operations and Patrol Teams in order sustain its anti-smuggling drive in the region.
Note that he had established a new, Special Weapons and Tactical Team, SWATT, Headed by one Ogan, a Chief Superintendent of Customs to compliment the efforts of the Command Lagos Roving Team Headed by Riks Lura , also a Chief Superintendent of Customs in checking the fraudulent importers with their agents at the Lagos seaports and Bonded Terminals. He was said to said to have given a bite to the Patrol Teams by changing of some of the Team leaders and replacing them with new ones.
Many believe that the Acting Comptroller Yahaya overhaul of the Command Patrol Teams may have given the new Team leaders the opportunity to go back to the drawing board to re-strategise on how to deal with the smugglers in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states. They may have known that they could not afford to fail the Area Comptroller who had bestowed much confidence in them, notwithstanding other Patrol Team from the Border Drill and CGC Strike Force, competing for the seizure of the same smuggled Contraband in the region.
Note that in the last two weeks, the Adba Kakud, an Acting Deputy Comptroller and Coordinator of the CGC Strike Force, Lagos Zone, may have dominated the anti-smuggling Operations in the region that the FOU, Zone A, and the Border Drill sector 1, Patrols Teams were gasping for breath.
The situation was so worrisome that the FOU, Zone A, Acting Comptroller, FOU, Zone, may have been forced to take advantage of their weekly Tuesday Management meetings to read the riot act to the Patrol Team leaders to sit up. The Team leaders may have read his lips that they were forced to reach out to their informants for support. The fallout was that within one week of their different operations , the Command various Patrol Teams, intercepted 2,154 cartons of poultry products loaded into seven different vehicles.
Yahaya noted that with the seizure, the Command had sent a message to the smugglers operating the south west that it is no longer going to be business as usual. Giving an insider information, he disclosed that Steven Abah, a Chief Superintendent of Customs, made the highest seizure of 500 cartons in a swoop, The Acting Comptroller, revealed that the smugglers had abandoned the vehicles loaded with the Poultry products when they cited Customs personnel armed to the teeth coming after them . They were said to have disappeared with the vehicle ignition keys into the bush , forcing the Yahaya boys to improvise means of driving the intercepted vehicles with their contents to the Command premises.
Aware that it is a perishable item, the FOU, Zone A, Area Comptroller may have contacted officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDC, to witness the burial of the Contraband. Eyewitness account said the smugglers may have taken advantage of the increasing confirmed cases of the Coronavirus cases in the country which might force the various Customs Patrol Teams to keep out of the road and duty posts to risk of putting their vehicles loaded with the Contraband from the operational base in Benin Republic to into the Nigerian market which fell into the waiting hands of the Teams at various locations.
Many believe that even if the FOU , Patrol Teams , had not made the Poultry products seizure, either the Border Drill sector 1 or the CGC Strike Force Teams who are everywhere in Ogun state, or Oyo axis could have seized it as well. The good news was that the customs under the current Management Headed by Ali, had made it difficult for smugglers in any part of the country to push into the Nigerian market their smuggled goods, particular foreign parboiled rice , Vegetable oil or Poultry products.
This is because the various Customs Patrol Teams across the country Compliment each. It is not surprising why the Contraband that had miss the eagle eyes of the FOU, personnel, across the country, fell into the waiting hands of the Border Drill or CGC Strike Force Teams.
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