By Stephen Ubanna
Smugglers operating with and around the Banana Border axis and other porous border areas of Niger/Kogi states and the West Afrcan country of Benin Republic who are used to smuggling used Tyres, live catridges , used vehicles and foregn rice shipped into the country through its Autonomous port Benin, Cotonou and Bolore port , are in trouble.
A resident of Minna, the Niger state Capital told The Value News that ever since Timi Bomadi, a Deputy Comptroller and the Customs spokesperson ,released the names of the 37 Comptrollers deployed to their various duty posts with Comtroller Mohammed Abubakar Adamu’s name falling on the Niger/Kogi Command , than smugglers began to panic
This is because of the Customs Comptroller’s anticident at the Federal Operations Unit , FOU, Zone, A, where he had Headed the Command’s Lagos Roving unit, which Patrol Teams , gave the fraudulent importers with their agents AT the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tin can island, Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, phases I&II, and the smugglers operating in the south west states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, a run for their money that many of them were forced to go underground.
He was said to have repeated the same feat as the Coordinator, of the Headquarters Strike Force Team C,, Port Harcourt Zone, overseeing the south east states of of Abia, Anambra, Eboyi, Enugu and the south south states of Akwa Ibom, Cross River state, which share boundary with the Central African country of Cameroon which have the Doula port, where most of the Contraband goods, particular, foreign par boiled rice, vegetable Oil, second Hand Clothing are being smuggled into the country through the Bakassi axis, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Enugu and Rivers.
Not that within the short period he had served as the Coordinator of the Headquaters Strike Force, Team C, he was said to have made spectacular Contraband seizures. Prior to his appointment as the Coordinator, Headquarters Strike Force, Team C, Port Harcourt, he had served as the Deputy Comptroller in charge of the Enforcement , unit, of the Customs Amphibious Command, Western Marine Command, where he was said to have given the water ways smugglers using the Creeks and Beaches, in in Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo states tough time as he had continued to dispossess them of their smuggled foreign rice and Vegetable Oil including Premium Motor Spirit PMS,, popular, Petrol.
A senior Customs officer who spoke to The Value New on conditions of anonymity disclosed that throughout his stay at the Command, the Government Warehouse was always filled to the rim with seized foreign rice and other Contraband . The Command water front was said to have also had a good number of boats used for their smuggling activities that was berthed there.
His deployment to Tincan Can Island to oversee the Command main exit gate may have Brought out the best in him given his experience as an anti-smuggling officer as many fraudulent importers with their agents agents were forced to turn a new leaf by making correct declarations, and avoid wrong Classification of their imports, underpayment and Concealment for fear of losing their Consignment to government because ofAdamu’s no Compromise policy.
Many believe that what he did at the Tin Can Island main exit gate gate for much of last year as Deputy Comptroller, until his promotion as Comptroller, was not different from what Mahmood Ibrahim, a Deputy Comptroller , is currently doing at the Onne port exit gate, where some supected Containers loaded with goods which had had contravened the government Fiscal policy had been stooped and transferred to the the Enforcement unit for proper Examination and subsequent transfer to the government waerhouse.
Informed sources told The Magazine that billions of naira have continued to be recovered for the government through the issuance of Demand Notice, DN, to the guilty importers through their agents at the instance of Awwal Mohammed , the Area Comptroller, who is determined to block all areas of revenue leakage at the port.
Comptroller Adamu’s resolve to deal with the north central states of Niger and Kogi smugglers may have been strengthened as President Muhammadu Buhari , a retired Army General , policy, banning the importation of Foreign rice and second hand vehicles and other Contraband through the land border is still in force, meaning that the smugglers have no hiding place.
The speed at which the various Heads of unit of the Command ad some Patrol Team, leaders crowded him after the brief handover ceremony which saw Comptroller Dappa Williams , leaving the office for hhim, to resume in Eastern Marine, his new Command, in Rivers state, on Monday, February 14, 2022, speaks volume. Comptroller Dappa, may have taken advantage of the change of baton in ”to thank the officers and men of the Command for their support in the successes achieved in the anti-smuggling war” which had led to spectacular seizures including a live Cateridge.
The former Area Comptroller had urged the officers ‘’ to extend the same level of Corporation’’ to his successor, Comptroller Adamu, to fufill his mandate. Comptroller Adamu has every reason to demonstrate that he is still a firebrand in the anti-smuggling war by cashing in on the Comptroller General’s advice, that no Contraband enters or leaves the country to block all the porous routes in the the states used by the smugglers and their Collaborators. The Customs boss is desirous of meeting its 4.1 trillion revenue target for the year 2022 and therefore, would not want the smugglers operating in different parts of the country to sabotage his efforts. This may have informed why he had advised the Customs Comptrollers to the anti-smuggling serious.
Comptrol Adamu, who could not hide his feelings had said that Niger/Kogi Command, is a ‘’place to work’’ as a Comptroller because of the enormous challenges in Niger, Ibrahim Babangida, retired Amy General, and former military President, particular, which is still under Bandits Group siege. Given the good work of his predecessor, described as ”laudable”, not withstanding the activities of the gunmen in the state, he has promised ‘’to Consolidate on his achievements”.
The Customs Comptroller, however, may have sent jitters down the spine of the patrol Team Leaders and their members, when he declared that ‘’discipline will be his main concern ‘’, stressing that ‘’anti-smuggling activities shall be pursued vigorously’’.
The message was very clear to the ant-smuggling officers that any one who aid and abet the economic saboteurs, will be dealt with. Vintage Adamu.