By Stephen Ubanna
Unrepentant Smugglers operating in Baruten Local government Area of Kwara state border Communities of Chikanda, Okuata, Baruba and Two others would never forget Muhammed Uba Garba, a former Comptroller of Seme and now , Zonal Coordinator , Border Drills sector 3, based in Ilorin, the state Capita in a hurryl.
Between last December and now that the former Seme Comptroller took over the mantle of leadership of the sector from Aminu Dahir, an Assistant Comptroller General of Customs , ACG , who has been thrown out of Job , by Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, over alleged Complicity in the cross border smuggling of Premium Motor Spirit, popular, Petrol, by President Muhammadu Buhari,the smugglers appear not to have known peace.
From the border Communities in Kwara, Niger, Benue and Kogi, the four north central states geopolitical region, the story is the same: tightened security that it has become very difficult for the smugglers to carry out their illegal business between the neighouring West African state of Benin Republic and the oil rich Nigeria.
The major products smuggled from the French speaking country into the Nigerian market are mostly the prohibited foreign par boiled rice produced from the Asian county of Thailand, vegetable oil and second hand clothing including China manufactured Textile materials and Vehicles. Note that the case of the smugglers had been made worse as the Kastina state born Nigerian President had banned the importation of foreign rice and vehicles through the land border into the Nigerian market.
It is not surprising why any sight of the smuggled rice or vehicle from Benin Republic in any part of the north central states were regarded as a big offence and subsequent to seizure. The smugglers in turn smuggle from the Nigerian market refined petroleum products, into the Beninoa market.
It was one of those smuggling of 295 petrol tankers with the alleged Complicity of Commissioned security outfit, Operation Swift Response, to checkmate and track down the illegal activities of the smugglers that landed retired ACG Dahiru and others into trouble.
The Dahiru experience may have opened he eyes of Muhammed and his officers to be hard on the smugglers from the onset without Compromise. The situation was so bad that the smugglers had cried out. There was an incident of the seizure of 66 drums of petrol in the Bananna Border Community of Niger, home state of former military President , Ibrahim Babangida, a retire Army General and Abudulsalami Abubakar , another retired Army General and also a former Head of state.
Given the intensified anti-smuggling operation by the Border Drills sector 3, personnel, the Jbod Lead Team at Karonji area of Chikanda border Community in Baruten local government area of Kwara state on the night of Sunday, July 18, 2020, were said to have intercepted 21 vehicles, loaded with different prohibited items, particular, froeign rice.
An insider told The Value News that the intercepted vehicles were driven to Jbod headquarters, Ilorin, last Monday. With the seizures of the smuggled vehicles, loaded with prohibited items, particular, foreign rice, the Border Drills Zonal Coordinator, has’’ warned the smugglers to embrace legitimate trade as the Customs personnel, will never give them a breather until they turn a new lleaf’’.