Katsina:   Compt. Wada, Winning The Anti-smuggling War, Cage Fraudulent Importers

By Stephen Ubanna

 Ever since , news filtered out that Mohammed Abdullahi, an Assistant Comptroller , Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone, and Head of the Command  Operations and Lagos Roving, described as the terror of smugglers in the south western states of Ogun and Oyo states, particular, who was said to have  been reeployed to  Katsina Command, fear, appears to have gripped the smugglers, in the President Muhammadu Buhari, home state.

The worry is of the smugglers and fraudulent importers was that he is going to introduce the same strategies used in dealing with the diehard smugglers in Ogun and Oyo, described as home of foreign

rice and vehicle smugglers and fraudulent importers and exporters at the Lagos seaports in   Ogun and Oyo, described ha as haven for the foreign rice and vehicle smugglers, he has met on ground to smoke out the smugglers in their hideout. An insider informed The Value News that Katsina Customs Comptroller was said to have assigned him to his duty post as he has reported in the Command.             `

Determined to deal with the smugglers decisively this time around,  Comptroller Wda,  has warned the dare-devil smugglers ‘’to desist from their evil acts as the Command anti-smuggling officers would continue to frustrate them. He has made it clear to those that cares to listen that ‘’the Command would not relent in fighting the smugglers until they resort to legitimate trade. 

Appealing to the general public, the Customs Area Comptroller, who has made smuggling, a bad business in the south west state of Katsina, had called on the Legitimate traders ‘’to come forward   as his doors are always open for their complaints and advice ’’noting that trouble still awaits the smugglers operating between Benin Republic, Niger and Katsina and its environs until they are ready to turn a new leaf.

Giving a breakdown of the Contraband seizures made by the Command last September, on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, Comptroller Wada disclosed that with the commitment and dedication of the anti-smuggling officers in the state, which the Nigerian President had said only God would be able to man the borders between Nigerian and Niger, the officers have continued to be ahead of the smugglers in their plans. 

Seized Smuggled Vehicles By Katsina Command

Comptroller Wada had said, that 15 vehicles, used as a means of Conveyance by the smugglers in various locations in the state were intercepted. The Duty Paid Value, DPV, of the vehicles, was put at about N36 million. Some of the valuable  seized vehicles include  a used Toyota High Lander, valued at about N2 million, Used Mercedez Benz, valued at about N2 million, used Toyota Corolla ,with a DPV, of about N8million, two used J5 Bus, valued at about N1.3 million and N1.2 million respectively, among others.

The smugglers may have tried played smart to beat Customs person and other security agencies personnel on the road  as the intercepted vehicles were said to have been numbered . Take for instance, the seized Land Cruser had registration No. KTN 432PK, while the fairly used Toyota Corolla that was said to have been intercepted by the Command had registration No. DRA 25 AA, and Chassis No. 2Tiburhe6fc263125.

 Note that the 65, exotic vehicles , including four armoured vhicles that were intercepted in various locations in the north central, north eastern and northwestern geopolitical regions , by the Headquarters Rapid Response Squad, HRRS, which has JJack Okpabi, an Assistant Comptroller as its Coordinator, were said to have been numbered  as a cover up to deceive Customs personnel and other security operatives at checkpoints but fail into the waiting hands of the HRRS, offocers, who have been well trained on how to identify such smuggled vehicles into the country.  

Besides, putting a close watch, on the cross-border vehicles, entering Katsina state  from Benin Republic and Niger, The Command checkpoint and Patrol Team, officers, were also said to be giving a bloody noose to whose using their vehicles to smuggle foreign rice, vegetable oil, pretendind to have been produced in Nigeria.

Aware   that the north west states of Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Jigawa, share boundary with Niger Republic, which take delivery of its transit cargoes the Autonomous port of Benin , Cotonou and Bolloore port,  may have informed why the usual Contraband seizures made by the Katsina Command are foreign par boiled rice,   Macaroni,   COUSCOUS, Vegetable oil,  used tyres, Flour, Milky fertilizer second Hand  clothingincluding  Extra virgin olive oil while  Premium Motor Spirit, polpular Petrol, is smuggled out from Nigeria to the neighbouring Wes African country.

. The Katsina Command anti-smuggling officers at the checkpoints were said to have ensured that these low profile merchandise goods smugglers, would continue to lose their goods as a way to discourage hem from the illicit trade.

Compt.Wada Answering Questions From The Press After Showcasing Command Contraband Seizures

Takr instance ,  in the month under, review, the Customs Comptroller , had aid that  the Command  inercepted 594 bags of the Asian country of Thailand , produced par boiled rice, with a DPV, of N17,641,600.00, 75 bags of foreign fertilizer valued at about N1.2 million, 50 bales of second hand clothing, valued at about N6milion,  300 bags of flour, used in the Food and Beverages Industry,  with a  DPV,, of about N5 million while  491 kegs of , PMS, of 25, litres, each , value at about N2.3 million was seized from the petrol smugglers.

Bags Of Foreign Par Boiled Rice, 50Kg. Eacg Intercepted From Smugglers By Katsina Command Officers

 The491 kegs of petrol seizure in the state, according to analysts is nothing compared to the thousands of jerry cans  of Petrol, of 25 litres each, that runs into millions of naira , that are seized from VIP, smugglers,along  the Creeks and watersides , along  Seme jurisdictions and Badagry axis  by the Command Operations Team, headed by Abubakar Dankingari, an Assistant Comptroller, with the support of the Area Comptroller, Compt. Bello Mohammed Jibo.

Many elieve that, the Katsina Command, anti-smuggling officers, could make that much seizure of petrol, of Jerry cans of petrol of 25 litres ,eachbecause of the tight security mounted at the border stations and the inappropriate routes in the state by the officers, with the support of informants.

There is no gain saying the fact that the Katsina Command made a total Merchandise seizure of about N43.4 million. The cumulative of the value of the Seized vehicles and the merchandise goods by the Command, within the period, under review was put at about N80 million.

There are indications, that the Command arrested three suspects, over their allege involvement in smuggling Contraband into the country. It could not be ascertained whether they have been granted Administrative bail or being prosecuted. Efforts to eachthe Are Controller to speak to him on the matter through phone calls did not materialize.

The reopening of the popular, Jibiya border, between Nigeria and Niger, may have forced the legitimate traders to turn the Kantsina Command premises to make inquiries on the approved goods to be imported and exported. This may have helped in the monthly revenue generation of the Command since May, 2022 and now.

Addressing the Press, in the Command Headquarters, Katsina, the state Capital, Comptroller Wada had said that the    Command collected the sum of about N125 million as revenue on imports, during the period under review, which showed a significant increase of about N25.12 million from the previous month of August, 2022. He had attributed the phenomenal increase to its revenue collection in the month of September   ‘’to the new strategies and resolutions adopted in handling imports, along the Jibiya –Katsina metropolitan  by all the security agencies in the state’’.

He disclosed that the reopening of the Jibiya Border by the government also had helped the Command in processing 20,263.99 tons of products   that were exported to the West coast market during the period , compared to the 10,827.40tons of locallyproduced goods that were exported in the month of August. He had said that the increase was due to the same development in imports, and’’ blocking all areas of revenue leakage’’.     

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