Seme:Compt Jibo Gets Tougher On VIP petrol Smugglers

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By Stephen Ubanna

 When Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel ad Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, banned the sales of  Petroleum Products: Premium Motor Spirit , popular, Petrol and  diesel, 20Kms, to the land border Communities in 2019, across the country, many had expected the VIP Petrol marketers   who get allocation from the petroleum and products Marketing Company , a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC,,  Nigerian Peteroleum Company Limited  to sell the products at their filling stations to stop diverting it to neighbouring countries.

Officials of the NNPC, may have given the Katsina born Nigerian President the ammunition to cede to the request of Ali, the Customs Comptroller General to close down all the filling stations around the border Communities when they raised alarm that they are ‘’channels for fuel smuggling to the neighbouring countries of Benin, Niger, Togo, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroon and even Ghana, which has no direct borders with Nigeria. From Ogun,Lagos, Oyo,, Kwara, Niger, Katsina, Sokoto, Borno, Yobe, the story is the same: smuggling of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, Petrol .

Comptroller Jibo: Giving VIP Petrol Smugglers A Run For Their Money

Until Mohammd Bello Jibo, was redeployed from Bauchi to the Seme Command in 2020, former Area Comptrollers of the  Land border Area  had battled the VIP, Petroleum Products but that was how far they could go.

  According to informed sources  trucks  loaded with Petrol and diesel,  and other products  were strictly monitored  and documents  properly cross checked  by the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, personnel,  to ensure that they  are discharged  to the approved stations within the seme Jurisdictions and Badagry axis. The Seme Command, anti-bunkering unit, personnel are on ground to ensure that smuggled Petrol through the border routes and the 15 watersides, Creeks and beaches within the  Seme Jurisdictions ,Badagry and Owode/Apa axis  are intercepted and seized.

  Between 2018, and now, the VIP, Petrol marketers, who had filling stations within the border Communities who get allocations which end up in the neighbouring counries are no longer finding it funny it funny to smuggle the PMS, through the Creeks or Beaches within the Seme, Badagry or Owode/Apa axis because of the tight security. The VIP Petrol smugglers knew that they were in trouble immediately information filtered out that Compt. Jibo, who had participated in the past in the planning and execution the anti-smuggling operations at the Seme Command has been redeployed to the Command I 2020.

As a prelude to strengthen the anti-smuggling operations of the Command, the has collapsed  the anti-bunkering  unit, to the newly created Operations Unit, headed by one Abubakar, an Assistant Customs Comptroller, who had headed at  different times various Patrol Teams that had made spectacular Contrand seizures. He may have taken advantage of the Katsina state born Nigerian President to ban on the importation of Vehicles and foreign par boiled rice through the Land borders across the country to deal ruthlessly with the smugglers and dispossess of them their smuggled Contraband goods and prohibited goods including Petroleum Products.

Trucks Load Of PMS, expected To Discharge At Badagry Filing Station But Products Ended Up In A Beach For Benin Market

Aware that that VIP Petrol smugglers will figt back and with the backing of Jibo, the Seme Command Area Comptroller, he Abubakar was said to have turned the 15 watersides, Creeks and beaches within the Seme Jurisdictions, Badagry and Owode/Apa axis as his office on mufti. An insider told The Value News that the Customs Assistant Comptroller, works closely with some engaged informants who are always there for him to give out information on the movement of trucks load of Jerry cans of Petrol of 25 litres each at the Creeks and Beaches for the Beninois market.

 This may have informed why the Assistant Customs Comptroller at Seme Command, led Operations Unit, is doing exactly what Jack Okpabi, an Assistant Comptroller did when he was the FOU, Zone A, officer –in-charge of Gbaji checkpoint, during the Administration of Deputy Comptroller Usman Yahaya, l who got a Special Promotion and finally retired as Comptroller because of his outstanding performance. Assist Comptroller Jack and his Team members, had given a close monitoring to the National Security and Civil Defence Corprps, NSCDC, personnel who were ssaid to have provided escort to the VIP smugglers but forcing them to do the right thing by  exposing their dirty deals.

Assistant Comptroller Abubakar may not have given the FOU, Zone A, Team, at the Gbaji  checkpoint,an opportunity to  excersie themselves  fully as he and his officers had dominated the anati-smuggling  operations at the Seme Jurisdiction, Badagry and Owode/Apapa axis.This is evident with the thousands of 25 litres of Jerry cans of Petrol each, worth millions of naira that had been intercepted and seized with the approval of the Customs Area Comptroller in the last two months.

Hundreds Of Jerry Cans Of Petrol iNTercepeted By Seme Command, Operations Unit

.  The latest of the  hundreds of the 25 litres each of jerry cans of Petro thatl was said to have been made at the beaches along the Badagry –Seme axis  by the Abubakar led Team, was  on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. That much was confirmed by Hussain Abdullahi, a Deputy Superintendent of Customs, and the Command spokesperson.

Given an insider information , the Seme Command spokesperson  had said  that the Abubakar led Team  intercepted the 1,5000 Jerry cans  of Petrol, of 25 litres each, equivalent of thirty one thousand ,  and fve hundred litres or almost a truck load of Petrol ,that had  been properly packaged to be smuggled into the Beninois market with a Duty Paid Value of about NN7 million.

Recall that Comptroller Jibo, had said that the Commd various Patrol Teams, who got the patrol vehicles allocations from the four  new Land Cruiser  Patrol vehicle ( Bufallo), provided  by the Ali led Management Team,  are actually making good use of it  as it has aided the teams to approach the difficult terrains with ease and are  making good Contraband seizures. He had cited the Abubakar led Team which can now  access the beaches and creeks with the aid of the operational vehicles which was not the case before now. ‘’The Team are able to access everywhere’’, he had said.

Prior to the allocations of the four Operational vehicles to the Command by the Customs Headquarters last October, Cmptroller Jibo and the Command Units and Patrol Team Leaders , were said to have made do with the few operational vehicles that they had to confront the Contraband smugglers, particular, foreign rice  Petrol and the vehicle smugglers within the Seme Jurisdictions.

 Take for instance, in December1, 2021, the Command operations Team had intercepted 1,050 Jerry cans  of 30 litres each, equivalent of thirty one thousand, fifty litres of Petrol,  along the Seme and Badagry Creks, with a DPV, of about N5.4 million, after several days of surveillance of the suspected beaches and creeks used by the smugglers to carry out their nefarious activities.

 The Seme Command Operations Team, under the close watch of Assistant Comptroller Abubakar, who, Seme residents  had said have gone out fully against the Petrol smugglers using the  Watersides,Creeks and beaches within the Seme, Badagry and Owode/a axis on the order of Area Comptroller Jibo , were said to have also  made 750 Jerry cans  of 25,  litres each of Petrol, equivalent of 22,500 litres,   from Oloko Creeks around the Badagry axis, with a DPV. of N3.32 million.

Intercepted Hundreds Of Jerry Cans Of 25 Litres Each Of Petrol, Transferred To The Seme Command Enforcement Unit From The Invaded Beach

Between December 1,2021 and now, the cumulative total of the quantities of Petroleum Products that had been intercepted by the Abubakar led Team had been  put at 3,300 Jerry cans of Petrol , equivalent of 85050 litres, which is more than two trucks load of petrol with a DPV.of about N15.72 million.

With the continued interception and seizure of the thousands Jerry cans of Petrol of between 25 -30 litres each from the VIP  Petrol smugglers, by the Seme Command Operations Unit, Comptroller Jibo has made it clear to those that cares to listen  and who had turned  the Seme Jurisdictions, Badagry and Owode/Apa watersides, Creeks and Beaches, as their  smuggling routes for Petrol meant for the Nigerian market to Republic of Benin that ‘’it is no longer going to be business as usual as he and his antismuggling officers are ready to  frustrate their efforts.

He may have put fear on the minds of the VIP Petrol smugglers, whose identity remain unknown, and the petit petrol smugglers who load one or two Jerry cans in their VAehicles, Keke Marwa and Okada,  when he declared that the Command  Operations  officers will continue to increase their Patrol and surveillance of the watersides,  Creeks, beaches and the Badagry to Seem road’’ to ensure that the government policy on the ban on the of export of Petrol, from Nigerian to the neighbouring country of Benin, which is  closer to the south west states of Ogun, Lagos, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti was not flouted.          

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