No Hiding Place For Smugglers Who Killed An Army Lieutenant As FOU, Zone A, Special Team Go After Them •CGC Strike Force, Team A, Beams Searchlight On The Lagos Ports And Bonded Terminals

By Stephen Ubanna

Smugglers who killed Isaiah Peter, an Army Lieutenant  at Igbo-Ora border Community on Friday, November 20, 2020,  for daring to join a Patrol Team of the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A,  stationed at the town to scuttle their smuggling activities appear to have drawn the battle line  with the Customs and the Army.

Investigations by The Value News revealed that ever since the gruesome murder  of the Army Lieutenant and the  raiding of the  of the Unit outstation at Igbo-ora as  well as the Operation Swift Response , popular, Border Drills, Lagos Zonal office  and burning of a Customs operational vehicle became public, Usman  Yahaya, the Command acting Comptroller and Jack Okpbabi, an Assistant Comptroller, who had led a special operation to Ido-Eruwa road to contain the activities of vehicle and Foreign rice smugglers in the area and now Head of Operations and Lagos Roving  were said to have mapped out strategies on how to go after the suspects  in their homes without creating a scene in the locality.

The Magazine learnt that the Customs acting Comptroller had given Jack and his Team members the go ahead  to  arrest the smugglers at all costs and bring them back to Lagos to face the  full weight f the Law.

Yahaya: Acting Comptroller, FOU, Zone A.

Jack, described as a very fearless officer, may have known that he and his boys who were armed to the teeth could not handle the situation alone because  the smugglers operating in the area are very ruthless that he had  to arrange for armed Soldiers to accompany the Customs Special Team For the Operation.

The Magazine  learnt the Team had moved into Ibadan, the Oyo state Capital , on Tuesday, December1, 2020, night, without Mrs. Helene Ngozi , the Oyo /Osun, Customs Area Comptroller,  who have been having a running battle  with the smugglers being aware of the FOU, Zone A, Special Team in the State.

It was learnt that Nwachukwu Enwonnwu, the Oyo state Commissioner of Police, who has a good working relationship with the Oyo/Osun Customs Comptroller and Okwudili Filis, an Army Major General officer Commanding, goc, 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Ibadan , Oyo state , was not even aware of the presence  of the FOU, Zone A, special Team in the state.

The special FOU Team, which was said to have been led By Jack, an Assistant Comptroller, overseeing the Command , Operations and Lagos Roving Team , were said to have  combed Igbo-Ora Community , moving from one suspected house to another, linked with the killers of the Army Lieutenant as well as raiding the Customs  outstation in the town .

The Operations of the FOU, Zone A, special, who were said to have   laid ambush in the last Tuesday night may have leaked out that the smugglers went into  hiding  turning the whole town  and Ido-Eruwa road, in Ibadan, regarded as another smugglers flash point in the state into a ghost town, with only goats and fouls  found on the road and the smugglers routes.

The Magazine cited some of the officers who went for the operation at the  Command, Ikeja, premiss,on Wednesday, December 2, 2020,very tired and worn out, having stayed throughout the night of Tuesday on the road  at the Igbo- Ora Community smugglers’ route without food and water, including Jack , the Team leader. The soldiers, who participated in the Operation, were busy parading themselves  in the premises, with their  branded operational vehicle parked at a spot.

 The Jack led FOU, Zone A, Team, on a special assignment to Igbo-Ora, to apprehend  the killers of the Army Lieutenant may have returned to Lagos, without getting of the suspects, but they are not yet free yet.

What happened at Ido-Eruwa road, described as a  notorious  smugglers location in Oyo state may repeat itself . When Jack , as the then Officer in-charge of Gbaji Checkpoint, along the Badagry-Seme  border route, had the mandate of Yahaya, the FOU, Zone Customs acting Comptroller, to stop the nefarious activities of the smugglers in the area, the Customs Assistant Customs Comptroller and his Team members were said to have laid ambush on the location on two different occasions but no luck.

But when  all hopes seems to have been lost that the FOU, Zone A, Team would never come back for the Operation, Jack and his boys  emerged from nowhere to dispossess the smugglers of  hundreds of 50Kg bags of Foreign rice and 34 different  brands  of vehicles both  new and fairly used, including Indian hemp, worth about N10 billion. The items were transferred to the Command premises, to the admiration of the acting Comptroller, who pated the officers on the back  for a job well done.

While acting Comptroller Yahaya, and his boys and  are making things difficult for the Foreign rice and vehice smuggglers in the south west geo-political region, Ahmadu Shuaibu, a Deputy Comptroller and Coordinator,  Comptroller General of Customs , CGC, Strike Force,  who has started his ensitisation Campaign with the releasing officers  at the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tin-can Island port and Port-multi-services, Terminal Limited, PTM has extended the sensitization Campaigns  to the APMs, at the Commands.

hE IS insisting that they must ensure that  the right thing is done to forestall importers with their agents FROM shortchanging the government to avoid running into trouble.  He was said to have also beamed his searchlight on the bonded Terminals   which are linked to the Commands.

 A senior Customs officer told The Magazine that this is the first time since the launching of the Strike Force by Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Customs Comptroller General, a Coordinator of the CGC, Strike Force, Team A, Lagos, would be probing into their operations. The officer disclosed that he could do so because he  understands  the enormous responsibilities of the Task Force compared to his predecessors who were busy chasing shadows.

Shuaibu: Coordinator, CGC Strike Force, Team A

Only recently, an attempt to fly a ‘’40’’,  Container from Mitchel bonded terminal  linked to the the Tin-can Island Command under the close watch of Abdullahi Musa, popular, MBA,  was frustrated by the Shuiabu boys and the  Container transferred to the Customs Training College , Ikeja, premises. The Magazine cited the truck laden ‘’40’’ Container at the Customs Training College  on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.

There are  indications  that  the Container might go for Examination to ascertain why the importer with his agent  and their Customs Collaborators opted to fly the it instead of going through the clearing process.  Efforts to speak to Musa,  the  Tin can  Island   Area Comptroller  through visits and phone calls proved abortive.    

Many believe that Shuaibu may have made appreciable impact   at the ports within the short period of being in the office because  of the mandate given  to him and other Coordinators, of the CGC, Strike Force in the other Zones  to enter into any Customs Command facility  once there is suspicion  of fraud with a view to blocking  areas of revenue leakages.

As part of the CGC Strike Force, Coordinators  mandate,   Joseph Attah, a Deputy Comptroller and Customs and spokesperson said it  is to assess Customs officers and their activities. Recall that in   launching  the Customs Task Force , code named Strike Force, Ali, the Customs, Comptroller General,  had said that the essence of the Team  is ‘’to promote the ease of doing business  at the ports and land borders with the neigbouring West African country of Benin Republic,  Niger, Tchad and the Central African country of Cameroon

. Shuaibu, may have followed religiously  its assigned  responsibility  by the Comptroller General never mount  road blocks  as his men are only seen patrolling the road  when  they have  credible  information of smugglers actiivities as furnished  by the surveillance  operatives  who do  overt operations. This may have informed why  the Shuaibu led CGC Strike Force Team A, intercepted the  ‘’40’’  Container being flown out of  Mitchel Terminal placed under the Tin can Island Command.

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