By Nwangwu Uba
It is no longer business as usual for alleged Nigeria Diplomatic workers or transnational transporters to hoodwink Customs personnel at the’ land Borders to enter into the country with smuggled vehicles. Note that over the years
Trouble may have started for the alleged Diplomatic worker when his exotic Renault Megane, 2017, model, red in colour bearing a Diplomatic number, ”Corps Diplomatique 138CD 19, when he was stopped and asked to produce the relevant documents relating to the vehicle to show that that it was a Diplomatic vehicle.
The Customs personnel t the Joint Border may have suspected that it was a smuggled vehicle with the old Nigerian plate number concurrently found in the vehicle. The alleged diplomatic worker may have tried to prove to the Customs officers that stopped him that he owner of the intercepted was a highly former top Inspector General of police, IGP, when he handed over a document containing some phone numbers and asked them to call any of them for discussion on the issue of the vehicle.
He was optimistic that once the officers who had denied entry into the country could agree to make the call, he would be allowed to proceed with the journey. He got it wrong. Mohammed Uba Garba, Comptroller told the Value News that there is a procedure at the Border over transnational vehicles at the Border. The Customs Comptroller disclosed that no driver , whether a diplomatic worker dare come to a Border between two countries without being stopped and interviewed to confirm ownership and origin of the vehicle.
The alleged smuggler was said to have been asked to produce the documents that granted him the privilege to use the diplomatic vehicle but could not do it . He was said to have repeatedly pleaded the officers to call the phone of the person in the document given them for talks on the vehicle. The alleged diplomatic worker may have been under instruction from the sponsor to hand over the document containing his phone numbers if denied entry into the country by security operatives, particular Customs personnel at the Border.
The officers may not have obliged him request because it was not part of the mandate to make calls oN behalf of suspects. ”It is not our work as Customs officers to call people’s numbers, because a suspect has mentioned a ”big man’s name” linked to a smuggled vehicle. The mandate of the NCS, is to” facilitate trade”.
He noted that smugglers of exotic vehicles through the land Borders are coming up with new innovations daily to beat Customs personnel to it at the Border. The Customs Comptroller told The Value News that the interception of the suspected diplomatic vehicle and the driver was not unexpected. ”We have always anticipated the likelihood of smuggling activities at the Seme-Krake joint Border and its environs and we have also devised new strategies to scuttle their nefarious activities”, he had said. Iwas not surprising why his well trained officers stationed at the Border to oversee vehicular movement and human traffic could critically look at vehicles and tell the integrity of the situation because he has been doing the job for years based on common intelligence. The arrest of the suspect may have exposed the rot at Nigeria West Coast Embassies whose drivers fall into the waiting hands of VIP vehicle smugglers to cross vehicles for them.
Going by the United Nations Vienna Convention 1961, an International treaty which defines a framework for diplomatic relations, Immunity is bestowed on diplomats. But this privilege appear to have been abused over the years. Investigation shows how some of these diplomatic workers, particular drivers , abuse these privileges by engaging in smuggling of vehicles.
Simultaneously, transporters in the west coast have
Recall that in the last couple of months the FOU teams have intercepted several exotic vehicles, laced with Nigerian plate numbers along the road which were transferred to the Command for further investigation. Most of those vehicles were said to have been detained and some seized without the
While Seme Command and the FOU, Zone A, anti-smuggling officers are discovering new tricks of vehicle smugglers across the Border daily, the seaport s, Enforcement officers, particular,
In spite of the continued seizure of Containerised load of tramadol drugs, both ”20” and ”40”
Unconfirmed revealed that the Command during examination on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, uncovered a and seized a Container load of tramadol at the port. Effort to speak to Musa Abdullahi, the Area Comptroller, about the tramodol seizure proved abortive. It was learnt that Dera Nnadi, a Deputy Comptroller and the Command no nonsense Enforcement officer and Mahmud Ibrahim, and Head of the Command Compliance Unit, regarded as a ” revenue mobiliser” in Customs circles have been very instrumental in scuttling the activities of these non compliant importers at the port.
Those who could not cope with his insistence that the government fiscal policies must be strictly complied with were said to have relocated to Apapa, the nation’s premier port, Kirikiri Lighter