By Stephen Ubanna
Officers and men of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, at the seaports, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, and the land Border Areas , particular, Ogun Command, appear to have relented in their anti-smuggling operations, thus exposing their gross inefficiency.
This may have given room to the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Operations and Lagos Roving Team, headed by Riks Lura, a Chief Superintendent of Customs and his counterparts in the Strike Force, headed by B. Ahmed, a Superintendent and Information Patrol Team, headed by one Ajao, also a Superintendent of Customs to make spectacular seizures in the recent time.
Muhammed Aliyu, the Command
The Consignment was said to have been
Many believe that the Containerlike truck may have escaped the Seme Command officers on the road because Muhamed Uba Garba, the Area Comptroller was
Another spectacular seizure that was said to have been made by the team between last week and Tuesday, April 16, 2019, were five bullet proof vehicles. The vehicles were said to have been allegedly released from Tin-can Island port without the appropriate duty being paid by the importer. More The case of the importer was made worse as he did not have the End User Certificate which could only be obtained from the office the National Security Adviser, NSA, at the Presidency.
The deal was said to have leaked out to the fearless Riks, who mobilised some members of the team to lay ambush at the location where the costly bullet proof vehicles would be delivered. When it was confirmed that the agent had taken delivery of the vehicles which had been delivered to the importer’s car mart, Riks, at the instance of Aliyu, the Area Comptroller was said to have given he the nod to the team to enter the premises and impound the vehicles which were transferred it to the Command premises. It was said to have been done without any resistance from the dealer or the workers . The importer was said to have found his way to the Command premises to see how he can use contacts at the Customs Headquarters to facilitate the release of the vehicles.
He was said to have met a brick wall as he could not make a headway as Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel and Comptroller General, NIgeria Customs Service, NCS, and other top Shots , who were close to him could not bend the rules to force Aliyu, the Area Comptroller to release the vehicle.d The vehicles were promptly detained. There are fears that that the Bullet proof vehicles may have been seized on the orders of the Area Comptroller ,having contravened the government fisical policy. This brings to 15, the number of such bullet proof vehicles that were said to have been impounded by the Riks led Operations and Lagos Roving Team in the last six weeks. The Command was said to have impounded 113 exotic and oother fairly used vehicles. Some of the vehicles had been damaged badly by the smuggler when it became obvious he would lose it to Customs. But the patrol team did not hesitate in toying to the Command premises under such a dilapidated condition to prove a point that smugglers would never have any respite .
Other Contrabands that were said to have been made by the Command in its anti-smuggling war and check mating the activities of importers with their agents at the seaports , Border Areas and the Airport according to Aliyu, the Area Comptroller include 24 pieces of Used Compressor worth N360,000.00 , 1000 sachets of Tramadol valued at N250,000.00, 43 sacks of Used Shoes which was valued at about N580,000.00, 280 pieces of Machets worth N480,000.00, 62 cartons of Tomanto Paste valued at N62,000, Really Extra (DIclofe NAC)-N15.9 million , and 1056 cartons of Chest and Lung Tablets valued at about N105.6 million.
This is in addition to 49 cartons of Paracetamol Injection worth N39.2 million,157 bales of Used Clothing valued N9.420 million, 265 pieces of Used Tyres valued at about N1.855m, 200 cartons of Frozen Poultry Products with a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N1.4 million, 13,810 bags of 50Kg foreign parboiled rice, parcels of Indian Hemp-N960,000.00 and180 Jeri cans of 25 KG of Vegetable Oil and 12 parcels of India Hemp which value was pegged at N 0.9 million. The Cumulative DPV, of the Contraband goods seized within six weeks by the Command including the 113 units of vehicles was put at about N1.34 billion .
Investigation by The Value News shows that most of the intercepted Contraband goods were from the land Border as some were loaded in Companies trucks used in carrying goods, particular, Dangote Cement Company, one of the Companies in the Dangote Group trucks.
The Company , alone, according to Company sources uses most of the haulage trucks in the Group for transporting the Company manufactured bags of Cement to distributors warehouses in different parts of the country.
This may have given the drivers the opportunity after lift Contrabands for smugglers to raise some some money to argument their monthly salary believing that FOU or Headquarter Strike Force , personnel on the road would never stop them. They got it wrong as the Aliyu’s men on the road have never hesitated in stop them to find out they are actually carrying Cement or have some other items Concealed in the truck. Their suspicion had always come out to be hundred percent accurate. It is not surprising why Dangote, Nigeria Breweries Plc and other notable Companies trucks are detained in the Command warehouse at Ikeja.
Appealing to Companies who employ haulage truck drivers who would be used specifically for the service of delivering cargoes to Customers’ warehouses in different parts of the country to properly scrutinise them before engaging them , The FOU, Zone Customs boss, said that is the only way they would keep away from trouble or FOU officers on the road would continue to intercept and detain the trucks which would tell on the Company business as there would much undelivered stocks to Customers.
There is no gain saying the fact that much of the seized goods are from the Comptroller Michael Agbara, tcontrolled Ogun state which has 84 unapproved routes, going by the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, records . Thehe seizure of the Contrabands from the state was an indictment on the Ogun Command Comptroller and his his patrol team at strategic location.
Note that most of the smugglers operating at the Seme
A Seme based agent confirmed that Garba has chased them awy from the nooks and cranies of his area of jurisdiction that they have shifted base to Ogun and oyo states and into the Creeks to carry out their nefarious trade.
Their problem may have been made worse with the deployment of two aditional teams: Anti-smuggling and Anti- Bunkering at Gaji by Aliyu, the FOU, Zone A , boss, to compliment the efforts of the resident officers in the area. he may have meant well to checkmate the activities of the smugglers from the Owode axis which must surely burst out at the Gbaji Check point under different guises.
He may mean well but many believe that the motive may be different : to prove to his Seme counterpart that he is in total control of anti-smuggling operations in the six states in the south west and fore could deploy ant team to any area suspected to be poorly managed at anytime. They noted that the officer he is trying to intimidate is an a fearless anti-smuggling who has taken much risks when he was at the helm of Affairs at FOU, FOU, Zone, that smugglers and officers at the seaport, Airport and Border Areas dread him. Maritime watchers believe that he is still implementing the same anti-smuggling at Seme that smugglers have resorted to the use of charms to hyponithise officers.
Only recently, a swarm of
The death of Abubakar may have strengthened the resolve of Garba, the Seme Area Comptroller to smoke out the
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