By Stephen Ubanna
More facts have emerged why officers and men of the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone C, dominates the anti-smuggling Operations in the south-south and south east geo-political regions in spite of the large presence of the Comptroller General , CGC,, Strike Force, and the Joint Border Drills Operatives in the regions.
This is because of the Command Operation officers knowledge of the terrain because of their many years of patrolling the nook and crannies of and their deep Committement to anti-smuggling Operations in the two regions. From Benin, Onitsha, Warri, Ikom, to Bakassi, where the various anti-smuggling Units maintain large presence presence,t Comptroller Kayode Olusemire’s men at FOU, Zone C, have demonstrated in the last couple of months that they are on the ground with the spectacular seizures that had continued to be made including bullet proof vehicles.
Many had expected that with the large presence of Babagana Munguno, a retired Army Major General, Coordinated , joint Border Drills as well as the CGC Strike Force personnel at the Benin Toll gate and the Bypass , it would be very difficult for the FOU, Zone C, anti-smuggling officers to make any reasonable seaizure of Contrabands, particular, the Asian country Thai par boiled rice or vehicles smuggled into the country from Benin Republic that had escaped the eagle eyes of the Border Drills, CGC Strike Force or the FOU, Zone A, personnel, along the Lagos Benin or the Ondo-Benin roads The FOU Zone C, anti-smuggling officers may have used their deep understanding of the terrain and the tactics used by smugglers in the regions, particular, in the south-south states of Edo, Delta, Cross-river and Akwa Ibom whch they had mastered over the years to rejig their strategies to confront them and dispossess of them of their smuggled goods.
Security watchers believe that the large presence of the Border Drills and CGC Strike Force personnel at strategic locations in the two southern Nigerian have regions, may introduced fear into the mindset of the smugglers that they easily play into the waiting hands of the FOU, Zone C, Patrol Team officers who are very Conversant with the various illegal routes that could be used by the smugglers operating in the region.
Last year alone, the Command according to Olusemire, the Area Comptroller, had seized goods and vehicles including detained bullet proof which has no End User Certificate issued from the office of the National security Adviser valued at over N590 million. The seizue of such large volume of items was an indictment on FOU, Zone A, CGC Strike Force and The Border Drills personnel , stationed at strategic locations along the Lagos – Benin and Ondo –Benin roads.
The anti-smuggling lapses in the Operations of the FOU Zone A, in the last couple ofs month may have informed why Usman Yahaya, a Deputy Comptroller , in-charge of the CG, Lagos Zonal Strike FOrce and now acting Comptroller of the Command, to hold a strategic meeting with the various Heads of Units , Team and Patrol leaders in order to review their operations in a bid to making it, more effective. Yahaya, according to Jerry Atta, an Assistant Superintendent of Customs and the Command Spokesperson in a Statement, said the acting Comptroller had used the opportunity provided by the meeting to unveil the mandate bestowed on him by the Ali led management: block all areas of revenue leakages in the system, intensify anti-smuggling operations in the south weat ge-political region at the various entry points which included the seaports and airports as well as ensure trade facilitation .
He may have taken a cue from Olusemire, the FOU, Zone C, Comptroller , who is enjoying wide support from the people of the areas of his jurisdiction in the fight against smugglers by who give out necessary intelligence information that could assist the Command Team and Patrol leaders do their work in order to suppress smuggling activities in the two regions under its control to the barest minimum.
He was said to have reminded the officers that his redeployment to the Command was part of the Comptroller General ‘s strategies to rejig the Service for ‘’greater efficiency and effectiveness’’ , particular, in the areas of revenue generation, trade facilitation and suppressing smuggling’’. The Team and Patrol leaders including the various Heads of Units may have got his message clearly that they quickly moved into action to show their loyalty.
Between Monday, January 7, 2020 and Monday, January 14, 2020, the various Teams including the Command Operations and Lagos Roving , Headed by Riks Lura, a Chief Superintendent of Customs, were said to have intercepted 2,065 , ‘’25’’ Jerry Cans of Vegetable Oil,, 1,185 bags of ‘’50’’ par boiled rice and 1,5000 , 25 litres Jerry Cans of diesel with a total Duty paid value of N67.3 million, which included the duty, taxes and surcharges on such items.
The initial rumour making the rounds was that the eizure of the ‘’40’’ Container Concealed with the imported processed Vegetable Oil was master-minded by Jack Okpabi, a Chief Superintendent of Customs and Head of Operations, south west, CGC Strike Force, and Yahaya right hand man, because of his regular appearance in the Command within the first ten days of Yayaha’s resumption.
The rumour became pronounced because it was one of the remarkable seizures that were made by the Yahaya led Lagos Zonal Strike before his redeployment to FOU, Zone A. It is assumed that the same informan t used by the Strike Force Operations Unit, led By CSC Jack may have volunteered such information to him to prove that he can do the job in order to be recalled FOU, Zone A.
Impeccable sources told The Value News at the CGC Strike Force that Jack has no hand in the seizure of the ‘’40’’ Concealed with the thousands, ‘’25’’ Jerry Cans Vegetable Oil. The source disclosed that the seizure was made by the Command Operations and Lagos Roving Team Patrol Team who were said to have been alerted by their leader based on intelligence gathering to go after the truck laden Container which was released from an undisclosed port and transfer it to the Command premises for re-examination.
The order was said to have been carried out to the later and the suspected Container transferred to the Command premises and detained, and subsequently seized after it was confirmed that it carried over 2000 25 liters Jerry Cans, of processed Vegetable Oil, an item which had been prohibited by the government from being imported into the country.