Gunrunners who think that they can take advantage of the activities of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram, in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and the Bandits operations in the north west states of Zamfara, Kaduna and katsina , to sell their guns and live Cartridges would be disappointed
. This is because the Federal Operation Units, FOUs, mobile Patrol teams across the country are out for them. The FOUs Area Comptrollers and their Patrol team Leaders who may have gone back to the drawing board to restrategise on how to deal with the Contraband smugglers appear to have got it right.
Given that the south west, major smuggling routes between Benin Republic and Nigeria had been totally blocked by Usman Yahaya, the, acting Comptroller , FOU, Zone, A, and his boys, the arms smugglers who may have relocated to the north west may have found the use of the Creeks and watersides in Kebbi and Sokoto states a safe route to use to carry out their nefarious activities. This is because the major roads linking the state state and other states in the region are no go areas because of the large presence Customs Personnel and other security operatives.
Not that attempts by a gun runner to smuggle 73 locally manufactured guns and 891 live Cartridges, along Yauri in the Zamare waterside area of Kebbi, described as a home of rice growers, was forestalled by the FOU, Zone B, Patrol team officers.
Acting on a credible information, the FOU, Zone B, Patrol team, officers , who were strategically positioned along the Yauri Zamare waterside area, were said to have intercepted the fully loaded truck conveying the arms Contraband into the country.
Eyewitness account said the driver had initially resisted stopping when he was flagged down by the Customs Patrol team on the ground that he was not carrying anything offensive. When the driver eventually stopped, t Patrol team officers , impressed it upon the him that the truck must be searched because of the way the bags of rice were loaded which were very suspicious .
Unknown to the drive and the motor boy, of the truck, sacks of locally manufactured guns and live Cartridges had been Concealed under the bags of rice loaded in the truck . The truck driver and the motor boy were shocked when the Customs Patrol team officers found sacks of locally made guns and live Cartridges in their truck, which going by the country’s fiscal policy , were Contraband. The content of the sacks were counted and found to contain 73 local guns and 891 cartridges.
The truck driver, the motor boy and one other person who was in the truck, may have known that the game was up when they were promptly arrested and taken to the Command Headquarters in Kaduna, where they were detained. Joseph Attah, a Deputy Comptroller and Customs spokesperson said, the three detained suspects are helping the service in its ongoing preliminary investigation into the matter.
The interception of the truck conveying the 73 locally manufactured guns and imported live Cartridges appears to have elevated the profile of Hamisu Albashir, the Command Area Comptroller, who has described ‘’the feat as a signal to those planning to smuggle small and light arms including other harmful items into the country through the zone that it is no longer going to be business as usual’’ as his men on the alert.
Appealing to residents of the Border Communities with Niger Republic, not to hesitate to provide Credible information to the Command on smuggling of Contraband into the country into the country through the zone, he opined that ‘’it is the only way to ensure effective border security in the state.
Recall that in September 2018, the FOU, Zone C, with Headquarters in Owerri, Imo state, mobile Patrol team had intercepted a truck with military hardware Concealed in it. The then Area Comptroller, of the Command, Kayode Olusemire, who is now the Comptroller, Enforcement, at the Abuja, Customs Headquarters , had confirmed that the items found in the truck include 90 pairs of military camouflage uniform, 97 pairs of military camouflage jungle hats, 202 pieces of military camouflage neck vest, 20 pieces of military singlet, 40 pieces of military camouflage jungle boats and 10 pieces of military camouflage water bags.
Also, last June, the Command, mobile Patrol team, led by Ahmadu Shuaibu, a Deputy Comproller, who is now the Coordinator, Comptroller General of Customs, Strike Force, Team A, Lagos, intercepted over 3,000 cartridges of live cartridges at a checkpoint located along the Elele-PortHarcourt road in the oil-rich Rivers state, described as home of cultists.
The live cartridges were said to have been Concealed by the gunrunner in a vehicle conveying goods from the Anambara state Commercial nerve centre of Onitsha to the oil city of PortHarcourt but fell into the waiting hands of Olusemire’s men on the road. The two persons who were conveying the cartons of the live cartridges were said to have been arrested as the Command intensified its preliminary investigation to apprehend the importers.
Customs sources told The Value News that with the recent seizure of the 73 locally made guns and hundreds of live cartridges along the Yauri Zaamare waterside area in the north west Kebbi state, Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has given a matching order to the Area Comptrollers in the Land border Areas, FOUs, Zonal Coordinators of the Border Drills and Coordiantors of the various Teams of the CGC, Strike Force and their men, to tighten up security in their areas of jurisdictions and ensure that the their mobile Patrol teams effectively police the illegal routes including the Creeks and watersides used by the smugglers to carry out their smuggling activities in the border states.
The Customs boss, order according insiders has become very necessary because of the recent attack of Ogu and Tegina Communities in Rafi local government area of Niger, home state, of former military President Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and Abdulsalami Abubakar, also a retired Army General and former Head of state. The gunmen were said to have abducted 19 people in the two north west state Communities and killed one Jeremiah Ibrahim, a Pastor of Evangelical Church Winning All,ECWA, brach, in Kuta , an act that had been condemned by Nigerians from both religious divide.