Katsina:Acting Controller Wada Gets Tougher On Smugglers

By Stephen Ubanna

 Die-hard smugglers  operating between Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General and the neighbouring West African country of land locked Republic of Niger, are  no longer finding funny. Nigerien importers take their Transit cargoes from the Autonomous port of Cotonou and Bolorre port, in Republic of Benin, another neighbouring Country to Nigeria. The Nigerien and  the Nigerian smugglers may have given the Katsina Customs Command anti-smuggling operatives much job to do because all the transit cargoes meant foe Niger must go through the land borders between the two countries.

Given that Nigerian has the market, smuggling has become pronounced  between the two countries as most of the transit  vehicles and general goods, developed wings a on the round and ended up in Kano, Katsina  and other states  in the north west geo- political region because of their Common borders.

 Note, that there hundreds of illegal routes  between Nigeria and Niger, in Katsina state, alone, that are   used by the, who informed sources told The Value News are mostly engaged by the Transit cargo owners who have strong link in Customs circles. It is not surprising why Katsina, particular, in the northwest is described as home of smugglers. This is because virtually all the Local government areas in the state share boundary with Niger. It was not surprising why the Katsina state born Nigerian President ha said that  ‘’only God would be able to effectively  Patrol the Land borders between Nigeria  and Niger, meaning that the Nigerian anti-smuggling Customs operatives  may not be able to do so.

This is a state that was said to have produced the likes of  Dahiru Magal , a multi-millionaire, described as a very  notable smuggler , known in Customs and other security agencies circles and other powerful smugglers and their  agents working for them all over the state secretly to smuggle into the country Vehicles , secretly, and general goods, secretly  from Benin Republic under the darkest cover of the night. Part Comptrollers, of the Katsina Customs Command, with the support of Hameed Ali, a retired army Colonel and Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, who has a Presidential mandate to stop smuggling in the  country, were said to have mad effort to checkmate the activities of the smugglers in the state but that was how far they could go.

 But Acting Comptroller Sheldi  Dalha Wada, from the onset was said to have  made up his mind to succeed. He may have been given an insider information on the tactics of the smugglers and how they penetrate the ranks of the anti-smuggling Patrol Teams, that he was said to have read the riot act to the officers that anyone found Compromising  in the discharge of his official Responsibilities  would be dealt with decisively. The Patrol Team Leaders may have read his lips that no one wants to play into his hands.

He was said to have shown to be a practical anti-smuggling Comptroller as he was said to have regularly paid unscheduled visit to the officers at the  various checkpoints in the state including watching over the activities of his Patrol Team members disguised on the road. The information may have filtered out about to the ears of the big time smugglers in the state that Wada, the new Katsina Comptroller, could not be  penetrated, let alone Compromised  by their Contacts that had been sent to him, forcing many of them to go underground for now. This may have left the coast clear for the low profile fairly used vehicles and general goods, who smuggle in cartons and bags, to dominate.

It  is not surprising that whatever tactics that had been employed by them  in the recent time to carry out their nefarious  trade have been thwarted  by Wada’s anti-smuggling Patrol Team officers on the road , bushes or at the checkpoints at the Land border Communities.

Detained Mitsubishi Highlander JEEP

There is no gainsaying the fact that the Katsina  and Niger based smugglers may  have taken advantage of the activities of Bandits in the north west state to operate freely over the last  six years. They had never expected that Acting Comptroller Wada and his boys would relax in their anti-smuggling operations after the first three months of blowing hot in their operation but got it wrong.

 Instead of slowing down their anti-smuggling operations, Wada and his officers are getting tougher on the smugglers on a daily basis resulting in the numerous seizures of different Contraband goods and vehicles.

  Last May, the Customs Acting Comptroller, was said to have visited Kongolam, MaiAdu’a, Zanjo and Kuta and border Communities, described as notorious border routes in the state in order to bring down the tension between the people and Customs personnel deployed to patrol the border routes.

At a recent briefing on the Command activities in the month of June, 2021, Wada did not hesitate in telling the people that he will not tolerate any further  attack on Customs personnel carrying  out their Legitimate duties to checkmate the activities of smugglers, urging them ‘’ to assist  the  Customs personnel to do their job  by giving out credible information.

 Notwithstanding the conspiracy by the people to the Customs anti-smuggling operations in the state with the support to their smugglers Collaborators, the month of June, 2021, appears to have produced one of the best anti-smuggling results in terms of Contraband goods and detention of vehicles in the last two months.  

Detained Vehicles At Customs Customs Command

 Given the Competition by the Command various Patrol Teams and those at the Checkpoints to make seizures in order to win the ears of Wada, the Customs Acting Comptroller, the Command, had intercepted and detained 16 vehicles, with a Duty Paid Value of about N71 million, which were said to have been smuggled into the country without payment of the relevant duties  which were found during the routine  scrutiny  of vehicles while in their duty posts.

  ,One of such detained vehicles included a LEXUS RX 350, Black, 2015 model, with a DPV,  of about N9 million. Another of such detained Exotic vehicles detained over alleged non-payment of  duty,  was a Mercedes Benz, A220,  4Matic, with a DPV, of about N34 million, 2020 Model,   Mercedes Benz, E350 4 MATIC,  2006, Model, valued at about N3.4million. This in addition to a Toyota Camry, 2015, Model, worth about N7 million and a MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER JEEP, 2006 Model valued at about N1.62 million, and several other fairly used vehicles.

The Command was said to have also  made an outright seizure of N11.52 million worth of Contraband general goods ranging from  Foreign par boiled rice,  Foreign sugar,  Foreign Spaghetti,  Foreign  Macaroni, Foreign Couscous,  Vegetable oil and  Condensed milk.

 Other seized items  included  Foreign Matches,  Animal feeds, Fertilizer, Tiger Nuts, Ground Nuts, Premium Motor Spirit PMS,, popular Petrol,   Automotive Gas Oil, AGO or diesel, and one  Used Tricycle, popular, KEKE NAPEPE .

Seized ,’25K Bags Of Foreign Parboiled Rice and Jerry Cans Of Vegetable Ol

A document made available to The Value News by Danbaba Isah, spokesperson of Katsina Customs Command, gave a breakdown of the quantities of the various items that were seized by the Command. The document shows that the Command which had followed strictly the government policy banning the importation of Foreign rice and vehicles through the Land border or re-exporting  of Petroleum products from Nigerian to Niger   shows that the Command  intercepted 217 bags of Foreign par boiled r rice of 50Kg each  and an additional 15 bags of 25Kg each, 109 cartons of Spaghetti, 155 cartons of Foreign Macaroni,, 100 bags of Fertilizer, 42 bags of Tiger Nuts and 12 bags of animal feeds. This is in addition to 233 Jerrycans of Petrol and 36 Jerrycans of diesel of 25 liters each.    

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