Seme: Muhammed: Takes The Anti-smuggling War To The Creeks

  By   Stephen Ubanna

For much of last week and Tuesday, June 18, 2019, Adahunse Rashid, and Dandarin, both a Deputy Comptroller and Assistant Comptroller, Enforcement, respectively,  Seme Command, at the instance of Muhammed Uba Garba,  the Area Comptroller, were said to have  been trailing  a gang of notorious  textile smugglers around the Seme and Owode Creek axis  through a Close Circuit Television, CCTV. The duo had kept it  a closely guided secret to avid the information filtering out to the hearing of the smugglers who  may divert to another route  porous gun state. Note that there about 84 unapproved routes in the state going  by Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, records which makes it a haven for smugglers.

The Value News walked into Adahnse, the Seme Command ,Deputy Comptroller’s office on Tuesday, June 18, 19,to lodge a complaint over the activities of his officers along the Lagos -Seme  road based on reports from travellers, but was forced to leave  immediately when the Magazine found that his attention was concentrated on the CCTV. ”I cannot talk to you now as you can see  we are very busy watching the CCTV, to track smugglers of textile materials into the  country through the Creek”. The Magazine  took the opportunity to cite the smugglers  through the CCTV, and what obtains at the temporary  trailer park provided for agents t keep their importers transit cargoes  at the Seme-Krake Joint Border post.  

  Given the  importance attached to the operation to dispossess the  smugglers of the smuggled textile materials which was   imported from the Asian country of China , through Cotonou  seaport, Republic of Benin,  Adahunse and his next in Command in the Enforcement Unit ,were said to have occupied themselves watching the CCTV, to effectively  monitor  the movement of the smugglers with their cargo in the Creek. Muhammed, the Command Area Comptroller, was said to have charged the Command Enforcement officials to ensure that  the operation did not fail as that might count against the Command  anti-smuggling operations and to further convince Hammed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and the Comptroller General,  who has been much worried the Muhammed, who has been known for making spectacular seizures when he was the  Comptroller of Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, has lost the steam at Seme Command.

Muhammed Uba Garba: Comptroller Seme Command

The Seme Customs Comptroller may have taken advantage of the recent official t visit of the Customs Comptroller General  to the Command to make bold Statement  the anti-smuggling in fire in him has not not burnt out but have been intensified that smugglers operating with the Seme and Owode out station cold no longer bear as many of them have been forced to go underground, particular the vehicle and foreign parboiled  rice smugglers.  It was gathered that when the  textile materials smugglers  found out that the game was up,  they made several attempts to return to their base at Republic of Benin but it was too late.

 The difficulty in returning to their base at Republic  of Benin may have forced them to change tactics to beat  Seme Customs personnel to it.  They got it wrong as Adahunse, the Seme Command , Deputy  Deputy Comptroller, who has been on the matter, was busy monitoring  them through the CCTV. Convinced that they have been boxed to a corner and there is no escape route for them, he  has positioned his men at all strategic  locations  along the along the Owode-Seme route in readiness to strike.

When the coast became clear, the Customs Deputy Comptroller  who was in touch with the patrol team  leader was said to have given them the nod to move  into the Creeks and do  the needful by the dispossessing the smugglers of the smuggled textile materials without a loss of life.

  Aware of the implication of not intercepting the items from the smugglers, the team members who were watched closely  monitored  by Adahunse, through the CCTV, during the operation, in a commandoes- style had swooped on the  smugglers who quickly abandoned the items and took to their heels.

  The fallout was that that the team that went for the operation dispossessed the smugglers  of 175 pieces of textile materials , which the Valuation Authority put at about N2.2 million.

The seizure may have won emboldened  the Seme Customs Comptroller  to stand before Ali ,the Comptroller General to welcome him to the Command on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, as he has spectacular  seizures  to show to him and also give him an insight about the revenue profile of the Command  between March -June 19, 2019.

 Eye witness account said  the Customs Comptroller General listened with rapt attention as Muhammed, the Seme  Customs Comptroller  reeled out the figures which may have convinced  him that the anti-smuggling operations have taken a new dimension going by the seizures  that had had been made in a week.  An elated Customs Boss was said to have urged Muhammed and his officers to sustain the tempo of the anti-smuggling operations  to enhance trade facilitation.

Many believe that the Seme Customs Comptroller may have won himself back to heart of the Comptroller going by what he saw on ground at Seme.  While the Command has intensified the anti-smuggling war in its area of Jurisdiction, importers with their agents  are no longer  finding it with funny with the planned introduction  of the European Union installed fixed scanners  at the joint Border post for scanner of trucks ladden cargoes.  Reliable sources informed The Value News that officers that  would manner the scanners in reading the  images had been trained  for it. This would save the Command from the troubles of physical examinations of cargoes which agents claimed  are time wasting.

In a related development , Abdullahi Musa, Comptroller, Seme Tin-can Island Command , described as a workaholic in Customs Circles,  and his officers have refused to be blackmailed by agents  who were said to had lodged Complaints of multiple alerts , in the Command to KC.Ekekezie  as they insist that the right thing must be done.

investigation by the Magazine shows that the  agents are getting worried of the alerts as most of them are used to  doing ”bad jobs”  and are not ready to change.  Many believe that with the alerts , ma of them would have escaped with their bad jobs and thus ,short change the government .  Insiders informed  the Magazine  that the alerts had helped the Command Enforcement Unit Headed by Dera Nnadi, a Deputy Comptroller,to make spectucular seizures, particular , tramadol, a dangerous pharmaceutical product for the Command.  The alerts , was also said to helped Mahmood  Ibrahim, an Assistant Comptroller, in-charge of the Command Compliance Unit, to recover billions of  naira for the government through issuance of Demand Notice, DN, to importers caught in the act through their agents. It iss not surprising why most agents  who have to go through the Compliance Unit to take delivery of their  cargoes are scared because of the thoroughness of Ibrahim,  described as a revenue wizard in Customs circles, in scrutinising their documents to get to  the last details of the imports.

 Those who  have been found guilty, would never forget their experience in a hurry. There was an instance where a female agent was  said to have threatened to collapse in the in the Compliance Unit, under the close watch of Ibrahim, because of the DN , that was given to her.  She had expected the Assistant Comptroller to show some consideration to her by reducing it but got it wrong.  This is because the Assistant Comptroller had insisted that she must  the DN, as a deterrence to others  who might want to  do bad jobs


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