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Customs:Patrol Teams Struggle For Supremacy Over Seizure Of Contraband

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

The struggle for supremacy and control of the south west geopolitical region in the anti-smuggling war between various  Patrol Teams from The Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Border Drill sect 1  and the Comptroller General  of Customs, CGC, Strike Force, Lagos Zonal office, appear to be producing spectacular results.

 The struggle which  became  more  pronounced  between  March 4th, 2020,  and now, had seen the   Patrol  Teams tried to outsmart each other to make spectacular Contraband seizures. Usman Yahaya , a Deputy Comptroller and now Acting Comptroller, FOU, Zone A, may have rejig the Command Operations and Patrol Teams  in order sustain its anti-smuggling drive in the region.

 Note that   he had   established  a new, Special Weapons and Tactical  Team, SWATT, Headed by one Ogan, a Chief Superintendent of Customs  to compliment the efforts of the Command Lagos Roving Team Headed by Riks Lura , also  a Chief Superintendent of Customs  in checking  the fraudulent importers with their agents at the Lagos seaports  and Bonded Terminals. He was said to said to have given a bite to the Patrol Teams by changing of  some of the Team leaders and replacing them with new ones.

 Many believe that  the  Acting Comptroller Yahaya  overhaul  of the Command Patrol Teams  may have  given the new Team leaders the opportunity to go back to the drawing board  to  re-strategise  on how to deal with the smugglers  in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states.  They  may  have known that they could not afford to fail the Area Comptroller who had bestowed much confidence in them, notwithstanding other Patrol Team from the Border Drill and CGC Strike Force, competing for the seizure of the same  smuggled Contraband in the region.

Note that in the last  two  weeks, the Adba Kakud,  an  Acting Deputy Comptroller and Coordinator of  the CGC Strike Force, Lagos Zone, may have dominated the  anti-smuggling  Operations in the region  that the FOU, Zone A, and the Border Drill sector 1, Patrols Teams  were gasping for  breath.

The situation was  so worrisome that the FOU, Zone A, Acting Comptroller, FOU, Zone, may have been  forced to take advantage of their weekly Tuesday  Management meetings to read the riot act to the Patrol Team leaders  to sit up. The Team  leaders may have read his lips that they were forced to  reach  out to their informants  for support. The fallout was that within one week of their  different  operations , the Command various Patrol Teams, intercepted 2,154 cartons of poultry products  loaded into seven different vehicles.

Yahaya  noted that with the seizure,  the Command had sent a message to the smugglers operating the south west that  it is no longer going to be business as usual. Giving  an insider information, he  disclosed that  Steven Abah, a Chief Superintendent of Customs,  made the highest seizure of 500 cartons in a swoop, The Acting Comptroller, revealed that the smugglers had  abandoned the vehicles  loaded with the Poultry  products when they cited  Customs personnel armed to the teeth coming after them . They were  said  to have disappeared with the vehicle ignition keys into the  bush , forcing the Yahaya boys  to improvise means of driving  the intercepted vehicles with their contents to the Command premises.

FOU Patrol Team Intercepted Poultry Products

Aware that it is a perishable item, the FOU, Zone A, Area Comptroller may have contacted  officials of  the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDC,   to witness the burial of the Contraband.  Eyewitness account said the smugglers may have taken advantage of the increasing confirmed cases of the Coronavirus cases in the country  which  might force  the various  Customs Patrol Teams to keep out of the  road and duty posts  to risk of putting their vehicles loaded with the Contraband  from the operational base in Benin  Republic to into the Nigerian market which fell into the waiting hands of the Teams at various locations.

Many believe that even if the FOU , Patrol Teams , had not made the  Poultry products seizure, either the Border Drill sector 1  or the CGC Strike Force Teams  who are everywhere in Ogun state, or  Oyo axis could have seized it as well. The good news  was that the customs under the current Management Headed by Ali, had made it difficult  for smugglers in any part of the country to  push into the Nigerian market their smuggled goods, particular foreign parboiled rice , Vegetable oil or Poultry products.

 This is because the various Customs Patrol Teams across the country Compliment each.  It is not surprising why the Contraband  that had  miss the eagle eyes of the FOU, personnel, across the country, fell into the waiting hands of  the Border Drill or CGC Strike Force Teams.

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Stephen Ubanna

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