Anti-smuggling Operations: Compt. Ojo, Ogun I, Command, Receives Royal Blessings; Gets Sister Security Agencies Backing

By Stephen Ubanna

James Ojo, a Customs Comptroller and Area Controller, Ogun I, Idiroko, Command, overseeing the anti-smuggling operations in the home state of former President Olusegun Obasanjo that has over 90 illegal border routes between Nigerian and neighbouring Republic of Benin may have read the handwriting on the wall that he needed the blessings of the Royal Fathers and Collaboration of the security Chiefs in the state to effective combat smuggling activities in the state.

The Customs Comptroller may have used the over last four months to test the waters in prosecuting the anti-smuggling war in the south western state without identifying with the traditional institution and knowing the other security agencies Chiefs in the state one-on- one to seek their support and collaboration in the state.

Taking a cue from Compt. Shuaibu Ahmadou Bello, a former Area Controller of the Command, who has been redeployed to Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone B, Kaduna, described as the core of the Customs Anti-smuggling operations because of the too many border routes betweenNigeria and neighbouring Republic of Niger.

  Indeed,from  Katsina,home state of former President Muhammadu Buhari, Zamfara, described as a home state of the Bandits Group, Sokoto, which has over 35 illegal routes in Illela, a border Community to Kebbi and the north central states of Kwara and Niger states the story is the same: too many illegal border routes between two West African countries.

Compt. Ooj , who is not ready to give a breather to the smugglers operating between Nigeria and Benin Republic, may have sent a message to the smugglers that it is no longer going to be business as usual as he visits  Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo,   the Alake of Egbaland , and other  prominent traditional rulers  in the Ipokia,  Yewa South, and Imeko Fon   to rub minds and sell his programmes to them.

Compt. Ojo, Commander, 35 Brigade and others in a Group Hotograph

Given an insider information of the Customs Comptroller visits to the traditional rulers and sister security agencies Chiefs in the state, Hammed Oloyede, a Chief Superintendent of Customs, and the Command spokesperson, who is well groomed on the on the job, having worked under two former Area Controllers of the Command in the same capacity, had said that the Ogun I, Area Controller was given a rousing welcome in all the places visited.

At the Oba Gbadebo Plalace,  the Ogun I, Customs helmsman ,  was said to have told the Alake of Egbaland   that the visit to his Kingdom was aimed  at druming his support and to foster  sustainable collaboration   and synergy   to enhance economic growth  along  Nigeria’s border  Communities with  the Republic of Benin ‘’ through intelligence   sharing of information  and collaborative anti-smuggling operations’’.

The Customs Comptroller taking t was said to have taken the opportunity of the visit to the Alake of Egbaland to visit several other traditional Rulers within the Command area of Jurisdictions in the state.      He was said to have expressed deep appreciation for’’ the unwavering support’’ of the traditional rulers to his Administration since he assumed duties last February.

He may have gladened the heart of the Royal Fathers   when he emphasized the   role played by them in effectively’’ sustaining peace, order and security within the border Communities’’.  There had been instances in the past when Law and order had broken down at the Idiroko and Ilaro axis of the state but the quick intervention of the traditional rulers was said to have saved the situation from degenerating. 

This may have informed why Compt. Ojo, had highlighted’’ the importance of leveraging on the traditional institutions’ influence and insights to enhance  border security  to sustain the tempo  of anti-smuggling activities  inherited from his predecessor, Compt. Shuaibu. 

The Ogun I, Area Controller, who is determined to succeed  in his new national assignment,  was said to have had  useful discussions  with the Obas and security Chiefs of the sister  security agencies visited in the state .           

CP, Ogun state hands over a souvenir to Compt. Ojo, Ogun I, Command during a visit, in Abeokuta

 There is no gain saying the fact that the Customs Comptroller recent  engagements  with the  traditional rulers and the security agencies Chiefs in Ogun state underscores  ‘’ the need  for continuous  and robust collaboration  among  the  tradional institution and the sister security  agencies in the  south western state  to be able to address the challenges  posed by  smuggling   and other  cross-border crimes like child trafficking.

The Ogun Customs boss, who may have spoken the mind of Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, the Customs  Comptroller General, was said to have informed the Commissioner of Police  and other security agencies Chiefs visited  that  ‘’by sharing  intelligence, resources and expertise’’ , the Command  and the  agencies  can create  a formidable  front against  those  who seek  ‘’to undermine  the country’s  economic  stability  and national security’’.

Compt.. Ojo, visits FRSC,, Commander , Abeokuta ,

A close observer of the activities of the Command over the last one year, had said that   that the Area Controller’s visit to the traditional Rulers and sister security agencies Chiefs in the state actually ‘’ aligns   with the policy thrusts of the Customs Comptroller General, who had repeatedly emphasized   ‘’the principles of consolidation, collaboration and innovation’’ of his Administration. 

As a prelude to prosecuting the anti-smuggling war this time around without playing to the gallery, Compt. Ojo, who was aid to have reiterated ‘’the Commitment of the Ogun I, Command   to the Comptroller General policy thrusts, had said that that the ongoing engagements with the Traditional rulers and the sister security agencies Chiefs   are really crucial for ‘’fostering a secure and prosperous environment for the people of Ogun state and Nigeria at large’’.

 He was  aid to have also  used the opportunity of the recent  visit to the traditional rulers and sister security agencies  Chiefs ‘’to acknowledge  the strategic importance  of the state ‘s border  Communities with Benin Republic’’  and’’ the need to form  a united front  in combating  smuggling  and  other economic crimes in the state’’.

With the assurance from all the traditional ruler and the security agencies Chiefs visited of ‘’improved working relationship’’ may have emboldened Comptroller Ojo to declared that ‘’the Command will continue to implement intelligent and innovative strategies to safeguard the nation’ land border communities and its environs to promote economic growth’’. 

An informed source had told The Value News online Magazine   that ‘’the responses from all the stakeholders visited by the Customs Comptroller and his Management team were ‘’positive and impressive’’. 

Oba Gbadebo, Alake of Egbaland , Compt. Ojo, and others in a pix during a visit to his Palace

It was not surprising  why an agent had said the Ogun I, Area Controller could decide to go to sleep with all eyes closed  as the  Nigerian Police Force, NPF,,  35 Artillery Brigade  o of  the Nigeria Army , Federal Road Safety Corps  , FRSC, Defence Intelligence  Adency, DIA,  and Nigerian Correctional  Service, NCS, Authorities ,  among others , are o ground to  provide support and c him with the needed support and collaboration  in combating the activities of the smugglers and other economic crimes  in all nooks and cannies of the state.

 Compt. Ojo, who was said to have expressed optimism about the positive outcomes of the visit to the traditional rulers and sister agencies security Chiefs, had told those that cares to listen that it will go a long way ‘’to strengthen the relationships between the service and the sister security agencies .This may have informed why he has called for ‘’the ongoing cooperation, vigilance and commitment to tackling the challenges ahead to be sustained’’.

 The Customs Ogun I, Customs helmsman , who may not be in the class of  the anti-smuggling Czars like Comptrollers Shuaibu, Kehinde Hussain Ejibunu,  a former Area Controller of FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre, and now overseeing the newly established Operation Whirlwind, which has the mandate to stop smuggling of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol, across the nation’s border areas   or Ben Oramalugo,  Oyo/Osun Command , who have established track records in anti-smuggling operation but optimistic that he will  succeed in the Command anti-smuggling operations  in’’ the spirit  of unity , shared purpose and with the support and collaboration of the traditional rulers and sister agencies.  Vintage Ojo.       

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