FOU,Zone B: Compt. Wada Dares Bandits

By Stephen Ubanna

 For those who may not have known Compt. Dalha Wada Chedi, Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone B, Kaduna, overseeing anti-smuggling operations in the north western states of Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa including the north central states of Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, he is a master strategist who is a horn in the flesh of smugglers in the n 12 northern states.

Informed sources told The Value News that from the day he stepped his foot in Kaduna, late 2023, to take assume duties as Area Compt. of FOU, Zone B, importers and smugglers who have had opportunity of interacting with him at Seme and Katsina Commands,   both interventionists units knew that smugglers are  in serious trouble unless they turn a  new leaf and stop sabotaging Nigerian economy. The Customs Comptroller, have left no one in doubt that he can deliver on his mandate as he has taken the  anti-smuggling war to the smuggler hideouts to the dreaded Sokoto, Katsina and Zamfara , which is under the siege of he Bandits group making spectacular Contraband seizures.

The Command’s seizures on 24, January and 3rd February, 2024 speaks volume. Giving an insider iformation,  Compt, Wada, had said that  the Contraband seizure  that was made by the Command on the month of January 24, 2024, was  made through deployment of intelligence .  The smugglers who may have had at the back of their mind that have succeeded in their illegal business of transporting their truck load of Tiger  Nuts   along the notorious  Maigatairi/Malamfatori border route  in Jigawa state   because there  were no signs of FOU, Zone B , Border drills , Zone 4 or the Katsina, Kano and Jigawa officers on the road.  

The smuggler who wassaid to be carrying 179 bags of Tiger Nuts and heading to the neighboring Niger Republic to sale the item because of its strong CFA currency against the naira in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, to sale knew that the game was up when the FOU, Zone B, Kaduna, Patrol eam officers emerged from nowhere to disrupt their movement forcing them to abandon the truck on the road an flee for their own safety without any exchange of bullet.

Again, on February 3, 2024, the operatives of the FOU, Zone B, Unit, who has been giving smugglers -backed Bandits in Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, all in the north western geopolitical region sleepless nights   were said to have arrested three trucks along the Gumel-Kano road in Jigawa state, meaning that the dare-devil smugglers have relocated to Jigawa,  a neighbouring state to Kano to carry out their nefarious activities.

Compt. Wada showcase seized contraband items to the press at Command premises in Kaduna

 The no-nonsense Compt. Wada, who appears to be fighting both smugglers and Bandits turned smugglers had said the Customs Headquarters facilitated the seizure of the three trucks loaded with the contraband items following information shared by intelligence network with the Command in the suspicion that the trucks were conveying prohibited items to Niger.   

 He noted  that in carrying out 100% physical examination of the trucks to ascertain the  actual contents, it was found   to be carrying  5076 cartons of Foreign soap, 703 bales of Foreign second hand clothing,925 cartons of marcaroni, 320 bales of Foreign textiles, and 12 jumbo sacks  foreign used shoes.

The aggressive a FOU, Zone B, anti-smuggling operations, between January 1, and February  16, 2024, was said to have also resulted in the seizure of a truck   along Tsafe-Funtua road in Zamfara state over allege improper   importation. Comptroller Wada, had said that further examination of the truck revealed several other Contraband items which was carrying to Niger Republic. The Contraband items that were said to have been found inside the truck including 75 cartons of expired foreign jolly juice powder and other items .

FOU Zone B, seized expired jolly juice powder

The  Customs Compt. May have shocked Nigerians when he revealed how  Bandits Grop  fighter turned smugglers  are now using dangerous routes  that under the criminal elements control  in Zmfara, described as home state of the Bandits  and Katsina, former President Muhammadu Buhari home state  to smuggle Contraband items into the country  but were resisted by his officers who intercepted them.

The Customs Comptroller, who is determined to crush the smugglers in the 12 states of the Federation under the Command’s areas of Jurisdiction had said that   the Bandits who took advantage of the smugglers’ decision to transport the Contraband items through the forest  near the Batsari region of Katsina state to give them security cover were disappointed as they could not carry out their mission, meaning that there is no hiding place for hoodlums to operate any longer.

 He had revealed  that  the Command  made 27  seizures of different Contraband  items  between January and February 16, 2024 ,  valued at about  N1.9 billion, which he had  attributed  the closure of the border with the  Niger Republic by the Leadership of the Economic Community of West African states , ECOWAS, over the military coup  which truncated democracy in the country.

 Giving an insider information, he  asserted that the border closure which is still in force had  helped the Command  to intensify its surveillance  in all the Land border areas and dangerous  spots  across  the north west and north central geopolitical zones  of the country to  checkmate the activities of the activities of the Bandits turned Bandits.

Compt. Wada who is prepared to tell Nigerians about the smuggling activities in the northern states of the Federation under the Command’s jurisdiction had said that ‘’the borders were excessively permeable’’, thus posing a threat for the Interventionist Unit surveillance, in areas where the Bandits, operate, particular, in Sokoto, Zamfara , Katsina and Kebbi states.

 This may have informed why the FOU, Zone B, led Customs Command, which is basically an interventionist unit, is collaborating with the Army, under the close watch of Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, and other security agencies to block all illegal routes used by the smugglers backed Bandits in the flashpoint states. The arrest two suspects along  the Kano /Jigawa axis who were detained and later granted administrative bail pending the outcome  of the ongoing investigation on the matter speaks volume.        

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