By Stephen Ubanna
Those who think that with the retirement of Usman Yahaya, the Adamawa state born former acting Comptroller of Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, after his 35 years of service, would give the south west geopolitical region and fraudulent importers with their agents at the Lagos ports room to continue would their nefarious activities would be disappointed.
This is because the dramatis personnel who had helped the former Deputy Controller of Customs at FOU, Zone, to achieve that much in his anti-smuggling operations at the Command are still very much ground to help Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu, another Deputy Comptroller, who was said to have been thrown up by the Hawks in Customs to replace him between Tuesday, September 7 and September 9, 2021. The former FOU, zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, at the last minute.
In his farewell address to the officers, before he finally bowed out from the service on Friday, September 10, 2021, acting Comptroller Yahaya’s expression of gratitude to the officers and men of the Command for their’’ unflinching support and Cooperation towards the success of his Administration’’ speaks volume. He may have sent a message to the D.Ejibuno that he needs to work closely with the officers and men of the Command to succeed in your Administration.
Until his retirement , he had always made it a bi-monthly routine to showcase the spectacular Contraband seizures that had been made by the Command ranging from the Asian country of Thailand and the North American country of Vietnam produced foreign par boiled rice, Vegetable Oil, Poultry products, West African country of Ghana grown India Hemp, Premium Moor Spirit, popular, petrol, second Hand clothing and tyres, including vehicles.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari , a retired Army general had banned the importation of Foreign rice and vehicles , through the Land border, across the country on January 1, 2017, which may have opened the floodgate for DC. Yahaya now retired, and his officers ,to give the smugglers and fraudulent agents at the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tin can Island, Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, and the Bonded Terminals , scattered all over Lagos, a nightmare for the over one year , he had spent at the FOU,zone A.
Given his involvement in the selection of DC. Ejibunu, who incidentally, was the Commander, of the CGC, Strike Force Headquarters CGC Strike Force Team, to replace him, may have informed why he has enjoined the officers to extend the same level of support and Cooperation given to him to his successor in order to succeed.
Describing DC.Ejibunu as a very ‘’vibrant officer’’, who had worked in all the six geo-political regions of the country since 1991, that he has joined he service including working at Tin can Island port , where he was the DC. In-charge of Enforcement, he has prayed for him ‘’to succeed in the new assignment’’.
Given his experience at the FOU, zone A, where he had served over the last one year, Yahaya, who set a track record at the Command, which had made Hameed Ali, a retired army Colonel and Comptroller General of the NCS, to describe him as the best Enforcement officer, the service has ever produced, may have informed why he has advised Ejibuno, who bears , both Hausa and Yoruba, names, with a Kogi state father, ‘’to run an inclusive Administration’’ . He believes, if that the Customs Deputy Comptroller, could do that, he will win the loyalty of the of the officers and ‘’the possibility of surpassing the successes he had made in the Command’’ would be guaranteed.
He was said to have told the officers, comprising of the Heads of unit and the Patrol Team Leaders, at the Management Meeting the on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, ‘’to utilize their intellect by making positive contributions that would take the service to greater heights’’. The officers, particular, the Patrol Team, Leaders, may have gotten the message and were said to have pledged their loyalty to whoever would be appointed the Area Comptroller of the Command. As at then, DC. Ejibuno’s name, has not been dropped as his successor, because of the high class politicking going on at the Headquarters to select a suitable successor in order to sustain the tempo of anti-smuggling operations in the Command.
Drawing from the speech of late John F. kennedy, popular, JFK, the former President of the North American country of the United States, US, who said to the people, ‘’Do not think of what America would do for you but what you will do for the country, he has urged the officers ‘’not to think of what to gain from the service but what to do to for the service to grow’’, pleading with them ‘’to put in their best in the job’’.
Many had expected Ejbunu, to take advantage of the change of the brief handover ceremony at the Comptroller’s office, to speak out about his agenda for the Command but he was silent, thus, giving room to DC. Yahaya, his predecessor, to dominate the talks. This may have been because of the circumstances that led his deployment from the Headquarters CGC Strike Force, Team, to the FOU, Zone A, which may not have given opportunity to articulate his programme of action.
A senior Customs officer who spoke to the Value News on condition of anonymity, had said that DC. Ejibunu , who has resumed as the Area Comptroller, of FOU, Zone, may have to watch it as the same hawks who had facilitated his redeployment to the Interventionist unit are still there to work for his removal if he fail to live up to expectation.
But an informed source told the Magazine that with the likes of Jack Okpabi, an Assistant Comptroller and the Command Head of Operations and Lagos Roving Team have been very instrumental in making of much of the seizure that announced the former Administration, described as a fierce Enforcement officer in Customs circles, DC. Ejibunu who many believe was a master strategist when he was the DC. In charge of the FOU, Zone C, Benin, outstation, in the south s-south state of Edo, where the station on a weekly basis , made spectacular, seizures, as the Government warehouse in the city was always filled to the brim with seized Contraband and the premises littered with second hand vehicles.
Looking calm, he was said to have assured those close to him that he has come’’ to work at FOU, zone A’’, to sustain the tempo of anti-smuggling operations’’. Note that he has the Border Drills, zone 1 and CGC Strike Force , Team A, under the close watch of Deputy Shuabu, also covering the entire south west and the Lagos ports to contend with in the seizure of Contraband and recovering of lost revenue , which could have entered into private pocks into government purse. It is not surprising why maritime analysts have advised him to think beyond Abuja and its environs, when he was in-charge of the Headquarters CGC Strike Force ,Team, in order to succeed.
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