Compt. Musa Tours Illela Border Community, Enforces Government Directive On  Border Closure ; Senator Fadahunsi Spits Fire

By Stephen Ubanna

Barely four months that Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS,   embarked on the working visit to  Illela, a border Community between Nigeria and Republic of Niger and its environs, accompanied by some members of the Management Team , including Comptroller Musa Omale , Area Controller , Sokoto/ Zamfara  and other senior officers of the Command to ensure Compliance to President Bola Ahmed  Tinubu’s directive on the border closure on July 30th, 2023, the Sokoto/ Zamfara Customs Comptroller may have taken the bold  initiative to do a follow up visit to the Illela Border. , The border  closure with Benin Republic was said to have been  aimed at the  restoration  of democracy  and Constitution al order in the neighbouring West African country.

Compt. Omale statement that the unscheduled tour of the Land border areas in the state ‘’is a follow up to the Customs Comptroller General visit to the Illela border Community to ensure full scale compliance to the Presidential directive to the border closure with the West African country of Republic of Niger speaks volume. The Customs Comptroller, who has refused to be intimated by the activities of the trigger hungry members of the Bandits Group in the two north western states may have embarked on the tour the Illela border Community and its environs to give a morale booster to the enforcement officers stationed at strategic locations at the border area to sustain the tempo of their operations.

Compt. Musa Tours Illela Border Community BBetween Nigeria & Republic Of Niger

An elated Comptroller Musa, had said that ‘’since the closure of the Illela and its environs Land border area, the Command had leveraged on intelligence gathering and the residents support to record numbers of spectacular  Contraband seizures including the                      .

The Customs Compt. Who could not hide his feelings had said the impressive Contraband that had been made by the Command between July 30th, 202 and now became more pronounced with the introduction of ‘’the additional layer of enforcement that had been put in put place in  Sokoto and Zamfara states’’, meaning that if the smugglers  could beat one Customs patrol Team on the road, they not be lucky to do so with another unknown Team   stationed along the border routes in the two states under its control.

.   He may have taken advantage of the working tour to the Illa outstation and other border Communities within the Command Jurisdiction  to express his appreciation  to other security agencies personnel in the state , including  the Force personnel in Sokoto and Zamfara states for their support  to ensure that  foreign par boiled rice and other Contraband prohibited in the country’s policy did not enter into the country from the neighbouring Niger or Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular , smuggled into  the neighbouring Niger from Nigeria.  

Compt. Omale: Area Controller, Sokoto/Zamfara Command

Compt. Musa was said to have also extended his appreciation to the importers with their clearing agents at the Illela border area and other stakeholders in Sokoto /Zmfara states for their patience in taking delivery of their cargoes or continuing with their Legitimate border trade due to the border  closure.   Appealing to the stakeholders and the residents of the Illela border Community and its environs who appear to be losing the patience on a daily  basis  to still exercise more patience, he noted  that  that the Authorities are doing every  to find amicable  solution to the crisis to retore normalcy at the Land border areas in the state. This may have gladdened the  heart of the residents of the Illela border Community, particular, who would want the security agencies personnel in the state to further tighten up security in the border Community to ward off the  Criminal elements  to enhance trade facilitation  which is one of the core responsibilities of the Service, besides collection of revenue  from dutiable goods and anti-smuggling operations.

Senator Fadahunsi: Chairman Senate Committee On Customs

In a related development, Francis Ade Fadahunsi, a retired Assistant Comptroller General of Customs,  regarded in Custant Comptroller,ACG,   of Customs and Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairmam Senate Committee  and other security agencies on Customs  had recently  accused the Customs personnel  at the nation’s Land border  areas, particular, Idiroko axis in Ogun, home state of  former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Katsina, home state of the immediate past Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari  of misusing  firearms.

 Snator Fadahunsi led Customs Committee on Customs were said to have asked the Customs Authorities and heads of other security agencies to reduce the multiple checkpoints in the Buhari’s home state to enable  free flow of goods and services  in and out of the  border Communities in the state.    The Ogun I, Command  may have tackled the issue of multiple checkpoints  at the Idiroko axis, as it has been reduced   from 32 to five as a way to enhance trade facilitation.

The Senate Committee on Customs members were said to have also taking a cursory look   on the alleged  issuance of  ‘’unofficial  receipt, at the Katsina Command under the close watch of Compt. Mohammed Umar Abubakar,  on imports and exports urging Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General  ‘’to investigate  and review  the activities of  the  traders  and non- traders  at  the Jibia  and Mai’adua border Areas  in the state. 

Recall that when the allegations of misuse of firearms against Customs personnel at the nation’s land border areas filtered into the ears of the Customs helms last  September, could not take it.  The Customs Comptroller General had told those that cares to listen that  ‘’If Customs anti-smuggling have killed innocent persons through ‘’unprofessional handling of firearms in the past’’, it will no longer be the case under his Leadership.

The Custom boss may have gladdened the heart of the residents of the border Communities with the neighbouring Benin Republic, Niger and the Central African country of Cameroun when he declared at the passing -out parade  of the  2023, junior officers  recruit  course held at  Customs Training School, Gorn-Dutse, Kano state last August, that’’ shooting of  innocent Nigerians  due to  lack of  sound training is over  and has gone forever  and will not be repeated under his Leadership’’.

According to him, Customs recruits, who mostly handle weapons during operations at the various interventionist units across the country have been properly trained in weapons handling., and charged to obey the rule of engagement and protect the lives of Nigerians   rather than kill any person in the discharge of their duties.

 Rasheed Adahunse, who was said to have been involved in training the new recruits into the service had said that ‘’the training of the recruits covered enforcement, revenue, valuation, export and import procedures  among others’’.

Many had expected the Senate Committee on Customs to address he continuous killing of Customs personnel around the border area across the country by the economic saboteurs instead of accusing Customs personnel of misusing firearms or the Customs Authorities on the Area Controller to remove. This year alone, Federal Operations Unit, under the close watch of  DC.  Hussain Kehinde Ejibuno had lost one or two   officers on anti-smuggling operation  to the  trigger-hungry smugglers who are being aided by the youths of the border  Communities for their own pecuniary gains..  The killing of Customs personnel by alleged smugglers became more pronounced became pronounced became 2010 and much of 2023, that Hameed Ali, a retired  army and erstwhile Comptroller General of  the NCS, could  not longer as he was said to have advised  the service enforcement officers on operation to defend themselves whenever their lives are in danger.    

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