CG. Adeniyi, Evokes New Strategies To Strengthen Operations Of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS

 By Stephen Ubanna

  Between December,2023, and now, there have been rumour making the rounds that the Management of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS,  under the close watch of  Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR,  had  redeployed the trio of  Comptrollers. Hussein Ejibunu, Area Controller Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos , Kayode Kolade,   his Counterpart at the FOU, Zone C,  Owerri , Imo state , south eastern Nigeria and Shuaibu Ahmadou Bello, Area Controller, Ogun I, Idiroko, in Ogun, home state of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as part of efforts to strengthen its operations.

The rumour became pronounced when information filtered out that Compt. Ejibunu, had been redeployed to the Customs Headquarters, Auja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and to be succeeded by Compt. Shuaibu, who has made a name for himself over the last six months he had been at the helms of affairs at Ogun I, Idiiroko, Command, in the home state of former President Obasanjo.

Compt. Ejibunu: former Area Controller, FOU, Zone A, kaja Lagos,redeployed to the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, FCT

Informed sources at the Customs Headquarters had told The Value News that the changes at the Area Controllers level was to be effected last January but the Customs Comptroller General, described as a strategic planner in Customs circles was said to  have observed some lapses that needed to be corrected. The source disclosed that he had recalled all the deployment papers which was said to have also introduced some fresh hands to strengthen the service anti-smuggling operations.

The Customs Comptroller General may have taken advantage of the Rammadam festival to effect some some changes in the earlier redeployment exercise that was said to have been released to give a shocker to the smugglers who may have restrategised on how to go about their nefarious activities to beat the new Area Controllers posted to the various Interventionist Units across the country. 

Indeed, the Customs Comptroller General, may have given a real shocker to the smugglers operating between the south Western states of Ogun, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo, and the neighbouring West African country of Benin Republic, when he introduced one Compt. Oladeji, described as an unpopular name in Customs circles, to replace Ejibunu, who had called the shots at the FOU, Zone A, over the last two and half years. 

An insider   told The online Magazine that the south western geopolitical region based smugglers may be in for trouble as Compt. Oladeji will send many of them out of business as they could not predict him, let alone have access to him through their cronies pretending to be genuine businessmen.

A resident of Oja Odan Community described as a home base of the most dreaded factional smugglers’ Group Leaders in Yelwa North Local Government Area of Ogun state who have never found it easy moving their heavy trucks loaded with the Asian country of Thailand Parboiled rice disguised as’’ Headquarters cargoes’’ into the market northern region are licking their wounds over the redeployment of Compt. Shuaibu to FOU, Zone B, Kaduna.

Compt. Shuaibu,, Of Ogun I, Idiroko, moved to FOU, Zone B, Kaduna to tame smugglers

The major worry of the Oja Odan smugglers was that Compt. Shuaibu who had made things difficult for them to operate freely  by blocking all the  illegal routes  used by them to carry out their nefarious activities would  further tighten up the noose against them as he relocates to FOU, Zone B, Kaduna, to replace the no nonsense Compt. Dalha Sheldi Wada, who had been redeployed to the Customs Headquarters for a higher responsibility.  

Note that as the new Area Controller of FOU, Zone B, Kaduna, Compt. Shuaibu,’s tentacles extends to the seven north western states of Kaduna, Katsina, home state of former President Buhari, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa and Kano including the north central states of Benue, Plateau, Kwara, Niger, home state of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, rtd, a former Nigerian military President, Kogi and Nasarawa including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

Vice President Kashim Shettima, who incidentally was a former governor of the north eastern state of Borno, may have given Compt.Shuaibu, an insight on how to go about the Command anti-smuggling operations, when he disclosed that at Illela, a border, Community, between Nigeria and Niger Republic, it has 32 illegal smuggling routes for smuggling Contrabands and food items from Nigeria into the West African country market.

The former Borno state governor had given an instance   that in just three nights alone, 45 trucks   loaded with maize were caught being transported to the neighbouring countries of Benin, Niger and Cameroun by various Customs patrol teams and other security operatives. This should spur Compt. Shuaibu into action. 

Those who knew Compt. Shuaibu at a close range and his exploits at the defunct Customs Comptroller General, Task Force, and Team A, Lagos, had said that he is equal to the task to smoke out the smugglers from their hideouts in the northern states border Communities and its environs under his jurisdictions without any exchange of bullet as he had done in his previous Ogun I, Command, Idiroko.

Although the Customs Comptroller has not yet reported at the FOU, Zone B, Kaduna office, a senior officer who spoke to the online Magazine online on condition of anonymity disclosed that the Customs Comptroller already knew that he has a big task ahead of him ‘’to frustrate all the smugglers operating   in the Sokoto state  11 districts of Illela  , which include Araba, Damba, Sabon-Gari, Gau  and Kamalo.  Others are Darna Tsolawo, Tozai, Gidan Katta, Gidan Hamma and Rungumawan Gatti.

Described as one of the   insecurity –prone deadly Local government Areas in the Caliphate state, where there is unusual border events, movements and cross-border trading, may embolden the Customs Area Controller  to reenact what he did in Ogun state which has over 90 illegal smuggler routes in the 13 northern states  an FCT, which  are under the FOU, Zone B, jurisdictions to ensure that the right thing is done with the reopening of all the nation’s closed borders with Niger, Mali, and Guinea last March by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

There is no gain saying the fact, the entire north western states and the north central states of Kwara and Niger, which have been described as home of smugglers operating between Nigeria and Niger Republic, in bringing  in Contraband, particular foreign rice, fairly used  vehicles, Vegetable oil, Pneumatic tyres and dangerous drugs such as tramadol, Indian Hemp into the country and in return , smuggle out Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol and cooking gas cylinders among other items, into the Nigerien market may have known that they are in for trouble as Compt. Shuaible will decisively with them.  

CG. Adeniyi, who many believe knows the capability and ability of most of the senior officers who had been in the system with him over the years may have found also Compt.  Igbadi MIC, described as another unpopular officer in Customs anti-smuggling operations   to occupy the big shoe that had been left behind by Compt Kolade at FOU, Zone C, Owerri, where former had given the smugglers operating in the south-south and south eastern geopolitical regions, particular,Akwa Ibom and Cross river states and the Central African country of Cameroon ta battle of their life.

With the near complete overhaul of the major Customs Interventionist units across the country, the Customs Comptroller General may have sent a message to the smugglers operating between Nigeria and the neighbouring West African countries of Benin Republic, Niger and the Central African country of Cameroon that it is no longer going to be business as usual.

Compt. Imam of portHarcourt, II, Command, Onne, moved to Customs Headquarters in the recent shake up

Enough of the Interventionist units. Another major redeployment that was said to have been applauded in both official and unofficial quarters was that of Compt. Babandede Mohammed, who incidentally was a former Area Controller of Lily-Pond Command, to PortHarcourt Area II, Command, Onne, Rivers state to replace Compt. Baba Imam, who has been redeployed to the Customs Headquarters to oversee the Import and Export Seat.

Many believe that Mohammed good works at Apapa Command, when he was the then officer in-charge of the main exit gate, where he had forced many fraudulent importers with their agents to go underground as he refused to be compromised, meaning that Container smugglers at the Onne port are in trouble.   

 Compt. Babandede, may have the leadership of the various Associations of the Agents, particular, the local chapters of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, and the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, at the port to contend with. Described as very influential, the Agents local Associations chapters may resort to blackmail if he proves too tough to bend.

 Compt.Auwal Mohammed, a former Area Controller of the Command and now an Assistant Comptroller General, which qualifies him as a member of the Customs Management Team, and Compt.Mahmud Ibrahim, now rtd, would never forget their experience in a hurry in the hands of the agents who were said to have resorted to blackmail them for refusing to do their biddings. This is where Compt. Babandede would have to shine his eyes to ensure that the right thing is done.

Also redeployed in this shake up of the service by CG. Adeniyi led Customs Management Team, were    Compt. MI.Awe , who takes over  from Compt. M.S. Yusuf  at the Murtala Muhammed  Airport Command, MMAC and  Compt. Bamisaye , who was moved  to Western Marine Command , to strengthen its anti-smuggling operations  that had almost been taken over by the Western Naval Command personnel while Compt. Luka , who had been redeployed to Imo/Abia Command, Owerri, is expected to improve on what he met on  ground at the Command  left behind by Compt. Mohammed Gidado, now retired .   

As a prelude to preparing the younger officers from the rank of Assistant Comptrollers, who still have more years, to stay in the service compared to the other senior or officers who have only between this year and next year to go may have informed why the Customs Comptroller General have intensified the training programme of the officers to bridge the yearning gap.

The zeal at which the younger officers who are taking the training programmes speaks volume. This is one good thing that Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General had done  in less than one year in office to reposition the service that had been acknowledged by the officers both Serving and retireds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *