Anti-smuggling: Comptroller Adamu Dares Bandits In Niger and Kogi States

 By Stephen Ubanna

 When Mohammed Uba Garba, popular, UBA, an Assistant Comptroller General OF Customs, and one-time Coordinator, National Border Drill, Zone 3, overseeing, Kwara, Niger  and  Kogi, states  was redeployed to Customs Headquarters, in 2020, smugglers using camels,  motorbikes  to smuggle illicit goods,  through the bush paths with the support of armed bandits from Niger Republic,  Mali, Burkina Faso and their Nigerian Collaborators,  in Niger,  home state of  Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General  and a former Nigerian President, heaved a sigh of relief. This is because the hen Comptroller Garba, gave them tough time.

The dire hard smugglers operating along  the border communities    of Kaima, Jebba,  Mokwa, Wawa, Babanna, and Kotangora axis in the Babangida home state, who were not scared of his successor or the past Comptrollers of the Niger/Kogi Command   were determined  to carry out their nefarious activities of smuggling subdised imported petrol from Nigeria to Beninois market and in turn, smuggle Thailand produced par boiled rice  imported through the Autonmous port of Benin, Cotonou, fairly used vehicles and other contraband items including Cartridges into the Nigerian  Market.

Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel may not have seen any need to deploy   enough officers and men to the Niger/Kogi Command, particular, to sustain the anti-smuggling war, with the Niger/Kogi Jurisdictions, because of the security challenges as the bandits aiding the smugglers to carry out their nefarious activities of smuggling  Contraband into the country  through the various porous borders in the state were  everywhere in the forest.  

The situation in Niger state may not be different from what is happening in Katsiana, Buhari state, where Comptroller Chedi Wada, is having a running battle with the smugglers who are also being supported by bandits from Niger Republic, Mali,  Mauritania and the Central African country of Cameroon.

The bad situation in the Niger border Communities of Babbanna , Kaima and other areas, because of  the activities of the Bandits , who are collaborating with the smugglers, may have encouraged Comptroller Abubakar Mohammed Adamu, who was said to have made smugglers a laughing stock in the south west states of Ogun, Lagos, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti, when he was the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone  a, Lagos Roving Team .

This is because he had  effectively used  the officers and men of the Command  under his control to  dispossess the smugglers of their exotic  vehicles and thousands of Thailand  par boiled rice, 50Kg each including Premium Motor Spirit, popular , Petrol.  Abdullahi Adamu, an Assistant Comptroller, who was said to be one of the arrow head of the Adamu led Team and now an Assistant Comptroller, is the head of  the FOU, Zone A, Roving  Team, doing exactly what  he did during the Adamu era to the admiration of Deputy Comptroller Kehinde  Hussein Ejibuno, the Command  acting Comptroller  over the last six months.

Comptroller Adamu, according to an informed sources may not have allowed the poor staff strength  of the Command  to discourage the various  Patrol Teams  from doing their job of suppressing smuggling as he has   dared the bandits giving support to the smugglers by seizing their goods.

Comptroller Adamu, may have shocked many when he disclosed that despite the high level of Banditry activities in Niger state particular, the Command has made a total Contraband seizures of 110 in the last three months. This is in addition to the detention of several exotic vehiclesand  920 Jerry cans of petrol of 30 litres each or 23,000 litres and other Contrabrand  with a Duty Paid Value of N755,3777,866.00.

In spite of the fact that the Command is not is not a revenue generating Command like the Lagos Commands of Apapa, Tin Can Island, Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, PortHarcourt Area II, Command, Onne or the two states having heavy industries where Excise duties could be collected for the government,  the Command was said to have recovered about N75 million for the government within three months of its operations.This is money that should have entered into private accounts in the two states both for the eagle eye of the officers.  

Given an insider information of how this lost government revenue was recovered, Comptroller Adamu had attributed it to ‘’the full operation of the Customs Processing Centre, CPC, and the approved deployment of Post Clearance Audit, PCA, and Valuation officers, from the Customs Headquarters to the Command within a month’’. The Customs Comptroller who could not hide his feelings hinted that the lost revenue was recovered through the issuance of Demand Notice, DN, on guilty traders who had contravened the government fiscal policies through false declaration, Concealment and underpayment and disposal of seized PMS.

Maritime analysts noted that both not for the increased banditry activities in Niger state which share border communities with Niger Republic, the Niger/Kogi Command , under the close watch of Comptroller Adamu, would have generated and paid more money into the Federation account within the three months under review.

They are optimistic that with the efforts being made by Farouk Yahaya, a Lt General and Chief of Army Staff, oAS, and his troops who are being complimented by Air Marshall Olayinka Amao, the Chief of Nigerian Air Force, personnel, using Jet fighters to clear the hinter lands currently being occupied by the bandits, the Command’s monthly drive for recovery of lost revenue for the government and intensified anti-smuggling  operations  that would facilitate the seizure of more contraband in the next couple of months.

Appealing to the unrepentant smugglers and their sponsors to turn a new leaf or be ready to face full weight of the Law, he was said to have directed the Patrol team leaders and their team members  to do everything within their powers ‘’to prevent  illegal entry of contraband including arms  into the country through the inappropriate routes in  the Land border Communities.  

Recall that in 2019, the Niger/Kogi Customs Command   had recovered N1.7 billion lost revenue for the government   which was said to have been to paid into the Federation Account in the first half of the year out of the N3.05 billion target set for it.      

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