Customs: Fraudulent Importers, Agents And Smugglers Cry Out In The South West As FOU And CGC, Strike Force Personnel Run After Them

By Stephen Ubanna

In spite of the fact that for much much of October, 2020, there was no much  job  carried out by the Comptroller General of Customs Strike Force, CGC, Strike Force , Lagos, Zone A Office, under the close watch of Adamdu Shuaibu, a Deputy Comptroller,  information pieced together by The Value News  shows that  for the two weeks that the adhoc Team had worked from the protest , it had intercepted and seized millions naira worth of goods and recovered an undisclosed amount of money for the government.

The CGC StrikeForce could  do all that much because it had  adopted a  new strategy of  not making noise in its operations but  relying on Credible  reports from informants and Service Surveillance AN  Team. The Magazine gathered that the Shuaibu, the Coordinator of the Squad , gets the cargo manifest of the importer in advance which gives him an insight into what is contained in the Container. Suspected Containers were said to have been blocked and subjected to  100  percent Examination in the presence of the iporter’s agent  at Ikorodu Lighter Terminal, ILT.

Perhaps, to make the job of the Examination officers easy, the  CGC,  Deputy Comptroller, was said to have stationed some officers  on ground in order to have insight on the movement of cargoes in and out of the  terminal that would guide him in taking the appropriate actions to deal with the fraudulent importers with their agents.

Block Stacked Cargo Containers At Tin can Island Port

An Agent who spoke to The Magazine  disclosed that he and others  happy fell very happy to pay any  Demand Notice, DN,  slammed on them by the Customs  Coordinator  because  he has  Diplomatic way of way that would convice  you to the DN,  without Complaining or begging for some Concesssions. Moreso, the agents have come to realize that as intermidiaries between the importer and the agent, they must not be seen  as being the ones  sabotaging the economy  but facilitating the growth of the economy.  An insider  described what is happening currently at the Team operational base  at the Customs Training College, Ikeja, as e-Enforcement of Customs Operations  in action.

 With the return of normalcy to the economy, Shuaibu, and his boys were said to have restrategised on how to deal with the fraudulent importers with their agents operating  at the Lagos seaports of Apap, Tin can Iand, Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, and KiriKiri Lighter Terminal, KLT. This may have forced smuuglers operating at the south west states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo to go underground  .

Only reently, the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zoe A, under the close watch of Usman Yahaya, Operations and Lagos Roving Tem, headed by Jack Okpabi, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs, mobilized his  boys, to raid the Seme axis, a border Community and Benin Republic to Compliment the efforts of Mohammed Jibo, the  Seme Area Comptroller’s anti-smuggling officers on the road and in the bush to hunt for the Contraband  and petrol smugglers.

The  smugglers operating in the area may have known that the no nonsense Jack’s boys who are like  wounded lions  have been released  for operation that they were forced to go into hiding. It was gathered that troghout the night of Monday, November 9, 2020 and  early morning of Sunday, November 10, 2020, the Jack’s fierce looking  anti-smuggling officers combed the Seme Jurisdictions in search of the die had economic saboteurs in their hideouts but they had had  gone under ground.

 It is on record that between January and Spetember 31, 2020, the Yhaya led FOU, Zone A, operations and Lagos Roving. Patrol and Survelliance Teams staioned in different parts of the south west had made aseizure of goods worth over N17.4 million stored at the Command controlled Government Warehoue and Mechanical Workshop turned  ware ouse at Ikeja, amidst tight security.

The Jack led Operations and Lagos Roving Team, regarded ,  as the Flagship of the Command  and  some other Teams  were aid to have also  intercepted some Containrised cargoes over alleged infration of government  Fiscal policies ranging from wrong Classification, Under declaration to underpayment, which were transferred to the Command premises for 100 physical Examination, revalued and DN, issued to the importer through the agent. Available records shows that the Command had recovered about N1.6 for the government, the highest  amount of lost revenue  to be recovered  for the government  in the government by  any Customs Formation in the recent time.

Some Of The Vehicles intercepted By The FOU , Zone A , Within The Year

The FOU, Zone A, acting Comptroller, may have taking seriously the issue of recovery of lost revenue giving the mandate  given to him by Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller , NCS, to ensure that all areas of  revenue leakages were blocked , in addition  to  giving the smugglers of prohibited items  and other dangerous drugs, like Tramadol and Codein, both Pharmaceutical drugs,  and India hemp, which is believed to be grown in the West African country of Ghana   a fight  in the interest of the country’s national security.  

Maritime analysts believe that with the Contraband seizures and lost revenue  that had been recovered  for the government in the last 10 months, Yahay ahad sent a message to the smugglers, fraudulent importers  with their agents that it is  not going to be as usual for them in the remaining two months of the year.  The message was very clear: to desist from sabotaging the economy or be prepared of facing the dire Consequence of losing both the cargo and money to the government or going to jail if caught in the act. Incredible.

Those who may have thought of seeing the Intercepted Containers that had been transferred to the Command premises from the port Environment, parked on the street leading to the Training College would be disappointed.

This is because all the Intercepted Containers exited from the ports had been taken into the Mechanical Workshop, turned Warehouse for safe keeping,

Note that Shuaibu, Coordinator, CGC, Strike Force, Lagos Zone OFFICE, who incidentally was a One time Deputy Comptroller, overseeing the FOU , Zone A, Administration and Personnel, Department, had succeeded in creating a space for such intercepted Containers transferred to the premises, instead of parking the trucks laden Containers on the road to cause obstacles for motorists.

This may have forced the Area Comptrollers at Tat the Customs Commands of Apapa, Tincan Island ,PTML and KLT, to intensify their  anti-smuggling drive  at the Lagos port to ensure Compliance by importers and agents  to avoid giving  rom to Yahaya,  acting Comptroller, FOU, Zone A and Shuaibu,  Coodinator, CGC, Strike  Force, to mess up their work by intercepting Containers or vehicles , exited from the ports.

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