Customs: Post COVID 19, Parade, Compt. Oramalogu, Seeks Support And Cooperation Of Officers To Succeed

By Stephen Ubanna

 When Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service,  NCS, redeployed Ben Nkem Oramalogu,  former Area Controller kebbi Command, in north western Nigeria to Oyo/Osun Command , in south western Nigeria, the dare-devil smugglers who were ravaging the Saki, Iseyin and other borer Communities of Oyo and Osun states knew that they were in for trouble.

They may have heard so much about the Customs Comptroller anti-smuggling efforts in Kebbi state as he was the foreign rice, Vehicles and other Contraband smugglers including drug peddles operating between Nigerian and neighbouring Benin republic were said to have gone underground to study his style of operation before coming out in full force to continue their nefarious activities: smuggling of contraband.

 Many of the smugglers, particular, those  who could not stand reinvigorated  patrol team of the Command, and those at the Surveillance  checkpoints were said to have been   forced to relocate to Kwara and Niger state to continue their illegitimate trade to avoid  playing into Oramalogu’s hands  and end up in prisons on conviction.

The Customs Comptroller, may have sent a signal to the smugglers that he has come to tame their activities in the two states under his jurisdictions as much of routes used by the smugglers around the Saki, Iseyi axis  and other notorious border routes , particular, in Oyo state ,  were said to have been effectively put under control.

 This is evident as the Command had intercepted 60 sacks and 150 Compressed cannabis sativa, or Indian Hemp, grown in the West African country of Ghana , and smuggled into the country but fell into the waiting hands  of the Oyo/Osun Comand, patrol team officers stationed at strategic locations in the the two states.

 The intercepted cannabis sativa, had weighed 1,248 Kg. The Command was said to have also intercepted 1,248 bags of 50 Kg each of the Asian country of Thailand par boiled rice and Indian par boiled agricultural rice within the first one month of Compt. Ooramalogu, overseeing anti-smuggling operations in the Oyo/ Osun Command.

Even fraudulent importers with their agents who were used to cutting corners to shortchange the Government in payment of the import duties and other fees were aid to have also been made to fall in line as all areas of revenue leakage exploited by them in the past were blocked.  The Command was said to have collected and paid into the Federation Account  N11, billion, within the period, described as the highest to be achieved  in two months over the last five years in the Command.

Maritime Analysts had expected the Customs Comptroller, who is used to introducing himself as ‘’I am, Compt. Ben Nkem Oramalogu, whenever he gets a call  as a way to intimidate the caller but may have been disappointed as he could not do that to the Value news  online Magazine who forced him to speak out during the phone chart.  

Given the impressive track record he had set at the Osun/Osun Command, within the first eight months of calling the shots as the Area Controller of the Command, may have informed why analysts had expected him to maintain the same record in the subsequent months of May and June, 2024.  

Compt. Oramalogu, and another senior officer, heading to parade ground at Command premises in Ibadan

Signs that the Command may not have made much seizure,   to show in its anti-smuggling operations in the month of May and early June, 2024, began to show when he came back from attending a course at Havard University, in the North American country of the United States, US, on the approval of the Comptrollr General as he was said to have closed the door to Journalists   wishing to pay a working visit to the Command to see things for themselves.

The message was very clear that that the Command anti-smuggling operations has not been as successful in the recent time  as it was in the past six months, meaning that  the unrepentant smugglers have become wiser as they could successfully evade officers on the road with heir smuggled Contraband.

Perhaps, to till be  in the news, may have encouraged the Customs Comptroller who sees himself in the exclusive league   of Comptrollers   Dalha Cheldi Wada,  Hussain Kehinde Ejibuno,  Coordinator of the  tactical team, Operation  Whirlwind , dedicated  to combating  smuggling  of petroleum  products  to neighbouring countries of Republic of Benin, Niger, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroun and Shuaibu Adhmadou Bello, Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit, described as anti-smuggling czars,  to hold  a maiden  parade of the Asian country of China Post COVID 19, epidemic, in the Command  operational Headquarters at Ibadan, Oyo state.

Compt. Oramalogu inspects Post COVID 19, parade of officers in Command Premises at Ibadan

.Officers of the Command who had never witnessed such a parade over the last couple of years may have seen it as a significant occasion to mark the Post COVID 19 event, as they were said to have turned out in their large numbers to participate in the parade which was said to have featured the traditional ceremonial inspection of officers by the Area Controller and quickly followed by a demonstration of’’ the Command’s operational readiness and capabilities’’.

The parade may have given the Custom Controller an ample opportunity   ‘’to outline his vision   and strategic goals for the Command’’. The platform was said to have also provided opportunity for the Area Controller to foster camaraderie among the officers and acquaint them with the various reforms that had been initiated by the present Management of he service under the Leadership of CG. Adeniyi, to reposition the service for improved performance and commitment to its core values of revenue generation, anti-smuggling operations and trade facilitation.

An elated Compt. Oramalogu, who could not hide his feelings, had emphasized ‘’the importance of discipline, professionalism, and dedication to duty’’, noting that as they have embarked on the journey together, ‘’it is imperative that officers and men of the Command uphold   the highest standards of integrity and service without compromise’’.

Officers and men of Oyo/Osun Command, turn out in large numbers for parade

He was said to have repeatedly made it clear to the officers during the Post COVID 19 parade, in the Command premises at the ancient town of Ibadan that the mission of the service remains ’’to facilitate legitimate trade, curb smuggling activities and contribute to the country’s economic growth’’.

The Customs Comptroller was said to  have equally used the opportunity provided by the Post COVID 19,  parade  to have highlighed the  several  initiatives  of his Management team aimed   at ‘’enhancing  the operational efficiency of the Command over the last eight months.

These, he had said include intensified anti-smuggling operations, improved revenue collection mechanisms, and the adoption of modern technologies to streamline Customs clearing processes and documentations. He may have given the officers a cause to be cheery   when he stressed’’ the importance of training and capacity building to keep pace with best global practices’’.

Officers exhibit operational readiness at the Command premises

Kayode Wey, a Superintendent of Customs and the Oyo/Osun Command spokesperson had said that the Area Controller, had express his appreciation   for the cooperation extended to him by the officers and men of the Command    which may have informed why he has pledged   his ‘’unwavering commitment to the welfare and professional development of the officers’’.

The Oyo/Osun Command spokesperson, had said that the Customs Comptroller had used opportunity of the Customs COVID 19, parade   ‘’to call for increased collaboration and Communication within the Command   to address its challenges and leverage on its opportunities to effectively to beat other interventionists units and security agencies to it.

An eyewitness account had said that the Oyo/Osun, Command, maiden POST COVID 19, parade, had been concluded with ‘’a reaffirmation   of the officers’ dedication to their duties   and a renewed sense of purpose to achieve the strategic objectives of the Command.

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