The Value News

Customs: VIP Petrol Smugglers Weep Over Loss Of 54 Drums Worth About N2.0 Million At Babanna Border Area, To Border Drill , Sector 3, Operatives, In Niger State

 By Stephen Ubanna

The tight security  mounted at Ilesha Baruba, Okuta, Yashkira and Chikanda, and other  Border  Communities  in Baruten local government area  and other border Communities  in kwara state, with Benin Republic, by the Border Drill , sector 3, operatives, appear  to have taken  a toll on the  Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, Petrol  smugglers and their VIP  sponsors.

The  security situation  in the state  is so tight  that some aggrieved petrol dealers  in the state are  no longer finding  it funny as their  complaint  had been whether  Kwara  was  the only state in the north central geo-political  region that have border  communities with the neighbouring West African country of  Benin Republic.

 Investigation by The Value News  shows  that there are several Creeks  scattered  all  over the riverine Border Communities in the state used by the petrol smugglers  to carry out their nefarious trade. Motorists and motorcyclists using the bush path  smuggle jerry cans of 25 litres  each  in the Border Communities to Benin nearb.y Communities for sale. The  eagle  eye Border Drill, sector 3,  operatives appear to have  put the  Jerry cans  petrol business  under control, no thanks to Muhammed Uba Garba, a former Comptroller of Seme Command, and now Zonal Coordinator of the Border Drill sector 3,  who understands every tactics employed  by the  Creek petrol  smugglers from  his experience  at the  Owode-Apa axis in south west Nigeria where he dislodged the smugglers  as many of them  were forced to go underground.

Compt. Muhammed: Zonal Coordinator Border Drill, Sector 3

 The fallout was that the  sale of petrol  in bottles and 5  liter  Jerry cans on the road in major   cities and Towns  in the  West African country  became s an expensive business, forcing the smugglers and their Nigerian and Benin  VIP , sponsors,  to go back to the drawing board,  to devise strategies  of beating  the Muhammmed  led Border Drill sector 3,  based in Ilorin, the Kwara state Capital.

Unknown to  the smugglers and their VIP sponsors  including the   suspected petrol dealers who had been dislodged  from the business  because of the  Hammed Ali, a retired  Army Colonel and Comptroller General, NCS,  directive  closing all filling stations within 20 Km  radius to the Border  Communities  and  which has the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 Ali, the Customs Comptroller General had  told those that cares to listen that the decision was taken to checkmate the smuggling of petroleum Products, particular, petrol, from Nigeria to the neighbouring countries  of Benin, Niger and the Central African country of Cameroon , in order to satisfy the local market.

  Muhammed, the Border Drill sector 3, Zonal Coordinator and his Team members comprising of the lead agency, NCS, personnel, Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, Nigerian Police Force, NPF, Soldiers and the Department of State Security Service,  knew from the onset that, they cannot afford to fail the government for the trust  bestowed  on them  to stop the mess and the  smuggling of the Asian country  of Thailand par boiled  rice and other Contraband into the country.

The presidential disclosure last December of the alleged smuggling of  295 Tankers of  petrol with the active connivance of security agencies  personnel, allegedly involved in the Border Drill sector 3, which was under a different management then, may have  given  the no nonsense  Muhammed, the new Border Drill sector  3, Zonal Coordinator, the ammunition  to beam his search light on the Patrol Team Leader and their Team members to ensure that they do the right thing.

The Team members may have known that anyone suspected to be aiding or abetting the smuggling of petrol across the Border  would be withdrawn from the Team and severely sanctioned by their respective agencies that they have kept to the Presidential mandate of  dislodging the petrol smugglers  across the country Border Communities  with the  neighbouring Border Communities in the north central  geo-political region.

With the total  blockade of the access routes by fierce looking security agencies personnel and policing of the Creeks by plain  cloth security personnel in the Team, the big time petrol, smugglers and their VIP sponsors in Kwara state may have relocated to Niger,  home state of  former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General,  Abdulsalami Abubakar, a retired  General and a Former Head of state, retired, including scores of other retired Army Generals in the state  to continue their illegal  petrol smuggling business. The  Magazine  findings shows that some of them had relocated to the Babanna border  areas of the state because of the anticipated  provision of security for them .

Unknown to them the information had leaked out about their relocation to the state , forcing Muhammed , the Border Drill, sector 3, Coordinator  and a crack Team to  take over the area to ensure that  nothing  leaves or enters the country  from the Border Communities  in the area. According to an Eyewitness account  t he VIP smugglers , who had loaded 54 drums of petrol, in the  buses, in their light trucks  were unlucky to have fallen  into the waiting hands of Muhammed’s  men’s hand on the road.

The source disclosed that they had planned to discontinue the s Journey  to Benin  when  the driver of one of the trucks  received a phone call from the sponsors that the game is up in order  to turn back but it was too late. This is  because  Muhammed Crack Team officers  have taken over  the entire Babanna area that it would be difficult to beat the tight security mounted on the road. They have no option but to continue the Journey.

According  to insider source the petrol smugglers and their VIP sponsors had loaded  54 drums filled with petrol , each, into the light trucks, but were blocked in the untarred with  the Border  Drill sector 3 Patrol vehicle forcing the trucks to a halt.

Flagged Down Truck Loaded With Smuggled Drums Of Petrol By Border Drill Sector 3, Operatives At Babanna Border Area, Niger State

An eyewitness account who witnessed the drama between the Border Drill  sector 3, Patrol, in the untarred road in the Babanna  border of  the  state  had  confirmed to The Magazine,  that one of the light truck drivers who had climbed   down from his truck  knelt down  when he knew the game was up  pleading  for  forgiveness. He was said to have told the officer watching ove him and his Truck that he never knew  where they were taking the  Drums of  petrol  to  but to follow instruction. He was said to have volunteered  some  information which is helping the  ad-hoc  Team in their investigation.

A senior Customs officer who spoke to the  Magazine  disclosed  that the light  trucks and its contents would be forfeited to the government,  going by the Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA, Cap 2004 for Contravening the government Fiscal policy.

A valuation officer who spoke to The Value News described the 54  drums  of Petrol  seizure  found in the intercepted light trucks as one of the biggest to be made by the ad-hoc Team in the  recent time.  The  estimated  value of the seized drums of Petrol was put at about  N2.0 million.

The seizure of the drums of petrol  at the notorious Babanna Border area in Niger state has sent a signal to the petrol smugglers  operating  in Baruten local government  area  Border Communities in Kwara  state,  Katsina Ala, Benue  or the  Babanna Border area, in Niger state, that no Border Community  in the  north central states  are safe  for petrol smugglers and their VIP sponsors  to carry out  their nefarious activities.

Recall that in the last six months , the Headquarter’s Team had intercepted 294, Jerry cans of 21 liters each and 994  drums drums of Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, popular, diesel.   

Stephen Ubanna

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