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.
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.
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.