Economy:FOU Operatives Deal Serious Blows On Smugglers In North West, North Central Regions, Seize  Goods Worth Millions Of Naira  

 By Stephen  Ubanna

 This is not the best of times for smugglers operating in the north western states of Kaduna, Katisina, Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states including the north central states of Niger, Kwara , Kogi and Republic of Niger to bring contraband into Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa .

Given that    Compt. Dalha Chedi Wada, Area Controller, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone B, with its operational base in Kaduna   has a wider areas of coverage in the northern part of the country may have informed why he  has paid much attention  to deploying  the Command Patrol Team officers  to  the notorious  Magamar Jibia, Kogolam  Maiyardua, Bature , Dankama and Birnin  Kuka  including Dadara axis, all border communites in Katsina, home state  of former President  Muhammadu Buhari to compliment the efforts of the resident officers in the state.

Even , Zamfara, described as a home of Bandits which has  over 100 porous border routes  between  Zurmi and Shinkafi Local government areas of the state  that link the country with the neighbouring Niger Republic, also appears to be feeling the impact  of the FOU, Zone B, anti-smuggling operations.

There is no gain saying the fact that  people of Zamfara  state who have  suddenly realized over the last two months  that the free movement of goods and services   to and from  Niger Republic  through these porous border  routes in the  state can no longer be accessed with ease  because of the border closure   arrangement at the instance of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS , which has taken the FOU, Zone B,  anti-smuggling  officers everywhere in the region. Indeed, the Command has stepped up their operations in the north western region to contain the activities of the smugglers who usevehicles and motorbike to carry out their nefarious activities between Nigeria and Niger..

Informed sources told The Value News that Compt. Wada’s men has made the activities of the smugglers a- no- more lucrative business in areas like the Illela border Community that it has become a shadow of Sokoto state and successfully blocked the Lokoja and THE FCT, express Way to make things more difficult for the vehicle smugglers.

 Until Compt. Wada took the bold initiative to deal decisively with the dare- devil smugglers in the Illela Border Community, it was believed to be one of the busiest   and bubbling border Communities in the north western region, but appears to have become a shadow of itself as its Commercial activities have gone down to the lowest level, forcing the Youths who aid and abet the smugglers to cry out for help.

Signs that Compt.  Wada’s men involved in anti-smuggling operations in the north western and north central regions are ready for the smugglers became pronounced   going by the large number of Dangote Industry and BUA cement trucks that are trapped at the Illela border community.

Notwhistanding that the smugglers  operating in the north western states  liaise with  the bandits  to carry out their nefarious activities to prevent  the FOU, Zone B , operatives from doing their job, the Command  was said to have continuously  made several contraband seizures  in different parts of the region , confirming the Customs Comptroller’s  declaration on assumption of office   of going to bring down  smuggling activities in the  north western and north central regions to the lowest level  in partnership with other relevant security agencies  of the government particular, the military.

The Command was said to have made  71 seizures  of 12 different items  in different locations within the north west and north central regions  which many believe   have grave implications  to the health  and safety of Nigerians.  

Given an inside information, Comptroller Wada disclosed that the Contraband seizures which were made on December 15, 2023,  was a fulfilment of his earlier pledge on assumption of office,  that the  Interventionist Unit   will  ensure full compliance   with the government  directives   on the closure of all the land border areas   with the neighbouring Niger Republic to force the military Junta to restore democratic rule in the country.

a truck laden with Container intercepted by FOU, Zone B, operatives along Lokoja-Abuja Expressway

Compt Wada had said that 71 contraband items that had been intercepted by the Command   by operatives of the Command included   a Container truck along the Lokoja, Capital of Kogi state and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Expressway. The truck was aid to have been loaded with Contraband. 

The Value News gathered that the suspected truck which was said to have been subjected to 100% examination to make assurance doubly sure that its suspicions that the truck was loaded with contraband was not out of place.  True to the officers’ suspicion 37 bales and four rolls of Nigerian Police Force Comouflage were discovered in the truck.

The Customs Comptroller, had confirmed that the Command also intercepted eight used vehicles and another two vehicles that was said to have been used as a means of conveyance of the intercepted prohibited  items in its areas jurisdiction. The Command was said to have also intercepted 195   of ‘’50kg ‘’each bags of  foreign par boiled rice  fueling speculations making the rounds that par boiled rice smuggling in the region  is gradually dropping .

The Customs Comptroller who was said to have given the anti-smuggling and patrol team officers all the necessary support to do their job  going by the backing of Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs   Service  may have shocked  Nigerians when he disclosed  that in line with the extant  laws  and guidelines  as directed by the Customs Headquarters,  the Command several seizures of gallons of 25 litres each of Premium Motor Spirit,  PMS,Popular, Petrol, which was said to have been auctioned to the public and the proceeds paid into the Federation Account.

Other Contraband that were said to have been intercepted by the within the period under review includes 240 bales of foreign second hand clothing,  10 Jerrycans  of 25 litres each of foreign processed vegetable oil,  415 cartons  of foreign Spaghetti,  Macaroni  and Couscous , 349 cartons  of foreign new male shoes, 500mg  of 3,400 matchets  of foreign  Amoxicillin  and 35 cartons  of foreign flame lights.

Tis interesting to note that the  71 different items made in different parts of the north western and north central regions  had a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of  N406,924,091.34   There is no gain saying the fact that the Command hard drugs seizures  between January to December, 31, 2022,  which was said to be  was worth  N2,345, 155,577.38.

The Command’s impressive anti-smuggling operations and Contraband seizures may have encouraged the Customs Headquarters to give it a letter of Commendation in early 2023, which was said to have boosted the morale of the officers and men of the Command.

Contraband seizures by FOU , Zone B , Command

Given that that there is no way the Command patrol teams can transfer all the contraband items seized in various parts of the north western and north central may have informed why  some of such contraband  seizures are deposited in the nearest Customs Formation I the two regions under its control.

Appreciative of the support of other security agencies IN its anti-smuggling operations in its area of Jurisdictions in the northern region, Compt. Wada noted that the Department of State Security, DSS,Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA,, and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC, Military, particular, had  played a major role.

 Appealing to Nigerians to continue to provide relevant information to the Command, noting that such information would help them to be more effective in their anti-smuggling operations, and achieve more meaningful results that would be earth shaking and benefit the economy.

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