The Value News

FOU: Unusual Time For Creek Contraband Smugglers As They Face Hard Time

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

 S For years , smugglers operating within the Creeks in the south –south  states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom ,  Cross river and Rivers  to bring into the Nigerian Market Contraband particular, Foreign par boiled rice  may have been succeeding in do so.  But the outbreak of the Wuhan Town in Hebei Province of the Asian Country of China, emerged  coronavirus , popular, COVID 19, appear to have exposed them.

  This is because  Kayode olusemire, Comptroller ,Federal operations Unit, FOU, Zone C , Owerri, Imo state,  and his Operational officers  were said to have  beamed their  search light on goods, particular, foreign par boiled rice,  found on the Niger Delta  roads to ensure that that they were  smuggled  from the Creeks. The  situation  is  so bad  for the smugglers using the Creeks to carry out their nefarious  business that many of them were said to have  lost their goods  in the recent time.

Investigations by The Value News  shows  that Ahmadu Shuaibu, a Deputy Comptroller, in-charge of the Command   Operations and  his officers had stepped up  their anti-smuggling operations  by mentoring in  the Niger Delta states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross river and  Rivers, which had facilitated in intercepting  in some   vehicles  in which  the Asian country of Thailand had been Concealed in the booth  and the body of the vehicle. The quantities of  Foreign par boiled rice that were said to have been found from the  intercepted range between 100  bags of ‘’50’’ to 300 bags ‘’50’’ each. The intercepted vehicles,  allegedly  concealed  with the Contraband vehicles emerging from  the Creeks to the major road. The intercepted vehicles Concealed with the Contraband  were  said to have been taken  to the  government Warehouse Owerri. 

Olusemire: No Nonsense Comptroller Of FOU, Zone C, Owerri, Imo state

It is not surprising  why the Government warehouse , Owerri,, is swarming with seized rice  and seized and detained vehicles. The Magazine undercover Reporter   who  had  witnessed one of the vehicles intercepted on the road and forced to divert its movement to Governemnt warehouse  Owerri, recently  was said to have  Concealed  between 200 bags of ‘’50’’ each  , which was emptied into the  warehouse  and the vehicle  also detained in the premises. 

 Only recently  the  Command  was said to have  intercepted a  vehicle concealed with Catridges  alleged to have been smuggled into the region  from the Creeks. Maritime analysts believe that  With  the close monitoring of the goods coming from the Creeks in the Niger Delta region   by the  Olusemire’s  boys may have sent a signal to the  Creek based smugglers that it is  no longer safe  for them to push their  Contraband into the Nigerian market.

 The question on the lips of most people was:  how did these Contraband ,  particular, the Foreign rice, from Benin Republic, allegedly trans-loaded from the mid sea find their way to the Creeks  in the Niger Delta region when Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police are busy  patrolling  the Nigerian Water Ways on a daily basis. This clearly shows that there may have  been  connivance  between the security agencies personnel and the smugglers on the Nigerian  waters, to find their way to the Creeks with the contraband, particular, Foreign par boiled rice.

This is where Ndarni Joseph, Comptroller, Eastern Marine Command, of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and his officers  may have  to step up their surveillance of the Creeks before moving  in  its  fast moving  vessel, to track the smugglers. The Group of II, vessel  had  been  allocated  to it  for its anti-smuggling Operations by Hameed Ali a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, NCS, some two years, ago in order   to  strengthen their operations.

Many believe that  the quantities of the seized  Contraband   at the Government  warehouse ,Owerri , and the detained  and seized  vehicles , in the premises including intercepted Containers from the south east ports   was big enough  to encourage  Olusemire, the Area Comptroller,  to call a Press Conference , to showcase the achievements of the Command in the last three months  .  He may have been reluctant in doing so  because of  the Nigerian Center For Disease and Control, NCDC,  and the World  Health Organisation, WHO, a health agency of the United Nations social distancing rule to curb the spread of the COVID 19, disease in the country.   

Insiders told The Magazine that the  situation at the Government ware house, Owerri,  was  not different  from  what the Enforcement officers  at Delta and Edo states  had done ‘’as the  Government House , Benin, the Edo state Capital has been  filled  to the brim with   seized Contraband, particular rice ‘’, an officer said. ‘’

 This is where Ali, the Comptroller general , may have to move fast to seek Presidential  approval to evacuate the Contraband, particular the  rice and other perishable items  in all the Government Warehouses across the country to the Internally Displaced Peoples IDPs, Camp, in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe  states including the motherless babies homes in different parts of the country.

 This will help to  avoid  a repeat of what happened  when  155 trucks load of   Foreign rice were handed over to the ministry  of  Humanitaria Affairs , Disaster Management  and Social Development for  distribution to the states to  be shared shared to the poor and vulnerable in the society.

 Recall that some of the states, had described  it as a killer rice.  It  was  a big problem between Seyi Makinde , governor of  the south west state of Oyo and the Customs Comptroller General as the duo traded blames. The customs Authorities had shifted the blame to the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC,  for not doing their work before allowing the  allocations of rice approved for the states from the various Government warehouses across the country were  released to them.      

Stephen Ubanna

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