Kaduna: FOU, Zone B, Customs Command, Goes Tough On Smugglers In 10 Northern States

By Stephen Ubanna

For years, smugglers operating in Kaduna, Katsina, home state of former President Muhammadu Buhari, and eight other northern states have been reckless in their driving to beat the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone B, Command of Nigerian Customs Service, under the close watch of Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, interventionist Units personnel along the road to it.

Informed sources told The Value News that smugglers operating in 10 northern states comprising of inaduna, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger and Kwara, Nasarawa including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT knew that they were in for trouble when Compt. Dalha Chedi Wada, a -one time Area Controller of Katsina Command was transferred to Federal Operations, FOU, Zone B, headquartered in Kaduna.

Compt. Wada: Area Controller, FOU, Zone B, Kaduna

     Aware that the north central and north western based smugglers liaise with Bandits who have no respect for human life to carry out their nefarious activities may have encouraged Compt. Wada, who had enjoined the officers to be cautious in their driving while pursuing smugglers and handling of firearms were said to have followed the directive to its logical conclusion.

This may have informed t why there have not been any case of loss of life since Compt. Wada assumed office and mapped out his anti-smuggling strategies since 2023. The Customs Comptroller may have been guided by the advice of Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General, who was said to have paid much attention on the training of officers on weapons handling to avoid unprofessional conduct from the onset.

 The Customs Comptroller General who had repeatedly assured Nigerians  that there would be a remarkable  difference in the way Customs Enforcement officers carry out duties as to ensure that no Contraband enters or leaves the country to neighbouring countries of Benin Republic, Niger, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroon appears to have kept to his word.

The Customs helmsman was emphatic that the era of unprofessional killing of innocent citizens was gon for good’’. He is right.  This is because the Enforcement officers the various Interventionist Units across the country have kept to the Comptroller General’s advice of carrying out their duties professionally.

 Many believe that both not for the professional conduct of the Enforcement officers , across the country, there would have been reported cases of   killing of smugglers and innocent  citizens used by the smugglers  as shield to carry out their nefarious activities  and  even officers , who are regularly  ambushed by the trigger hungry smugglers.

 It was not surprising why Compt. Wada’s men have been more than careful in carrying out their anti-smuggling operations in the volatile   Illela, border Community, in sokoto state between Nigeria and Niger. The situation was not different from Jibia, another Border Community in Katsina state between Nigerian and Niger where many of its residents engage in cross-border trades and smuggling activities and other northern border Communities under its jurisdictions. The officers were said to have gone tough on the 10 northern based smugglers to mahe them understand that t is no longer business as usual.

The recent incident in front of Mai Masara filling station around   Tudum Wada Tashar Huraira in Jibia border Community, where a 14 year-old teenager, was crushed by a J5 driver, who was said to be high speed on Saturday, February 3, 2024, speaks volume.

Customs Van chasing a J5 vehicle loaded with soya bean in ibia borer Community

The 5 driver who was said to have been sighted by  theFOU, Zone B, Patrol team officers   and pursued him was said to have  increased  his speed to escape the   Customs officers arrest and seizure of  his smuggled cargo, suspected have been  smuggled from the neighbouring Niger. The 5 driver was said to have lost control of the steering wheel when he saw the Customs Van coming after him   that he ran into a crowd. An eyewitness account said a 14 year-old boy was killed instantly but others escaped.

The FOU, Zone B, Patrol team officers may have saved the situation from degenerating as they were said to have quickly reversed their operational vehicle   and drove back to their checkpoint along Jibia road amidst tight security   after the incident to avoid playing into the hands of the irate Youths who were determined to vent their anger on the Customs personnel.

Isa Suleiman, a Customs Superintendent and the FOU, Zone B, Command spokesperson had told those that cares to listen that that ‘’the accident was not caused by officers’’.  Given an insider information, the FOU, Zone B, image maker,  who had revealed that  the Command which have a team  along  the  Jibia Border Community  that is within 0Km  radius had sighted the smuggler’s J5 vehicle and exercised caution causing in pursuing it to avoid killing f any  innocent citizen . He had blamed the reckless driving of the J5 driver, for causing the accident that crushed the 14 year-old teenager.

Smuggler’s J5 vehicle that ram into a acrowd in front of a filling station in Jibia town

 His major worry was that ‘’the criminal elements are hell-bent on twisting the narration to suit them’’. He noted that that smugglers operating within Kaatsina and  the other  northern states under its jurisdictions   are  not happy  with the Command, under the Leadership Compt. Wada’s, resolve  ‘’to ensure   that no Contraband  find their way into the Nigerian market   are doing everything possible  to turn the tide against the service.

The FOU, Zone B, Customs spokespersonthemay have spoken the mind of Compt. Wada, when he declared that the Command in collaboration with other relevant agencies will continue ‘’to enforce the directives of the Comptroller General to sanitize the Land border Communities within the 10 northern states under its area of Jurisdictions’’.

The tension in Katsina state over the death of a 14 year –old teenager, which smugglers had blamed on Customs personnel may have given  Abdullahi Maiwada, a Chief Superintendent of Customs and the Customs National Public Relations Officer, NPRO, room to lend his voice to the claims of the Supt.’Suleiman, the FOU, Zone B, Command claims  that the accident that had resulted the death of the teenager was caused by the J5 driver.

In clarifying the issue, an aggrieved CSC .Maiwada, who was not happy over the death of the teenager, crushed by the reckless J5 driver in Jibia town had expressed ‘’the service heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased, whose life was tragically cut short’’.

The Customs NPRO, was said to have made Nigerians to understand that ‘’the service operatives have no hand in the death of the teenager in Jibia town as’’ it neither drove the J5 vehicle nor intercepted the smuggled goods loaded in the J5, during the reported incident. Based on brief from the Command, the suspected J5 vehicle was said to be transporting soya beans’’ believed to have been smuggled from Niger which contravenes the Nigerian government Fiscal policy.

Appealing to stakeholders ‘’in this moment of grief for calm’’, the Customs NPR, reiterated the Comptroller General’s ‘’unwavering commitment to fostering harmonious Community relations and conducting anti-smuggling operations without causalities’’.

 CSC. Maiwada, may  have used the opportunity  provided by the Jibia border Community incident  ‘’to  urge  members of the  public to adhere  to government  directives  and cooperate  with  law enforcement agencies to maintain  peace  and security  in the country’s border Communities’’.


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