Katsina: Acting Comptroller wada Holds Community Consultative Forum, Intensifies Anti-smuggling Operations

 By Stephen Ubanna

 Customs: Ever since since Sheldi Wada, a Deputy Comptroller, was deployed to Katsina  Command, which is  in the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, by Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel, he  knew that he is under a close watch and cannot afford to fail  the Authorities, in containing the activities of the smugglers  operating between Niger Republic and Nigeria.

Until his deployment to the state, the unrepentant smugglers and their sponsors may have taken advantage of the numerous illegal routes between Katsina and Niger to turn it into a dumping group  for foreign manufactured products, foreign par boiled rice and vehicles, imported through the Autonomous port of Benin Republic and Bollore port , also located in the neighbouring West African country  meant for the local market but developed wings on transit between the two countries.

The unlawful transactions was more pronounced in the Magama Jibia, Kongolom  in Maidua, Baba-Mtum area in BaBaure  and Dankama  local government areas  but needed to be minimized at all costs. Informed sources told The Magazine that he had reached out to the people by engaging them in talks on the need to go into Legitimate trade  because of the danger inherent in smuggling .  He was said to have repeatedly made it clear to the people that his office is opened for inquiries on how to go about into legitimate without contravening the government fiscal policy that would attract sanction, ranging from seizure of their smuggled goods, arrest and prosecution.

Acting Comptroller Wada Holds Consultative Forum With Stakeholder In Katsina State

Only recently, the Customs Area Controller was said to have held an enlarged Customs /Community Consultative Forum that was said to have been attend by prominent people in the state including top government functioneries. Among those that were said to have attended the meeting to hear from the Customs Comptroller on how to improve the relation between the people and Customs personnel in the state was Mustafa Inuwa, Secretary to the state government, who was said to have represented Aminu Masari, a former Speaker of House of Representatives and now governor of the stat and,Lawal Idris Bagiwa, Sarkin Fulani Katsina and who incidentally was a retired Assistant Comptroller General of  Customs.

Given the importance attached to the Forum and the publicity,  Ahmed Ahmed, the  district head of Maidua was said to have represented the Emir of Daura, Emirate Council.Usman Kankara Bello, popular, UK.Bello,  the Kanwan Katsina,  and a retired Comptroller of Customs , who have have always identified with the activities of the service in the state and who was recently inaugurated as the Grand Patron, of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, nuj, Katsina Television, KTTV, Chapter, was also at the event.

Acting Compt. Wada, In A warm Handshake With A District Head At The Katsina Forum Organised By The Command

An appreciative Acting Wada,  who was very happy  over the large turnout of dignitaries at the meeting had appealed to the people to assist the Customs personnel to do their job by giving out credible information that would help track the  economic saboteurs, believed to be hiding  under the cover of the Bandits Group  in the state to engage in such nefarious activities.

The District Heads  and other Concerned Citizens of the state, who were at the all important Forum , were said to given their words to take the message  to the  people to drum into their ears about the dangers of smuggling and the need to see Customs personnel as their friends  and not as  enemies that  must be attacked to inject fear into them.

While Deputy Comptroller is doing all that is within his powers to minimize smuggling in Buhari home state,  he has taken advantage of the briefing he had with Journalists in the state on Friday, February 4, to expose the dangerous weapons that were used by the smugglers to carry out their nefarious activities in the state. This may have informed why he had said that they have to wake up to be able to puncture all tactictics that may be employed by the criminal elements who have remained unrepentant.

 In spite of the dangerous weapons  used by the smugglers to carry out their Operations, the Customs Area Comptroller, who could not hide his feeling  disclosed that his Patrol Teams, which  are deployed to the nooks and crannies of the state ,  did not disappoint the Management . He noted that the large quantities of intercepted Contraband transferred to the Government Warehouse,   in the month of January , 2022, bear eloquent testimony that they are not relenting in their anti-smuggling efforts until the economic saboteurs turn a new leaf.

O Intercepted Vehicle By Katsina Command

The Contraband seizures, may not be as much as those of the interventionist units in the south west geopolical region,  but it is telling on the people because of the poor economy of the state. According to him, the Command had made a seizure of ten fairly used vehicles from the smugglers. Given a break-            down of the seized vehicles, from different locations in the state,  the Customs boss had said that  ranges from Mercedez Benz, 2015 , model, , valued at about N12.6 million,  Volkswagen, Volkswaden Golf 3, Volkswagen Passat,   Mitsubishi Canter to Honda Civic.

The Value News Correspondent reported that much of the vehicles intercepted the Command Patrol Teams , were mostly Volkswageen veicles, meaning that they were the means of Conveyance of the smuggled Contraband products seized. Valuation experts   had put the cost of the total cost of the vehiclles at about N24.2 million.

The most hard hit  were thegeneral cargo smugglers. The  January report by the Katsina Area Comptroller, showed that  the Command  also gave a good account of its operations  with the support of the anti-smuggling Operational vehicles , described as very rugged  as it could the difficult terrains  in the state to pursue the smugglers and dispossess them of the  goods with  shooting of gun.

Bags Of Foreign Par Boiled Rice, 50 Kg Each Intercepted And Seized By Katsina Customs Command

He had said that that the Command intercepted 629 bags of foreign par boiled rice , valued at about N16 million, 826 cartons of foreign Spaghetti,  16 cartons of foreign Tomato,  79 cartons of foreign  Coscous, 110 kegs of 25 litres each of vegetable oil,  and 338 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit, popular, Petrol.

This is in addition to   96 cartons of foreign milk,  46 cartons of foreign Ginny,  50 bales of second hand clothing,  eight bales of new blanket,   79 cartons of foreign  Macaroni and  15 pieces of  of Cachats Super Cereal plus, Corn/Soya blend for instants  of 1.5 Kg each , Wraps of second hand clothing  and  pieces of foreign Jack Knife, the type , used by  military personnel, the world over.   The value of the general goods seized  was put at about  N45.46 million, thus bring the total Duty paid Value,  DPV, of both the vehicles and general goods , at about  70 million.

Many see the  Contraband seizures of the Command as very impressive  considering the fact that Niger Republic is a land-locked country which depend on its transit cargo imports from Benin Republic  which  have two seaports  and Togo, another West African which also have a seaport port.  The Petrol smugglers  from NiGerian , may not have been  finding funny because of the tight security at the various official and the illegal routes that could be reach in the state.

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