Compt. Shuaibu, Takes, The Battle To  Smugglers’ Camp, Warns Against Molesting Officers

By StepheWhen Compt. Shuaibu Abdou Bello,  a former Area Controller, Ogun II, Abeokuta, declared that his redeployment to Ogun I, a basically  Interventionist  Unit, by Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, Customs Comptroller General last September that’’ it was a call for higher duty’’,  he knew he has a big task at hand.

 This is because the too many illegal smugglers routes used by the dare-devil smugglers in the Communities in the local government Arears in the former President Olusegun Obasanjo home state bordering the  neighbouring  Benin Republic.  The smuggling situation appears to be worse at Ilaro, Ayetoro,  Ajegunle,  and Idiroko, Oniro, Oke-Odan,  Illase, Ajilete  border  Communities in the state.  

 As a prelude to cutting the wings of the smugglers in the border communities in the flashpoint local government areas in the state, the Ogun I, Customs Comptroller from the onset was said to have called on the Youths of the border communities ‘’to partner with the service in the enlightenment Campaigns aimed at tackling the menace of smuggling activities in the state.

It is interesting to note that of the 20 local government areas of the former President Obasanjo home state,  Yewa North, Imeko/Afon  and Ipokia, which share  border with the neighbouring Benin Republic are most used by the smugglers to carry out their nefarious activities.

The Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, under the close watch of Adepoju Wura-Ola,    road map of the smugglers routes in the Ogun state shows that there are over 90 illegal routes used by the smugglers, which may have informed why it is described as a smugglers’ haven in Customs circles.

Compt.Shuaibu: Ogun I, Commmand, Area Controller

Indeed, past and present Customs Area Controllers of the Ogun I, Command were said to have done everything within their powers to adequately police the state to contain the activities of the smugglers.  Compt. Shuaibu, described as an anti-smuggling Czar in security agencies circles in the state may have gone a step further to smoke out the smugglers  in the Yewa North, Imeko/Afon and Ipokia Local government Areas border Communities with Benin Republic.

The recent interception  of 975 rounds of red star  live cateridges  Concealed  in five bags of  foreign rice hidden  in a bush  along Palace /Ayetoro  road  in the Imeko/Afon Local Government Area of the south western state  had clearly  shown how Compt. Shuaibu , who was said to have detailed  officers on patrolsto apply professional  and intelligence  in their peration to unravel the smugglers. This may have sent a message to the smugglers that no part of Ogun state would be safe for them to carry out their nefarious activities any longer.

But desperate to remain in the business may have informed why the smugglers have taken advantage of the festive period to relocate to Olokola and Tongeji border Communities in   Ipokia and Ogun Watersides Local Government believed to have huge oil deposits, Lafenwa/Enu Gada axis of Abeokuta North local Government Area with the intention     to flood the state markets and other southern Nigerian states with foreign rice to make quick money. They may have seen it as an opportunity that since the Federal Operations Unit , FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, patrol team officers who had in the past policed the state but no longer doing so as expected  to bring in foreign rice into the country during this festive period . They got it wrong.

Unknown to them, Comptroller  Shuaibu’s Patrol team officers who are everywhere in the state  to ensure  no Contraband including foreign rice , Pneumatic tyres and other prohibited item do enter the country were strategically stationed in different parts of the state including the Abeokuta North Communities.

Ogun I, Command patrol Team and Smugglers clash at Lafenwa, Ipokia LGA

The drama had happened on Saturday, December, 16, 2023,  when the smugglers filed out with their two   faulty vehicles loaded with smuggled foreign rice at the Lafenwa Area,Enu Gada axis  of Abeokuta.The agile Ogun I Command patro,team Officers were said to have pursued the smugglers and succeeded in intercepting the foreign rice and their means conveyance which was said to have been  transferred to Government Warehouse, Ogun II, which has Compt. AOB Alade as the Area Controller for safe keeping amidst strong resistance from hoodlums. 

They were said to have been armed with dangerous weapons and hurling stones on the officers but could not deter Customs personnel from carrying out their Constitutional responsibility of ensuring that foreign rice which had been banned from entering into the country through the nation’s land borders and the seaports did not enter into the country from the Lafenwa, Edu, Gada markets. And other markets in the state and its environs.

Hammed Oloyede, a Superintendent of Customs, and the Command spokesperson, who was said to have had benefited from the service senior officers promotion examination which result was recently released to wear the new rank of Chief Superintendent of Customs, CSC, had confirmed that the Command’s officers who were evacuating the smuggled foreign rice and other seized prohibited goods   from  the two faulty vehicles used as means of conveyance   in the area  were attacked  by hoodlums hired by the smugglers.

The seriousness of the attack and to avoid loss of life may have necessitated why the patrol team Leader in the Abeokuta North Local government operation had called for reinforcement after they were said to have successfully over powered the smugglers and taken over control of the two faulty vehicles loaded with the smuggled foreign rice and other seized goods to the Government Warehouse at Abeokuta.

There is no gain saying the fact that the Ogun I, Command officers who had acted on the instruction of Area Controller to have successfully scared the hoodlums who had blocked road to forestall them  from  coveying the seized items to the Customs Warehouse at Abeokuta  ,did without any casualty despite the provocation.

This is because the Customs Comptroller had made it clear to the officers who had gone out on the operation to always be guided by ‘’the Rules of Engagement’’ in dealing with the smugglers and hoodlums to avoid loss of lives.  A senior Customs officer who spoke to The Value News on Condition of  anonymity disclosed  that the Customs Area Controller , who values  lives  so much do not want to go into any confrontation with the people of the border communities over ‘’arbitrary  use of arms’’.  Frowns

Although the Ogun I, Customs Comptroller  who has the mandate of  the Customs Comptroller General  to make the former President Obasanjo home state a no go area for smugglers had frowned at the arbitrary use of arms by officers for self-protection on provocation,  he was said to have sounded a note of warning to the people of the border Communities who sees smuggling their only means of survival that  he will not tolerate’’ the  destruction,  molestation,  or continued assaults  of officers doing their legitimate duties in the state. He was said to have drawn their attention ‘’to  the infliction  of punishment on offenders caught in the act  such as  conviction  ‘’to a fine of five  million  naira  and imprisonment of  five years or both , as a deterrence to others  who might to  venture in the  crime in the future.

The newly signed  Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA, 2023, into Law  by  former President Muhammadu Buhari, section  26,  was said to have empowered the Customs officers to carry out  their patrols   which applies  to the service anti-smuggling  operations freely across the country including Ogun state without molestation. 

While, the Ogun  I, Command, under the Leadeship of Compt. Shuaibu, over the last  three months  had conducted its anti-smuggling operations without any loss of live, this could not be said o the FOU, Zone A, under the  close watch of Kehinde  Hussain Ejibunu, who has the entire  six south western states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, OSUN , Ondo and Ekiti as  his areas of operation.

The FOU, Zone A, Command, Area Controller, may have shocked Nigerians when he disclosed that the dare-devil foreign par boiled rice smugglers in Ogun state killed four of his officers on Patrol in the state in2022.  Recall that in October, 2021, one of the Command Patrol team, which had carried out an operation   along the Shagamu inter-change in the state had been attacked by hoodlums hired by smugglers around the area.

Despite the fat that the FOU, Zone A, Patrol Team had succeeded in making seizure of  12 vehicles loaded with bags of foreign par boiled rice of 50Kg each from Abeokuta axis enroute  to Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre there  was exchange of  gunfire , resulting in the death of the two of the attackers .  Two officers from the Customs Interventionist Unit were said to have sustained severe injuries from the attackers who were armed with dangerous weapons and ready to kill.

The frequent killing of officers of the Command on Legitimate duties may have informed why Compt.  Ejibunu and his Management Team have gone back to the drawing board to re-strategise on how to protect the lives of officer on anti-smuggling operations in Ogun state and other parts of the south western region.

As at the time of writing this report, Abdullahi Aliyu Maiwada, a CSC, who incidentally was a former image maker of Ogun I, Command Customs image maker at the national level  had put smiles on the faces of the officers who had sat  for the 2023, promotion examination.

Wale Edun: Minister Of Finance& Coordinating Minister Of The Economy

He had said  that the Nigerian Customs Service Board, NCSB,  under the Chairmanship of Wale Edun, minister of Finance an Coordinating minister of the  economy  during its  58th  regular meeting  held  on Tuesday , December 19, 2023 had  approved the promotion of  2,209 senior officers to the next rank.

The Customs National Public Relations Officer, had issued a statement that 67 Deputy Comptrollers who had sat for the promotion examination made it to the Comptroller’s rank. The trios of former Acting Comptrollers Ejibunu, Area Comptroller, FOU, Zone A, Kayode Kolade, FOU, Zone C, and Shuaibu, Ogun I, were said to have scaled the hurdle become full comptrollers but yet to be decorated.

The Customs spokesperson had said that the new Comptrollers and other senior officers promoted by the Board had performed creditably well in their various assigned responsibilities in 2023. Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General was said to have urged the newly promoted Comptrollers and other senior officers promoted ‘’to double their efforts in fulfilling the service critical roles of revenue generation, trade facilitation and suppression of smuggling’’. 

The Cutoms helmsman who could not hide his feelings was said to have made it clear ha this is the to further enhance the NCS pivotal morale in bolstering the country’s socio-economic well-being. This bad news for fraudulent importers at the nation’s seaports, airports and smugglers operating at the nation’s Land border areas, particular, Ogun, Oyo, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto states as officers involved in anti-smuggling operations in the Customs various interventionist Units who had benefited from the promotion would want to demonstrate that they know the job.

The quantities of Contraband seizures in Ogun, Oyo, Katsina, Kebbi, and Sokoto states in the recent time since CSC Maiwada, the Customs spokesperson made public the list of the promoted senior officers’ clearly shows that those involved in anti-smuggling operations in these interventionist Commands have doubled their efforts to deal decisively with the economic saboteurs. 


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