Ogun I: Compt. Shuaibu Strengthens Inter-agency Border Security Leadership And Anti-smuggling Operations

By Stephen Ubanna

Between much of 2020 and early 2023,   residents of Oja -Odan border, Community and Ilaro, a sprawling growing town, in Yelwa north,  Ogun, home state of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, had lived in fears because of the  activities of rival  smugglers  groups who many believe work closely with the security operatives who give them sinals o the movement of Customs Patrol teams in the area.

The situation at Oja-odan, Olorulekun, Ebute,  and Ogiri to Adja-Ouere, a trading town in Republic of Benin  where the Nigerian smugglers usually  travelled to buy  the Asian country of Thailand par boiled   bags of rice,  and Indian Agriculural parboiled rice of 50Kg eac and foreign poultry products , may look worrisome.

 This is because  the bags of rice,  were transported  through the  forest by motorcycles  to the  Oja-odan border  community   for temporary storage  before being transferred  to Ilaro, amidst tight security, provided by the Youths engaged by the smugglers for distribution to other parts of the state and the neighbouring Lagos state rice  markets.

The Value News online took time to visit Oja Odan Community late on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, to have a fill of what is happening in the hotbed Community where he rival smuggler gangs involved in smuggling Premium Motor Spirit, popular, petrol from Nigeria to Benin Republic and in turn smuggled the Asian coutries of Thailand parboiled rice and India parboiled Agricultural rice including poultry products into the Nigerian market kill themselves.

On getting to the Community, where much of the foreign rice imported through the Atonomous port of Benin, Cotonou, were believed to be   smuggled to the north western states of Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Kebbi and the north central states of Kwara and Niger, on trucks, the Magazine had passed through some of the notorious the routes used by the smugglers in the Community. With my heart in my hand to avoid running into the smugglers who are desperate to kill.

Many believe that the Ogun I, Command, Customs Comptroller may have taken pain to study the smuggling situation at the Oja-odan   and Ilaro before setting up the CAC Task Force, to compliment the efforts of the Command Patrol teams to give a bite to the Command anti-smuggling operations.The Magazine sighted two of the checkpoints manned by the CAC Task Force around the Oja-odan Community.

Th fierce –looking officers may have sent a message to the Oja odan and Ilaro, based smugglers that there is no room for compromise as the smuggling situation in the two border Communities in Yewa north appears to have been checkmated going by the Contraband seizures that had been made by the teams without any exchange of bullet with the smugglers in transferring the intercepted goods to the Command premises at Idiroko.

The Magazine’s attention may have been  attracted to the  Oja odan Community because of the information pieced together from some Okada riders  on how smugglers  shuttling between Benin Republic and Nigeria ,  strapped several empty jerry cans, 25 Kg, each, on their motorcycles  to the Nigerian side of the Border  Community where it will be filled with  fuel  and then smuggled into  the Beninois market  to earn good money  because of the high demand . The situation was not different from Ilarro, where farmers were said to have joined the growing number of fuel, foreign rice and poultry products smugglers, in the town.

A resident of Oja odan  community , had said both  not for the strategies put in place  to checkmate  the  activities in Yewa north Local government Community by  Compt. Shuaibu , who  oversees  the  Inter –agency  Border Security  Forum, between Nigeria and Benin Republic Security  agencies personnel.  The smuggling situation in the over 94 Border routes in Ogun state would have been worse.

  With the return of regular meetings with its security agencies counterparts at Republic of Benin, the Idiroko Community Chiefs and Youths the situation in the south western state appears to have reduced considerably..

Group Pix of Inter agency Border Security stakeholders meeting at Idiroko, Ogun state, hosted by Compt. Shuaibu

The most recent meeting that was said to have been hosted by the Ogun I, Area Controller on Wednesday,, March 27, 2024, at the Command operational Headquarters in Idiroko, was very revealing.  Bonny Botoku , who oversees the  Integrated Palace and Art  Tour company  and secretary General of the Inter Border Security  Forum, who, it was gathered  mediates  between the two West African countries to bring about total peace and reduce smuggling activities at the Border Communities  appears to be alive to his duties.

 The meeting this time around a source disclosed was said to have been  convened by the Ogun I, Area Controller, ‘’to address issues that were said ‘’to be albatross the cooperation and peace enjoyed by the security agencies personnel  at the border communities between the two countries .

Another source privy   to the Idiroko meeting disclosed that after a lengthy discussion by the members of the Inter Border Security Forum, including submissions of memorandums and deliberations, they were said to have agreed that the Border community Chiefs and Youth Leaders should go back to their people and educate them  on the motorcycle regulations which is a major means of conveyance of smuggled goods  used by the smugglers  operating between the two West African countries to avoid laying into the hands of the  security operatives.  The Community Chiefs in Benin, who has changed their strategy of operations.

The Youth Leaders, were said to have also been urged’’ to advise their people about the traffic Laws being enforced by Beninois Police operatives or be ready to continue to lose both their motorcycles and goods to the government.

Another resolution that was said to have been reached at the all- important security meeting was the prohibition of Idiroko Youths against jungle justice and enjoining them to report any suspected civil case to the Nigerian Police, Idiroko Divisional Police Station and other security agencies at the Border Community.

Indeed, the maintenance of peace anduncovering of smuggled arms  and other categories of smuggled Contraband in different parts of the border Communities  in the Obasanjo’s home state  in the last six months  is a clear testimony that  the Inter Security Border Forum between Nigeria  and Benin Republic  had achieved meaningful results.

The Command could achieve all that with the Coperation of the Beninois Customs as they were said to have mounted   tight securities at the two countries Border sides and sharing information on how to contain the activities of the smugglers.  

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