Ogun I: ‘’Compt Shuaibu’s Greatest Achievement Restoration Of Peace, Stability ‘’ – Industry Stakeholders

By Stephen Ubanna

 Between Sepetmber 18, 2023, and now, compt. Shuaibu Ahmadou Bello, Area controller, Ogun I, Command, headquartered in Idiroko, Ipokia Local Area of   Ogun, former President Olusegun Obasanjo home state appears to have proved to the Authorities that he knows his job. This is because of the restoration of’’ peace and sanity’’, which many considers as his greatest achievement s in the state.

 Those who are conversant with the anti-smuggling operations in the south western state would have known that there have never been peace in most of the border communities in the state . This is because of the frequent clash between officers and the smugglers backed by the youths who believe that it is their right ‘’to smuggle as a means of survival. From Ajelete, Owode, Ohunbo, Ilase, Papalanto, to Ilaro, the story is the same: frequent clash of officers and youths of the host border Communities and smugglers.

 An industry stakeholder had disclosed to the Magazine online that a retired Comptroller had regretted being deployed to the Idiroko Command  because of the frequent exchange of bullets between his officers and smugglers, particular, around the Owod, Ilaro, Ajilete, Papalanto, axis, all border Communities between Nigeria and Benin Republic. 

Compt. Shuaibu: Area Controller , Ogun I

Compt. Shuaibu, may have re-engineered the anti-smuggling Operations of the Command from the onset to avoid a repeat of the incidents of 2021 and 2022, where officers of the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, under the close watch of Compt. Hussain Kehinde Ejibuno, carrying out their Legitimate duties in the state were said to have been gunned down by the dare-devil smugglers at the notorious Owode, in Yewa, south Local government Area of the state.

An Owode resident told The Value News on Thursday, February 8, 2024, that the source of friction between Customs operatives and the smugglers, was the later’s claims that that it is their right to smuggle the Asian country of Thailand, foreign parboiled rice, second hand hand vehicles, Pneumatic tyres and other Contraband goods from Benin Republic into the Nigerian market.

The Owode resident who spoke to the Magazine on condition of anonymity had said that  vehicles laden with smuggled  foreign parboiled rice, andforeign processed vegetable oil are regular items being pushed into the Nigerian market thrugh the Owode and Ilaro border Communities but the Customs Interventionist Units personnel positioned at strategic locations in the state would not allow itwas a regular occurrence in t enter into the country. Comptroller Shuaibu may have sent a message to the smugglers that it is no lnger going to be business as usual which may have informed why there is relative peace and stability in anti-smuggling operations in the state over the last six months without any incident.

Many are optimistic that with the improved working relationships between the Leadership of the threeInterventionist Units operating in the Obasanjo home state, particular, the Ogun I, Area Controller who was said to have extended the olive branch to the host communities by Comptroller, Ogun state is set to witness a complete era of peace devoid of the usual frequent clash between   officers and smugglers .

Industry stakeholders had said that Compt. Shuaibu, could restore relative peace and sanity in the host Communities  in Ogun state  which the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, under the Leadership of Wura-Ola Adepoju, had reported has over 90 illegal border routes that dots  the nooks and crannies of the state useed by the smugglers to carry out their nefarious activities because he is working according to the mandate of the Adewale  Adeniyi, MFR, Customs   Comptroller General who was said to have given his words that he wants’’ improved  Customs-  Communities relations in the border areas’’.

The Customs Comptroller who was said to have  worked round the clock over the last six months  to restore peace and sanity in Ogun state border Communities , under its jurisdiction , complemented by other Interventionist Unis like FOU, Zone A, and Border Drill,  Lagos Zonal office , because of a statement that had been made by the Customs boss while on a visit to the Idiroko Command.   in late 2023.

The Customs Comptroller General had said that  , ‘’ a good working relationship between the Customs  Operatives and  border the  Communities in the south west state and other parts of the country  are vital in assisting  the county’s security agencies  in the discharge of their duties  as regards to national security.

The Customs helmsman may have  made Compt. Shuaibu, described as a workaholic, in Customs circles,  to understand  during the visit that  ‘’Idiroko is very strategic  to the service operations’’. He may have emboldened the Ogun I, Area Controller to take bold steps that had brought about peace in the border communities in the . Recall that the Customs Comptroller had declared.  ‘’all borders  under the jurisdictions  of Idiroko Command represent  a  strategic gateway to trade , Nigeria’s economic development and national security management”.

 Prior to the Comptroller General visit to the Ogun 1, Command last September, where he has told residents of the host border Communities to channel their grievances to the relevant Authorities instead of taking the Law into their hand that may result in loss of lives and property, Compt.Shuaibu, was said to have taken advantage of the opportunity provided, while taking over from Compt. Bamidele Makinde, his predecessor, to reassure the business Community and other critical stakeholders in the state including residents of host border Communities  that the new Administration in Idiroko Command ” will operate  an open door policy  and strengthen existing  relationship with them to facilitate trade”.

He was said to have warned smugglers and their sponsors in the border Communities I the state to stop their nefarious activities, stressing that anyone caught in the act, shall be brought to book. The people may have read body language that they do want the old practice that had resulted in the loss of lives in the border Communities to continue but to work closely with the Customs Administration in the recent time.

 Nigerian foreign parboiled  Rice importers from Thai Rice Exporters Association through the Autonomous Port of Benin, Benin Republic Republic Cotonou, who were said to have outstanding millions of the North American country of the United States , US, dollar,  to pay to the Foreign  shipping Lines as freight rates may have found the bills to be too much to cough out  that the foreign shipping lines are no longer finding it funny ready to  to carry the Thai parboiled rice cargoes ordered by their Nigerian Customers through  to the Benin Republic Autonomous Port of Benin, Cotonou for them to take delivery.

A Beninois top Customs official who spoke Value News on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at Seme, a bOrder Community between Nigeria and Benin on February 9, 2024, had said that smuggling of foreign parboiled rice into the Nigerian market appears to have reduced drastically into the recent because since mid –December , 2023, no foreign line laden with foreign rice cargo  for any Nigerian or Beninois importer had laanded at the county’s Autonomous port in Cotonou.

This is because of the loses   that had been encountered by the Thai Rice Exporters Association and the Foreign shipping Lines who are finding it difficult to get their outstanding payments from business transacted with their Nigerian Customers. Customs Interventionists Units across the country may have made matters worse not settle the multi-million dollars owed the Thai-rice Exporters Association, particular, because of the continued seizure of smuggled foreign rice from Benin Republic, Niger, across the country  by Customs personnel involved in anti-smuggling operations in Lagos,  Ogun, Oyo, Osun,  Cross river, Kwara, Katsina and other states of the 36 states of the Federation.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had lifted the ban imposed on the importation foreign rice and 41 other items into the country by the previous Administration of Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration but that was how far he could go.  This may have informed why there is currently food  shortage in the country  as the anchor Borrowers for Local rice production cannot fill the vacuum created by the government ban on the importation of foreign rice into the country since 2017, forcing the protesters to troupe out in their hundreds on the  streets of Minna, Capital of Niger, home state of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and for Nigerian military President  and the sleepy  town of Suleija, also in the north central state and  the ancient town of Kano , to protest the hardship in the country and the skyrocketing price of a 50 Kg bag of foreign par boiled which had  hit the roof top of over N60.00 in Nigerian markets.

This is because a 50Kg , bag of  rice currently sells  at N60 at Benin Republic because of the declining exchange rate of the naira to Benin Currency, CFA. At present, the naira exchanges for N2,000.00 for CFA 1,000 of the Benin Republic Currency.  


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