Seme: Change Of Baton As Jibo Solicits Officers Support For A successful Tenure

By Stephen Ubanna

 Chedi Wada, a Deputy Comptroller and former acting Comptroller, Seme  Command, appears to have laid  a solid Foundation upon which Bello Mohammed Jibo, a former Comptroller , Bauchi/Gombe Command and now   the Command Area Comptroller  could stand on to carry out his anti-smuggling Operations drive .

Indeed, given his experience as a tested anti-smuggling and Customs Intelligence officer,  Wada, had used the nine months of being at the helms of Affairs at the Seme Command following the appointment of Muhammed Uba Garba, a former Comptroller of the Command by Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS,  as the Border Drill, sector 3, Ilorin, Acting Coordinator, overseeing  the north central geo-political region border states of Kwara, Niger, Kogi and Benue. Muhammed had been elevated as an  acting Assistant Comptroller General, ACG, of Customs, Enforcement, Inspection &Investigation, EI&I, which may have finally severed a further link with the Seme Command. This may have informed why Ali, the Comptroller General, redeployed Bello Mohammed Jibo, a substantive Comptroller to the Command, preparatory to reopening of the border soon.

DC. Wada Hands Over To Comptroller Jibo At Seme Command

In handing over the baton of leadership of the Land Border Command, to  the  new Area Comptroller, at a closed door ceremony, Wada , had Thanked the Customs Comptroller General for giving him the Opportunity to serve as the Acting Area Comptroller of the one-time busy Seme Command, which had suddenly become a shadow of itself because of the closure of the land borders across the country with the neighbouring countries of Benin Republic, Niger and the Central African country of Cameroon.

Perhaps, to ensure that the incoming Seme Command Area Comptroller enjoy a successful tenure, notwithstanding the Border closure, which had entered its third year running, Wada, who spoke at the brief  closed door Ceremony held at the Comptroller’s office, at the Seme-Krake border, according to Abdullahi Husani, an Assistant Superintendent of Customs and the Command Spokesperson, had urged the Officers ‘’to accord  the incoming Area Comptroller maximum support to  effectively discharge the new responsibilities bestowed upon him by the Management’’.  He was said to have assured him of a successful tenure.      

Wada, who became a former Acting Comptroller of the Seme Command at a time of low economic activities, may have been exposed to some of  the major routes used by the unrepentant smugglers to carry out their nefarious activities with the closure of the Land borders  across the  country.

One of such routes was the porous Seme Customs Barracks waterside. This may have informed why he embarked on a blockade of the illegal smugglers and Immigrant routes by raising up an embarkation at the Customs Barracks waterside which now makes it difficult for the smugglers, particular,  to move their Contraband into the Nigerian market. This is because of the danger of falling into the sea.

 He may not have stopped there as he was said to have built security checkpoints at the Customs,  Barracks to monitor the movement of people,  in and out of the Barracks.  A senior Customs officer who spoke to The Value News disclosed that the security checkpoints had reduced cases of stealing at the Barracks  which had been the case over the years.

This is because the cross –border thieves could easily come into the Baraacks through the  waterside  when officers are in their offices to steal and go  . The hoodlums may have also seen it as an opportunity to smuggle Contraband into the Nigerian market .  But all that had stopped, no thanks to Deputy Comptroller Wada.

Officers Witness The Closed door Handover Ceremony

Many, believe, another area,  the former acting Comptroler of Seme Command had made appreciable impact at the Border Community  was at the notorious Baba Cupa route  used by smugglers and immigrants because of the free passage provided for them by  immigration officials. 

The Magazine learnt that   ever  since the former Seme Command acting Comptroller moblised  other security agencies personnel at the Seme Land  Border Community: AirForce, Army, Department of State Security, DSS, Port Health, Nigerian  Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, and National Agency For Food And Drug Administration Commission ,NAFDAC, to reach a working Agreement to strengthen the security at the Baba Cupa route, the security lapse in the area had changed for good.

  It is also on record that the  police, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Border Drill, sector A, and Comproller General of Customs, CGC, Strike Force, were all  part of the security  Agreement to deploy their officers  at the Baba Cupa axis.   Note that prior to signing the security  Agreement by all the secrity Agencies  to deploy their officers to the Baba Cupa route, the NIS and the NCS,, were the only  agencies , whose officers were   manning the route which makes it easy for the smugglers and immigrants to settle easily and find their way into the country.

 Investigations by  The Magazine shows that in the last three months,  smugglers or immigrants no longer find it easy to go through the route because of the difficulty of settling the numerous  security Operatives  found on the route.

The situation is so bad that the one-time route,  described as very  lucrative by NIS and Customs personnel had  turned out to be  the worst in the recent time. It was learnt that  each of the agencies  have  a good number of officers deployed to the  route  on a weekly basis. It was gathered that the NCS, which is the lead agency  have the highest number of officers  on the route while the police  had the least number of offiers, two.

  The Seme former acting Comptroller, may not have not spared the Foreign rice, vehicles and other Contraband smugglers in other areas including the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol  and India Hemp smugglers at the Owode and  Badagry Creeks as scores of the smugglers were said to have fallen into the waiting hands of the Wada boys. Wada, may have sustained the Command aggressive anti-smuggling drive to ensure that nothing enters or leaves the border Community as directed by Ali, the Comptroller General.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, had banned the  importation of Foreign rice and vehicles into the country through the land border on January 1, 2017.

  The Katsina state born Nigerian President had said that the decision to ban such Foreign rice imports into the country through the land border was basically to make Nigeria self-sufficiency in food production . The ban on vehicle imports, he said, was essential to increase importers patronage of Nigerian ports. The government appears to have achieved the purpose. At the Seme border, smugglers would who have encountered Wada’s officers in the bush or road have lots of story to tell: losing their goods to Customs. It is not surprising why the Customs Government Warhouse is filled to the brim with seized Contraband including Foreign rice and vehicles littered around the premises.

This may have forcedsome the smugglers to resort to violence, to scare the Seme anti-smuggling officers on the road. Last July, two persons  were said to have  been hit by stray bullet  during  confrontation between the Seme Customs anti-smuggling officers and  smugglers involved  in smuggling  petrol to neighboring   Benin Republic.  The incident was said to have occurred along  Seme-Carpenter village , described as a hideout for some  unpatriotic Nigerians to stockpile petrol for onward  delivery to Benin.

Impressed with the changes that had been introduced at the Seme Command over the last nine months, Jibo, who could not his feelings was said to have Commended the outgoing Seme Command Acting Comptroller  ‘’for a successful tenure . He noted  that  with the Border closure , which had  necessitated the Border Drill exercise since August , 2018 and  the Wuhan town in Hebei Province of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, lock down ,”the task of effectively secured Border  remains his uppermost priority’’.

Determined to ensure a successful  like previous Area Comptrollers of the Command, particular, Muhammed, now an Acting  ACG,  E.I&I, he may have taken a cue from the former  Acting Area Comptroller Wada , his immediate predecessor, ‘’ to solicit  for the maximum support  of the  officers and Men of the Command ‘’towards  suppression of smuggling  and other trans-border crimes to the barest minimum’’.

 Many believe that he had come to Seme Command, at a time when there are pressure on the Nigerian President from other Economic Community of West African States , ECOWAS, to reopen the closed land  borders across the country  to facilitate the free movement of goods and services in the Sub-region.

 The COWAS, Authority of Heads of States and Governments,  may have become so concerned about the border closure which  had adversely affected the economies of other countries in the Sub-region to set up a  Committee  under the Chairmanship of  Christain Kabore, President of Burkina Faso.

The Kabore Commmittee were said to have met with  Presidents Buhari, Patrick Talon of Benin and Issofou Muhammadou, of  Niger, to find  a way out of the border closure.

Maritime analysts believe that Jibo, the former Comptroller of Bauchi/Gombe Command who, knew much about the trapped trucks laden goods at the Seme Land border and importers with their agents who had paid duties for their trucks  in his capacity as the then Deputy Comptroller, Revenue Seat at the Command but could not take  delivery of it because of the border closure is in a better position to resolve the matter whenever the government decides to reopen the borer.

. This may have informed why the Seme based agents , believe that Ali, the Customs Comptroller General, made a wise decision, to redeploy Jibo, a former Comptroller of Bauchi and Gombe, a basically an anti-smuggling Command, back to Seme, described as home coming.

Already the smugglers operating within the Seme Jurisdictions  who  may have  had about the Comptroller Jibo’s exploits in dealing  with the hoodlums  in the two north east states are worried that their case may have moved from fire to frying pan.

They feared that Jibo, who has become a master strategist in anti-smuggling Operations, revenue collection guru, and who had ensured that the Seme Command before the border closure, under then Comptroller Muhammed met and surpassed its monthly revenues as areas of  revenue leakages were blocked would repeat same again.       

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