The Value News

Seme Customs Operatives Further Tighten Up Security at The Creeks And The Land Border Area As FOU Zone A, Forces High Profile Foreign Rice Smugglers Underground

By Stephen Ubanna

For years, there had been rumours making the rounds that foreign par boiled rice are being smuggled into the Nigerian market from J5. Community   within the  Seme/Krake Joint border. The Value News took time out on Friday,  February 26, 2021,  to monitor what is happening at the  Community   and its environs.

The Magazine in its undercover  reporting  went  into the surrounding bush  near the Community, in search of where to buy a 50Kg bag of foreign par boiled rice at ccheap price from smugglers. The Magazine   found that it was very difficult for a 50Kg bag of the  Asian  countries  of Thailand, India or Vietenam , par boiled rice to be smuggled into the J5 market as alleged. This  is  because  of  the  presence of  the Seme Customs Command  Patrol Teams around  the Community.

A trader who spoke to The Magazine  disclosed that Adahunson Rashid, a Deputy Comptroller, overseeing the Command Enforcement Unit, at the instance of Mohammed Jibo, the Area, Comptroller, had  regularly deployed Patrol Teams to raid the J5 market to confiscate  bags of 50Kg each, foreign rice  displayed in the open market or  stall.

 The Magazine  gathered that the Patrol Team seizures may  not have been in tens of bags  of 50Kg each of  foreign par boiled rice at the market but in trickles of three  to five bags from the low profile smugglers because of the tight security mounted at the area by  Deputy Comptroller Rashid  and his boys.

A driver plying between Lagos  and Seme-Krake  Joint  land border disclosed that  even if a firework person succeeds in beating the   Customs personnel at the  border Community  to hide a bag of rice in his bunker boot, he may still find it difficult to beat  Customs personnel at the Gbaji Checkpoint.

Note that that the government approved  checkpoint, are  the Seme Command, FOU, Zone A, Border Drill , Lagos Zonal office and CGC, Strike Fore Team A, personnel, and who are strategically positioned   to search  vehicles coming into the country from the neighbouring west African countries of Benin Republic, Togo, or Ghana.

Some  cross border trader drivers who had attempted to test the will of the officers at the Gbaji  checkpoint were  said to have been  disappointed as the 50Kg bags of parboiled rice neatly Concealed bags of foreign par boiled rice found in their vehicle boots had been seized. The Magazine cited two operational vehicles of the  Seme Command loaded with such foreign par boiled rice seizures along the Badagry- Seme road on  Friday, February 26, 2021.

Intercepted 50Kg Bags of Rice In a Customs Operational vehicle

With the daily transfer of the intercepted foreign bags from the fireworks by the Patrol Teams in different locations within Seme  Jurisdiction  may have informed why  the quantities of bags of foreign bags of rice  of 50Kg  each had hit  a little above four thousands between January  and February, 2021.  But for the fact that Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouk, led  ministry of Humanitarian Affairs,  Disaster  Management and Social Development had regularly carted  away allocations of seized foreign rice to the Internally Displaced People, IDP’s Camps in the north and Registered Motherless Babies homes in different parts of the country , the Seme Government would have been filled to the brim with seized Foreign rice.  

 Given the insufficient operational vehicles and inadequate  personnel at  the Seme land border, may have informed why the vehicles quickly  discharged and the seized  bags of  rice , which was said to  have been counted and document before returning back  to their Checkpoint to join their  Colleagues to sustain the tempo of their routine checks on vehicles  to ensure that no Contraband enters or leaves the country as directed by Hameed Ali, a retired army Colonel and Comptroller General, NCS.

But for the fact that the Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouk, led  ministry of Humanitarian Affairs,  Disaster  Management and Social Development had regularly carted  away allocations of seized foreign rice to the Internally Displaced People, IDP’s Camps, in the north and the Registered Motherless Babies home in different parts of the country , the Seme Command government warehouse couldould have been filled to the brim with seized Foreign rice.Take for instance, last year, alone , the ministry was said to  have carted away to the various IDPs and motherless babies homes in different parts of the country 15,000 and 25,000 bags of 50Kg  each at different times.  

Many believe that he recent operations by the FOU, Zone A, Operations and Lagos Roving Team, headed by Jack Okpabi, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs, that  had blocked the smugglers, popular, fireworks,  at the  Igbeleri Junction , Okokomako,,  allegedly coming  from an undisclosed location along the Lagos –Badagry  Express Way may have informed  why Jibo, the Seme Command, Area Comptroller, gave a matching order to Rashid, a Deputy Comptroller, overseeing the Command Enforcement Unit to tighten up security around the Creeks within the Seme and Badagry Jurisdictions.

An informed source told The Magazine that there are about 15 identified Creeks and watersides around the Seme and Badagry Jurisdictions alone.  The most popular creek and waterside, used by the Smugglers were said to be  at Araromi  and Badagry .

This may have  informed  why the Seme Deputy Customs Comptroller  had regularly led  Patrol Teams to police the Creeks and watersides in Badagry areas. An insider informed The Magazine that on two different occasions the smugglers had laid ambush  for the Seme Patrol Team but were disappointed as they were  overpowered forcing them  to flee.  An witness account informed The Magazine that that the smugglers were lucky to have escaped  as the Seme Patrol Team officers  led by the Customs Deputy Comptroller  could have killed one or two of them.

It was not surprising that when information  filtered out that some vehicles loaded with foreign rice and Poultry products  smuggled into the country allegedly from the Creeks had been  blocked along the Lagos –Seme Express Way by Usman Yahaya, the  acting Comptroller, FOU, Zone A, Operations and Lagos Roving Patrol Team, Rashid, the Seme Deputy Comptroller, had no option but to deploy two Patrol Teams and  equally made arrangement  for soldiers  to join the Teams to block  Elijah and Aradagun, to ensure that the smugglers would find it difficult to return to Badagry if the Contraband was from any of the Creeks in the area.

Yahaya:Forces High Profile Foreign Rice smugglers Underground

The Seme Command officers and men at the Agbara checkpoint including the FOU, Zone A, Border Drills, Lagos Zonal office and the CGC Strike Force and the  soldiers attached to the border Drill were said to have strategically positioned themselves to cage the smugglers.   They may have waited in vain as the smugglers could  not have come close to the Agbara  location as the Jack led  FOU, Zone A,  Operations and Lagos Patrol Team had effectively  blocked the Igbeleri Junction awaiting  for them.

The Jack led FOU, Zone  A ,Team  members, may have acted on information to block the Igbeleri Junction for the fireworks  and they got it right.The Team members were said to have stopped the smugglers with their Convoy of vehicles loaded with foreign bags of 50Kg each of  foreign rice and Poultry products. Jack and his boys may have succeeded s in intercepting four vehicles loaded with the Contraband items while another 50 of the vehicles loaded with the Contraband items were said to have made a U-turn  to an unknown location along the Lagos-Badagry Express Way.

The Magazine findings  shows that the vehicles load of smuggled rice and the poultry products may have entered into the country through the Creek at Iyana Iyana Isasi, Community, and the one  behind the Lagos Trade Fairs Complex . There are indications that the smugglers may have returned to their hideout at the Iyana Isasi Community and the Lagos Trade Fair Complex to evade arrest by Jack’s men who were said to have intercepted  four of  the vehicles.

 A  soldier at the Ojo  Catonment, along the Lagos-Badagry Express-Way, disclosed that if the Seme Command, FOU,Zone A, Border Drills, Lagos Zonal Officers and the CGC Strike Fore Team A, members, including the soldiers attached to the Border Drill at the Agbara check  and driven towards  the  Igbeleri Junction, to strengthen the FOU, Zone A, Team, the smugglers may  have found it difficult to escape with their Contraband to their hideout  at Iyana Isasi or the Lagos Trade Fair Complex, as they  could have fallen into the waiting hands of the Customs personnel from the Agbara  Checkpoint.

Indeed, the Igbeleri  Junction Operation   may have opened  Jack and his Team members eye to beam their searchlight at the Creeks and water sides  around Okomako , Iyana Isasi and Lagos Trade Fair Complex. The Igbeleri Junction open confrontation between the FOU, Zone A, personnel and the smugglers may have forced the foreign rice and poultry products smugglers to go underground in the recent time to avoid playing into Jack’s hands.

Stephen Ubanna

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