By Stephen Ubanna
For weeks , there had been rumours making the rounds that Shedi Wada, acting Comptroller, Seme Command and his Management Team with the Aapproval of hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has concluded arrangement to destroy the Condemned expired medicament and other items by the court.
The rumour became pronounced when the Contractor handling the digging of the pit for the destruction of the seized items mobilised on site with his Caterpillar and started work. Eye-witness account disclosed that the Seme acting Comptroller, who sometimes disguises himself, to lead a patrol Team was always on ground to monitor the level of work done.
Many believe that he had the time of frequenting the site because of the closeness to his official residence. Perhaps, when he became convinced that the Contractor has done a reasonable work and that he could not fail to deliver as promised on or before the Wednesday, June 17, 2020, set for the destruction of the Condemned expired medicaments and other items, he was encouraged to send out invitation letter to Heads of other security agencies personnel at Seme including Chairmen of the Badagry East, West and North Local government areas to witness the destruction of the Curt Condemned expired item s intercepted by the Command and certified by National Agency for Food And Drug Administration, NAFDAC, for Destruction.
The Value News cited the Commanding Officer, Nigeria Air Force, Forward Operation Base, Owode and the Chairman, Badagry East , Local government Area, including Some Traditional Rulers and Baales from the Owode Akpa axis at the destruction site. The Magazine also cited the Representative of the Director General of NAFDAC, Comptroller, Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, and the NIS, Comptroller, Border Patrol including the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Seme.
Given the tight security at the destruction site, the expired items which had been loaded into a Customs truck and brought to the sit awaiting for orders from Wada, the Seme Customs Comptroller for the casual labourers who had been engaged to do the evacuation were given the green light . . The Command senior officers and other security agencies personnel were on ground to monitor the removal of the items from the truck and thrown into the pit.
Wada, the Customs Comptroller had listed a total of 127 expired items , valued at about N168,383,511.00 for destruction. The expired items ranged from medicaments of different brands,Surps, Viju drink, waste animal hair, Diapers, Hydrogen peroxide solution, Nylon monofilament, Hydrocortizole injection, Apetamine syrup, refine sugar, including brown sugar.
The cartons of the banned Phamarceutical drug, Tramadol, that were said to have destroyed along -side the other items were said to have been seized from the smugglers on the Wednesday that had been set for the destryction of the expired items in one of the Command Operations.
An insider told The Magazine that these seized Condemned expired items could have been destroyed before now but it had to be Certified by NAFDAC which delayed it . It was not urprising why the Seme Customs boss could boldly welcome his invited quests to witness the destruction exercise on the appointed date.
‘’It is my pleasure to welcome you to witness the destruction of this seized expired goods ‘’, he remarked. He noted that the Customs Commitment to get the country rid of the illicit activities of smugglers who engage in smuggling illicit drugs, and other Contraband items remain unshakable. He was said to have assured the public that the Command , under his close watch ‘’remain absolute and determined to reduce the menace to the barest minimum’’.
This should embolden the Command Patrol Teams to step up their anti-smuggling Operations. The involvement by other agencies personnel in supporting the Customs anti-smuggling speaks volume. Only recently, the Civil Defense personnel were said to have intercepted a barge load of 150,000 Jerry cans of 25 litres each of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, Petrol.
The Civil Defense personnel seizure may have leaked out to Jack Okpabi, a Chief Superintendent of Customs, and Head of the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Gbaji Checkpoint. He was said to have mobolised his men were said to the adagry Creek, regarded in Customs circles as point of no return to take over control of the smuggled Jerry cans of petrol.
A Civil Defense officer involved in the Operation disclosed that initially they were not ready to handover the intercepted Jerrycans of petrol the FOU Team as demanded . The situation was so tense at the site that Jack , was said to have called for reinforcement from Seme Command.
It was gathered that Wada, the Seme Command Area Comptroller , did not hesitate in sending a reinforcement Team , to save the situation from degenerating. The Civil Defense reason, according to a source for refusing to hand it over to the Jack’s led FOU,Team was because of their insistence that the seized Jerrycans of petrol should be dropped at the nearest Command, whch is Seme.
But the FOU Zone A, Team leader who was not ready to bow to such pressure to let the Seme Command take Credit for the seizure had insisted on taking it to the Command premises at Ikeja, for documentation, as the Command promised to give the extract copies of the received items to the Civil Defense and the Seme Command Authorities.
As at press time both the Civil Defense and the Seme Command Authorities disclosed that they have not been given the extract copies of the seized 150, Jerry cans of petrol from the Badagry Creek of no return. A Civil defense operative who spoke to the Magazine on condition of anonymity said they are still awaiting for Usman Yahaya, the Command, acting Customs Comptroller, to keep to his promise of giving them their extract copies of the seized thousands Jerry cans of 25 litres each of petrol.
A Badary Youth who was at the scene of the incident, where the 150,000 of 25 litres each of petrol were intercepted by the Civil Defense described Jack, who led the FOU, Zone A, as a dogged fighter , who appear to be working according to the mandate giving to him by Yahaya, the Command Area Comptroller as he insited on taking the seized Jerry Cans of petrol to the FOU, Zone A, premises notwithstanding the pressure from the Seme Command with the backing of the Civil Defense who made the seizure to take it over.
Wada, the Seme Customs Comptroller could beat his chest that there is no input of the Border Drill , sector 1, CGC Strike Force or FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, input in Command controlled Government warehouse , despite the Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA, that says that all seized Contraband by any Customs Patrol Team must be deposited at the nearest Customs Command.
This may have informed why Wada, the Seme Command , acting Comptroller, may have pushed to take over control of the 150,000 25 litres each of petrol intercepted by the Civil Defense personnel at the Badagry point of no return. .