By Stephen Ubanna
Mohammed Aliyu, Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, and his anti-smuggling patrol team leaders across Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo and Osun, the six states in the
Barely two weeks of his redeployment to CGC Strike Force, as Coordinator , Zone A, Lagos, the Command made a spectacular seizure of two Container loads of hides and skin, at an undisclosed location been dried for export. The donkey skin, weighing 84,824Kg. was valued at about N1.5 billion. The Value News learnt that when the Comptroller was informed about the hides and Skin export business at the location where two Containers had already been loaded with it, he quickly mobilised his officers who laid ambush on the site.
The Customs Comptroller who was said to have liased with the Command Lagos Roving team, headed by Riks Lura, a Chief Superintendent of Customs, described as a fearless anti-smuggling officer, in Customs circles, and one Superintendent Ahmed , B, Ahmed , in-charge of its Strike Force to get the Containers and transfer it to the premises. Note that hides and Skin, is one of the items that had been banned by the Federal government for export.
There are indications that the prohibited items meant for export may have been intercepted by one of the Lagos Roving patrol teams led by one DSC. Apeni.This is evident by the cheerful look on the faces of some members of the team cited on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at the Command premises.
Insiders told The Value News that Riks, the officer in-charge of the Roving team, desscribed as the most effective and daring in the camand gave kudos to the officers for a job well-done.
Unconfirmed report disclosed that but for the quick intervention of Aliyu and his men, the exporter, who was said to have made adequate arrangement with the officers that would receive it at the export Seat at the undisclosed seaport in Lagos, would have succeeded in the deal.
This is because the prohibited cargo for export , which had been dried had already been loaded into two ”20” Container. in readiness for export to the Asian country of China, where the Customers, who are in touch with their African buyers had assured them that them there was there was no cause to worry . He got it wrong as the Containerised cargoes eventually fell into the waiting hand of FOU, Zone A, personnel
Aliyu may not have disclosed the actual location in the south west where the prohibited items were impounded to avoid filtering out to the suspects which might jeopardise its investigations that might other seizures and arrest of the suspects connected to the racket or get to the ears of CGC Strike Force as Yahaya may want to use it to shine to prove that that he was the power behind the major seizures in the Command. The FOU, Zone A, team, may not have arrested the Hides and Skin suspects as they are on the run with the Chinese agent.
Indeed, the look on Aliyu’s Face, last Wednesday, when he exposed the intercepted cargo to the public , speakes volume. Recall that he had made a promise to the Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel, a Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, earlier in the year of going to make seizures worth billions of Naira . The Command under his closewatch has made in five months, which may have boosted his rating among his counterparts in other FOUs, and Customs Comptrollers across the country.
Inspite of the billion Naira hide and skin seizure, the Command Lagos Roving team, under the close watch of Riks, may have made Aliyu, the Area Comptroller proud with the seizure of Pharmaceutical drugs and exotic smuggled vehicles , from the Republic of Benin found on the Lagos roads valued at over N16 million . The vehicles, insiders said are traced to some Car marts owned by notable VIPs. President Muhammadu Buhari, had banned the importation of vehicles and foreign parboiled rice, through the nation’s Land Borders on January 1st, 2019. The Katsina state born Nigerian President had made it clear that such imports must be made through the nation’s seaports.
But the Nigerian importers, who are not ready to do the right thing because of the high automotive charges, had preferred to engage the services of their Beninois counterparts who are very conversant with the various illegal routes in Ogun state to bring to smuggle such vehicles and foreign rice into the country. Recall that the Government had dedicated Five Star Terminal, PTML, at Tin can Island port and Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, for such Automotive imports.
Take the case of the PTML, the Concessionaire had made provision for two large car parks for keeping of such vehicle imports. One of the terminals was sited close to Tin can Island port while the second terminal was sited close to Mile 2. Movement to the terminals, according to agents who spoke to the Magazine are restricted. Only Customs, agents and terminal officials who have the identity card that could be recognised by the card reader are allowed entry into the site. It is not surprising why vehicles through the PTML terminals are very safe.
The thoroughness of Ibrahim
It was learnt that the PTML, vehicle releasing , has queried vehicle import documents where an alert had triggered from the Command Customs Processing Centre, CPC. Agents whose clients documents have k-leg would never forget their experience in a hurry when they encountered him in his office to see if their document had been signed would never forget their experience in a hurry , because of the Demand notice, DN, slammed on them.
Agents believe believed that the PTML terminal where Turaki , is one of the releasing officers is one of the best organised among the private terminals in the country. It is not surprising why the FOU, Zone A, Lagos Roving patrol teams or the CGC Strike Force, have not been able to intercept any vehicle linked to the terminal in the last six months. Most vehicle seizures released from the seaport had been linked to Tincan Island port. There was an incident of two exotic Mercedes vehicles in which the importer was given a DN, of N10 million.
The issuance of the DN to the unknown importer, though the agent, may have forced, Mahmud Ibrahim, an Assistant Comptroller, in-charge of the Command Compliance team, to read the riot -act to his men to more on the alert in scrutinising all import documents. On his part, he has made it a habit , no document leaves his office without proper scrutiny. It is not surprising why he has saved the country billions of naira since the beginning of the year to the surprise of Musa Abdullahi, the Area Comptroller, who many believed is very proud of him for blocking all the loopholes for revenue leakage in the Command.
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