FOU:How Acting Comptroller Ejibunu Escaped Death As A Younger Officer, Gives Top Priority To Security Issues

By Stephen Ubanna

 Not many people knew much about the antecedents of acting Comptroller Kehinde Hussain Ejibunu, as a younger officer. During the periodhe was said to have led Patrol Teams at the Federal operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, at  various times, there were reports making the rounds that the Team made things very difficult for the smugglers who were always losing their smuggled goods. that were frquetly transferred to the Government warehouse, Ikeja. 

 A retired senior officer who confided in The Value News disclosed that in one of the operations in which the FOU, Zone A, acting Customs Comptroller had led in one of the south west states in the past, acting on information to confront the daredevil smugglers, how he and his Team members escaped was still miraculous.

 The retired officer revealed that in one of the operations the smugglers who were dispossessed of their goods but armed to the teeth, had trailed the the young Ejibunu Team because of their determination to smuggle into the Nigerian market their smuggled contraband from the neighboring West African country of Republic. The younger Ejibunu, as an officer  and his Team members, were said to have frustrated them that they could not have their way even at the risk of their live.

Aware that there are many unapproved routes that could be used by the smugglers to make do their plan of taking their smuggled Contraband imported through the Autonomous port of Benin, Cotonou, into the Nigerian market, may have informed why the younger Ejibunu, described by his Team members as a ‘’Field Marshall in the bush’’, were said to to have stayed in the bush for almost a week feeding on bread and , without water to freshen up daily. It was a bad case but the the younger Ejibunu and his Team memebers were determined to susceed.

The Team, members were said to have made do with the sachets of pure water which they had bought on their way to the bush for the operation.  According to the rtired senior officer, who spoke to The Magazine on condition of annoynymity the Team membes were said to have used the sachets of water throughout their period in the bush to freshen up daily and also brush their teeth before going out for anothe day’se operation within the bush.

This is just one of the incidents that was said to have brought out Ejibunu, as one of the best Enforcement officers that Customs has ever produced over the years that is the category of Retired Comptroller Victor Dimka, Comptroller Mohammed Adamu and Deputy Comptroller Mahmood Ibrahim, who is currently serving at Port Harcourt, Area II, Command. Onne, Rivers state.

There was also another job-related operations, over the past years, that was said to have exposed the FOU, Zone A, acting Comptroller, to death in the hands of the smugglers as a younger officer but miraculously escaped, fueling speculations making the rounds that he is an officer with nine lives. It is not surprising why he takes the issue of security very serious as acting Comptroller of FOU, Zone A.

He may have taken the first few months in office as the Area Controller of the Interventionist Unit, to study the security situation at the command which officers had said bordered mostly on too many visitors coming into the premises and moving from office to office, particular, on Fridays to beg for money including petty traders selling their wares, thus turning the Command into a market place. There were also set of visitors parading around the office command from morning til evening on a daily basis doing nothing. The enforcement officers around the sandbags within the exit gate may have put a close tab and occassionally shouting at them to leave but that was how far they could go.

 The Value News took time out on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, to monitor what was actually happening around the Command premises and what may have prompted the Area Controller, to take such a bold security initiative to restrict movement into the premises except on appointment.

The Close Circuit Cable Television, CCTV, mounted in the Customs Comptroller’s office office may have given him a clear idea of the security lapses around the Command and that there are people who resume and close along the same time with the officers in the evening with no defined mission on a daily basis. He has no option but to come out with the new security measure to restrict movement of visistors in and out o the premises.

He may have taken the decision to avoid giving room to the hoodlums taking advantage of throwing its door open to visitors to trail operational officers to their house or handouts for daring to dispossess them of their smuggled foreign parboiled rice, vehicles and other contraband into the country.

There is no gain saying the fact the new security measure being implemented  by the Command Enforcement Unit  appears to have restored sanity as only visitors who have appointment with  any officer including the Area  Controller are allowed into the premises on a daily basis. The Journalist are not left out as they have to fall in line with the new security order.

In a way this has forestalled the smugglers who may want to pretend normal visitors or freight Forwarders whose clients’ Containers were intercepted on the road and subsequently transferred  to the Command premises for re-examination due to alleged to wrong classification, concealment , underpayment and other infractions to gain entry into the premises to facilitate the release of the Consignment.

Aware that most of the crimes  are committed at night may have forced why the Customs Comptroller was said to have given a matching order to Uloko Jacob,a Deputy Comptroller, overseeing the Command Enforcement Unit and who in turn was said to have  directed an Assistant Comptroller in Department, next to him, to ensure that the Area Controller’s directive  was carried out to the latter.   

  Deputy Comptroller Uloko, led Enforcement Unit, was said to have drawn up a roaster for the patrol officers whose job is to parade the entire perimeter of the Command fencing around the Ikeja office complex.

 An insider confirmed that the Customs  acting Comptroller, regularly disguises himself  at night by taking out  one of his small vehicles  without his security details to monitor what is happening around the office environment and to ensure that that the new security measures are being implemented by the officers as directed.

On Tuesday, August 31, 2022, the FOU, Zone A, Area Controller, was said to have taken time out by 12, midnight to drive around the office environment. He was said to have discovered that the Patrol Team , that was said to be on duty were no where to be found.An eyewitness account disclosed that he had stayed close to an hour around the Command office environment but the patrol Team officers never showed up. Information may have filtere out that the Customs Comptroller was around the office Complex forcing them to go into hiding.

 The Magazine could not ascertain whether the FOU, Zone A, acting Comptroller, put a call through to the DC, overseeing the the Unit about the development or kept it as a closely guided secret to himself. Many believe that acting Comptroller could take such risk because he is a ‘’thorough –bred Enforcement officer who knows his onion.

  For those who may be criticizing the FOU, Zone A, Customs boss, for tightened up security round the Command  and its environs, they may have to do a  rethink as it has become very necessary in the present Circumstances to do by FOU, Zone A, Area Controller. He was said to have repeatedly those that cares to listen that he has nothing to hide as he believes in the law. Recall that former President Goodluck Jonathan, had signed into Law Freedom of Information Bill, while still in office in June, 2011.

Former President Jonathan: Signed Freedom Of Information Bill Passed By The National Assembly Into Law

While acting Comptroller Ejibunu, appears to have given top priority to the issue of security, he will not want the image of the Command to be dragged to the mud by any officer in the discharge of his or her Legitimate duties by extorting money from Importers with their agents or in aid and abet smugglers.

 There was an unconfirmed case that was said to have got to the ears of the Customs Controller recently that some officers in the Command Operations and Lagos Roving Team had collected money from an agent to pass the client’s goods, believed to have contravened the government Fiscal policy.

 It was gathered that both not for the intervention of Mohammed Abdullahi, an Assistant Comptroller and the Head of the Team may have saved the situation as he had dismissed the allegation as untrue before the Area Comptroller.

 Recall that at  the recent retreat and Workshop,  of the League  of Maritime Editors, at ASCON, Badagry, in the outskirts of Lagos,  B.A. Isiaku, a Deputy Comptroller, who was said to have represented the FOU, Zone A, Area Controller, had said that  ”the planned deployment of ‘’drones  and other technologically advanced equipment, along the nation’s  land borders , will go a long way ‘’to reduce to the barest minimum , allegations of extortion regularly   leveled against officers  on patrol in order to give the Command a bad names as there will no basis for bodily contact in the trans-border trade by the parties any longer’’

The FOU, Zone A, Area Controller, who could not hide his feelings had reportedly said that given the planned deployment of the Customs  drones and other technologically advanced facilities along the border routes, ‘’it will assist the Command  to effectively  cover the 140 illegal routes and difficult terrains  in Ogun, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, home state and other unapproved routes  in Oyo, Osun and Ekiti states in the south west geopolitical region and completely force the economic saboteurs out of business. Vintage Ejibunu.  

1 thought on “FOU:How Acting Comptroller Ejibunu Escaped Death As A Younger Officer, Gives Top Priority To Security Issues

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