Customs: CGC Strike Force Makes N1.23 Billion In Two Months And 10 Days

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

 Smugglers operating within the Iseyin and Shaki axis’s of Oyo state including the porous borders across the various  local government areas in Ogun state who think  that they could take advantage of the outbreak of the Coronavirus which had become pandemic to smuggle  Contraband into the country  will be disappointed.

This is because the Comptroller General of Customs, CGC, Strike Force, Border Drill sector 1, Lagos Zonal office and The Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, are said to have mapped out strategies to frustrate their efforts. This is evident going by the strategies that had been put place by the CGC Strike Force, which is yielding result going by the quantity of Contraband seized  and  transferred  to the Government Warehouse, ikeja, on a weekly basis by the various Patrol Teams set up by Adba Kakud  acting Deputy Comptroller and  Coordinator of the Intervention Force.

 Indeed, the CGC Strike Force Team at  Ijebu-Ode,  Ogun state, appear to have become the  greatest headache   of smugglers operating  in the south west geo-political region as they  have been stopped severally with their  smuggled Contraband that they could not  access the south-south states of Edo, Delta or the south east states of Anambra Imo and Abia.

Perhaps what may  have made the Ijebude Ode  CGC Strike Force Team case very interesting was the fact that there are other Teams from the Border drill sector 1,  and the  Federal Operational Unit, FOU, Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos, at the checkpoint.  Given the fact  that Kakud ,the Coordinator of the CGC Strike force who  had   understood  that smuggling is a seasonal activity, he was using it to his advantage as he has put  Patrol Teams on the red alert in the discharge of their duties.

 Described as a thorough bred anti-smuggling officer, the CGC, Strike Force, Zonal Coordinator was said to have given a matching order  to  the Patrol  Teams to go all out for the  smugglers  and dispossess  them of their smuggled Contraband into the country.

Seized contraband Vehicle

It was not surprising why the Teams were said to have been competing over the last two months to make seizures  and  transfer  to the Government Warehouse at Ikeja in order to win the heart of the Coordinator.  In spite of the Contraband seizures being made by the Teams, their major setback remains means of Conveyance to the Warehouse, .

 According to insider sources, the CGC Strike Force, major problem  remains  problem of  insufficient  operational vehicles, that had made  it difficult for the Patrol Teams  to transfer with ease Contraband seizures  to the  Government Warehouse  at Ikeja. More  worrisome was the number of dilapidated and broken down Operational vehicles that liter the premises, begging for repairs.

The Value News findings shows that in the last one month there had  been intense  struggle for the few available operational vehicles by the various  Teams. The Staff officer, one Enemuo, a Superintendent of Customs, was said to have been cracking his brain on a daily basis on how to meet the demand of the patrol Team Leaders.

  The Magazine cited one of the Patrol Team Leaders, Esiet, a Chief Superintendent of Customs, at the CGC Strike Force, on Wednesday, March 27, 20120. Esiet, the officer in-charge of the Baji Checkpoint, along the Lagos –Seme  Expressway may not have come to solicit for operational vehicle for his Team because of the low smuggling activities in the area,.

This may have been  necessitated   by the border closure across the country with the neighbouring countries of Benin, Niger and  the Central African country of Cameroon. Note that the bulk of the CGC Strike Force, Lagos Zonal office,  Contraband seizures were said to have been made at the Ijebu Ode checkpoint.

   Given the dearth of Operational vehicles, the Ijebu Ode Checkpoint Team leader, was said to have be making alternate arrangement on how  transfer  seized Contraband to the government Warehouse at Ikeja. There are indications that other Teams leaders  who could not  get vehicles allocation from the Staff officer to take their seized goods to the Strike Force  Operational base at the Customs Training College, Ikeja, had resorted to the  Ijebu Ode team leader style of doing so: make alternate arrangements.   It is working out as the transfer of seized Contraband to the Government Warehouse at Ikeja are no longer being delayed, an officer remarked .

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, had banned the importation of  foreign parboiled rice and vehicles  through the land borders across the country last year to ensure patronage of Nigerian ports by the Importers who had relocated to Benin Terminal ,Contonou and Bollore port in Benin Republic  as well as the ports in Togo, Ghana and other Countries in The West African Sub-region to take delivery of their transit  cargoes on January 1st, 2017.

 This may have given ammunition to the Kakud boys  to  really go out for the smugglers. This is evident going by the items that was said to have been  transferred to the Ikeja Government Warehouse between January 4th and March 21st, 2020.vehicles. The items, according to an insider ranges from  Foreign par boiled rice, Vvegetable oil, unregistered Pharmaceutical  drugs, premium motor sprit, PMS, popular, petrol, Poultry products to  fairly used vehicles.Others are truck tyres, bales of second hand clothing, used ladies bags, used shoes, used tyres and different cartons of Longrich products.

The value of the Contraband that were said to have been seized by the CGC Strike Force, various Patrol Teams in Lagos was put at about N637.2 million. The Strike Force under the close watch of  Kakud was said to have also recovered about N588.6 million for the government. This is the amount which could have entered into private pockets both for the intervention of the CGC Strike Force.

Putting together  the  N737.2  million , being the value of the seized contraband and the N588.8 million recovered lost funds, according to a Revenue officer, brings the  cumulative amount  generated by the CGC Strike Force, Lagos Zonal office, alone, between January 4, 2020  and March 21, 2020, to about N1.23 billion.

  The good news was that Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has   a copy of the report of the Contraband seizures and the DN   given out to fraudulent importers which makes it difficult for any record to be altered.

 It is instructive to note that the anti-smuggling efforts of the  Border Drill, sector 1, FOU, Zone A and CGC Strike Force, in the south west rgion, may have have force smugglers operating in the region  to devise new  strategies to ensure that Smuggled Contraband land  at their destinations.  Those of  them who had succeeded  in going through Ondo axis in Ondo state were said to have been unlucky to fall into the waiting hands of Comptroller Kayode Olusemire of  the FOU, Zone C, Patrol teams. TheFOU, Zone C, Patrrol Teams, may have intensified their anti-smuggling drive in the  south-south and south east as  Olusemire regularly visists them at their various locations to boost their effort. A soruce disclosed that he was usually accompanied on the visits by Ahmadu Shuaibu, a Deputy Comptroller, in-charge of the Command Operations.

 This may have informed why the Benin City, Edo state, Government Ware house is filled with smuggled goods from Benin Republic, particular, foreign parboiled  rice and used vehicles. This is in addition to containers, both ‘’20’’ and ‘’40’’ allegedly cleared  at  the Lagos seaports but  intercepted by his men on the road.

CGC patrol Team Intercepted Bales Of Clothing

 Investigations by the Magazine shows that some of the  Containers and vehicles cleared from the Lagos port  which fell into the waiting hands of the Olusemire’s  boys on the road,  were found to have breached the government Fiscal policy. The importer  and the  agent with the connivance of the importers bank  had shortchanged the government in the payment of duty.  Underpayment is one of the major problem of Lagos seaports. 

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