Customs: Giving Gunrunners Tough Time

Stephen Ubanna

Gunrunners who think that they can take advantage of the activities of the  Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram, in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe  and the Bandits  operations in the  north west states of Zamfara, Kaduna and katsina , to sell their guns and  live Cartridges  would be disappointed

. This is because the Federal Operation Units, FOUs, mobile Patrol teams across the country are out for them. The FOUs Area Comptrollers and their Patrol  team  Leaders  who may have gone back to the drawing board to restrategise on how to deal with the Contraband  smugglers appear to have got it right.

Given that the south west, major smuggling routes between Benin Republic and Nigeria  had  been totally blocked by  Usman Yahaya, the, acting Comptroller , FOU, Zone, A, and his boys, the arms  smugglers who may have relocated to the north west may have  found the use of the Creeks and watersides  in Kebbi and Sokoto states a safe route to use to carry out their nefarious activities. This is because  the major  roads linking the state state and other states in the region are no go  areas because of the large presence Customs Personnel and other security operatives.

FOU, Zone B, Seized Local Guns Concealed In a Truck Load Of Rice In Kebbi State

Not that attempts   by a gun runner to  smuggle  73 locally manufactured guns and 891 live  Cartridges, along Yauri  in the Zamare waterside  area of Kebbi, described as a home of rice growers, was forestalled by the FOU, Zone B,  Patrol team officers.

 Acting on a credible information, the FOU, Zone B, Patrol team, officers , who were strategically positioned  along the Yauri  Zamare waterside area, were said to have intercepted the fully loaded truck conveying the arms  Contraband into the country.

Eyewitness account said the driver had initially resisted stopping when he was flagged down by the Customs  Patrol team on the ground  that he was not carrying anything offensive. When the driver eventually stopped, t Patrol team officers , impressed it upon the him that the truck  must be searched because of the way the bags of rice were loaded which were very suspicious .

Imported Live Cartridges Seized By FOU, Zone B, Customs Command At Kebbi state

Unknown to the drive and the motor boy, of the truck,   sacks of   locally manufactured guns and live Cartridges  had been Concealed  under the bags of rice loaded in the truck . The truck driver and the motor boy  were   shocked when the Customs  Patrol team officers found sacks of locally made guns and  live Cartridges in their truck, which going by the country’s fiscal policy , were Contraband. The content of the sacks were counted and found to contain 73 local guns and 891 cartridges.

The truck driver, the motor boy and one other person who was  in the truck, may have known that the game  was  up when they were promptly arrested  and taken to the Command Headquarters in Kaduna, where they were detained.  Joseph Attah, a Deputy Comptroller and Customs spokesperson said, the three detained suspects are helping the service in its ongoing preliminary investigation into the matter.

The  interception of the truck conveying  the 73 locally manufactured guns and imported  live Cartridges appears to have elevated the profile of Hamisu Albashir, the Command Area Comptroller, who has described ‘’the feat  as a signal  to those planning  to smuggle small and light arms including other  harmful items into the  country through the zone that it is no longer going to be business as usual’’ as his  men on the alert.

 Appealing to residents of the Border Communities with Niger Republic, not to hesitate to provide Credible information to the Command on smuggling of Contraband into the country into the country  through the zone, he opined that ‘’it is the only way  to ensure effective border security in the state.

Recall that in September 2018, the FOU, Zone C, with Headquarters in Owerri, Imo state, mobile Patrol team   had  intercepted  a truck with military hardware Concealed in it. The then Area Comptroller, of the Command,  Kayode Olusemire,  who is now the Comptroller, Enforcement, at the Abuja, Customs Headquarters ,  had confirmed that  the items found in the truck include 90 pairs  of military camouflage uniform,  97 pairs of military camouflage jungle hats, 202  pieces  of military camouflage  neck vest, 20 pieces of military  singlet, 40 pieces of military  camouflage jungle boats and 10 pieces of military camouflage  water bags.

Also,  last June, the Command, mobile Patrol team,   led by Ahmadu Shuaibu, a Deputy Comproller, who is  now the Coordinator, Comptroller General of Customs, Strike Force, Team A, Lagos,  intercepted   over 3,000  cartridges  of live cartridges   at a checkpoint  located  along the  Elele-PortHarcourt  road in the  oil-rich Rivers state, described as home of cultists.

   The live cartridges were said to have been Concealed   by the gunrunner in a vehicle  conveying goods  from the Anambara state Commercial nerve centre of Onitsha to the oil city of PortHarcourt but fell into the waiting hands of Olusemire’s men on the road.   The two persons who were  conveying the cartons of the live cartridges  were said to have been  arrested  as the Command intensified its preliminary investigation  to apprehend the importers.

 Customs sources told The Value News that with the recent seizure of the 73 locally made guns  and  hundreds of live cartridges  along the Yauri  Zaamare waterside  area in the north west Kebbi state,  Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel  and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has given a matching order to the  Area Comptrollers in the Land border  Areas, FOUs, Zonal Coordinators of the Border Drills and Coordiantors of the various Teams of the CGC, Strike Force and their men, to tighten up security in their areas of jurisdictions and ensure that the  their mobile Patrol teams effectively police  the illegal routes including the Creeks and  watersides used by the smugglers to carry out their smuggling activities in the  border  states.

The Customs boss, order according insiders  has become very necessary because of the recent attack of Ogu  and Tegina Communities  in Rafi local government area of Niger, home state, of former military President Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and Abdulsalami Abubakar, also  a retired Army General and former Head of state. The gunmen were said to have abducted 19 people  in  the two north west  state Communities and killed  one Jeremiah Ibrahim,  a Pastor of Evangelical  Church  Winning All,ECWA, brach, in  Kuta  , an act that had been condemned by Nigerians from both religious divide.

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