Customs: How Ag. Compt. Shuaibu Restores Sanity At Ogun I, Command; Seizes 30 Exotic Vehicles Loaded With Foreign Rice , Within 48 Hours And Not Days As  Alleged

By Stephen Ubanna

Adewale Aeniyi, MFR, Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, appears to have found an answer in dealing decisively with the unrepentant VIP smugglers, operating between Nigeria and the neighbouring West African country of Benin Republic , through Ogun, home state of former President Olusegun Obasanjo with the deployment of Ag. Compt. Ahamadu Shuaibu to Ogun I, an interventionist Unit, from Ogun II, Abeokuta, last September.

Like an officer initially standing on one leg in a new environment to study the situation o ground, informed sources told The Value News that Acting Comptroller Shuaibu , who does not rush into taking actions  first move in Ogun I ,  was to restore sanity  at the Ogun I, the Command , Idiroko, by streamlining the number of  Customs  checkpoints to enhance trade facilitation in the state.

The source disclosed that having succeeded in reducing the Command 32 checkpoints in the state he had met on ground  to a manageable  five  and equally   moved  the checkpoint  and the Patrol Team Leaders and their  members from one operational base to another, may have informed why he also tinkered with  the officers in the Command office complex  as he was said to have  moved some of them to the field to have a taste of what anti-smuggling operations is all about.

A senior Police officer who spoke to The Magazine on condition of anonymity disclosed that they were not surprised at what Ag. Comptroller Shuaibu has done within the short period in office to give room to other officers to do the job. This may have paod off.

An insider told the online Magazine that Ag. Comptroller Shuaibu has continued to be applauded by other security Chiefs in the state, including past and present Director of Department of State Security, DSSS, in the state for taking the bold initiative.  Many believe that the Ogun I, Ag. Comptroller could achieve all that because the Command officers from the onset had pledged their’’ loyalty to him’’.

The unrepentant VIP smugglers, operating between the two West African countries of Nigeria and Benin, who uses exotic vehicles, particular, High Lander Jeeps and SIEENA, to smuggle the Asian country of Thailand, foreign par boiled rice and other Contraband  into the country may have taken advantage that the Ogun I, Area Comptroller is new and may not have known much about the state to dare him. They got it wrong. 

Idiroko Land Border

Given that Customs anti-smuggling operations is intelligence -driven may have informed why the Customs Comptroller had to gone back to the drawing board to re-enact what he did at the defunct Headquarters Strike Force, Team A, Ikeja, Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre, as the Zonal Coordinator. He was said to have given the unprocessed wood and wild life smugglers tough time, causing them to lose billions of naira of the smuggled Contraband to the government at various times.

It was not surprising why the Ogun I, Area Controller   made the   landmark Contraband seizures of over 30 vehicles, mostly exotic vehicles  loaded with several bags of 50Kg each of  foreign rice from Benin Republic  meant for the Nigerian market within 48 hours and not days as alleged. As at the time, Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General  came to address the press at Abeokuta, on October 7, 2023,  on the invitation of   the Ogun I, Command, Area Controller had had made 3,129 bags of 50 Kg, each of foreign rice which included the hundreds of bags of rice found in the seized 30 Exotic vehicles.

The seizures of the 30 Exotic vehicles loaded with foreign par boiled rice were said to have been executed at various Locations in the south eastern state  areas of  Papa/Ajegune, which is closer to Idiroko, the Command  operational base , Ilaro road, close to Inhunbo outstation, and  Imasayi/Joga road,  amongst others.

 The VIP smugglers were said to have made efforts to compromise the officers who had stopped the exotic vehicles for routine check but the drivers’ conduct was very suspicious, showing that they have something to hide. Unknown to them    the information about the contents of the intercepted vehicles have filtered out into the ears of the Ogun I, Customs Comptroller. 

The no non-nonsense Ag.  Customs Comptroller who had seen his posting to Ogun I, which is basically an interventionist Unit, as’’ a call for higher responsibility’’ and had vowed to give the smugglers a battle of their life in keeping with the mandate of the Customs Comptroller, may have kept to the promise.

He was said to have thundered to the Patrol Team Leader and their officers, who had intercepted the alleged 30 exotic vehicles loaded with foreign rice to ensure that the vehicles were transferred to the Command premises at Idiroko  or Abeokuta, the Ogun II, Command premises with their content intact as prove.

Unconfirmed report said that some of the VIP vehicles used as means of conveyance of the foreign smuggled par boiled rice were transferred to Ogun II, Command, Abeokuta, premises where there is a built Government Warehouse to keep seized Contraband items. It was gathered that some of the intercepted exotic vehicles loaded with their foreign rice  were taken equally to the Command premises, Idiroko.

While acting Compt. Shuaibu and his officers are still celebrating the seizure of the 30 exotic vehicles allegedly loaded with foreign rice within 48 hours, as at, Tuesday, October 24, 2023, another 19 of such exotic vehicles, with its contents still intact to show as prove at the appropriate time to the public, that they were smuggled into the country are still being detained at Idiroko  as a lesson to other VIPS’ who may want to indulge in such nefarious activities in the future.

Those who had expected the Ogun I, Customs Comptroller to present the intercepted exotic vehicles fully loaded with foreign rice are to the Customs Comptroller General at Abeokuta On Friday, October, 7, 2023, are yet to come to terms why the Customs Comptroller failed to do so.

There is no gain saying the fact that the Customs Area Controller may not have seen any reason to do so to avoid playing into the hands of those who do not like his aggressive anti-smuggling drive which is already telling on the smugglers and sponsors.

 Enough on the Command anti-smuggling operations. We turn to how he has been able to give a facelift to the Command office complex He was said to have repainted the office complex  g at Idiroko that a visitor calling at the Command for the first time would be shocked at the state of the building: looking new .

He was said to have repeatedly made it clear to the officers and men of the Command that ‘’to whom much is given much is expected of him’’, meaning that as the Management  expect nothing less from them but improved performance in that should reflect on the Command’s revenue generations and anti-smuggling operations.

Officers and men of the Command who have had read his body language may have seen that he meant every of his spoken word that they have cued into his policy to avoid playing into his hands.  Vintage Shuaibu. 

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