Ogun 1: Acting Compt. Shuaib Deals Severe Blows On Smugglers, Causing Them Monumental Loses

By Stephen Ubanna

When Deputy Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu, Area Controller, Ogun 1, Command, declared on September 18, 2023, at Idiroko, while taking over from Compt. Bamidele Makinde, that he is a team player, smugglers   who took advantage of the numerous creeks scattered all over the south western state of Ogun various border Communities between Nigeria and Benin Republic knew that it is no longer going to be business as usual.

Officers and men of the Command may have read the Customs Acting Comptroller body language   that they have to cue into the team work spirit and adhere to the rules of engagement and discharge their duties in conformity with the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Act, 2023 to avoid playing into his hands.

Acting Compt. Shuaibu may have used the opportunity provided at the handover ceremony on September 18, 2023, ‘’to sound a note of warning to the smugglers’’, regarded in business circles as economic saboteurs and their accomplice that ‘’their nefarious activities in Ogun, former President Olusegun Obasanjo home state would not be condoned and anyone caught in the act would be brought to book’’.

Intercepted bags of Foreign rice& pneumatic tyres by Ogun I, Command

Smugglers operating between the Nigeria border state and the neighbouring Benin Republic may   have taken advantage of the Ogun 1, Area Controller decision to reduce the number of the Command checkpoints, inherited from his predecessor from 32 to manageable 5, to continue their nefarious activities in October, 2023, that Acting Comptroller Shuaibu has fully taken over as the Command new helmsman.

As a prelude to dealing decisively with the cross-border smugglers, the no nonsense Acting Compt.  Shuaibu, was said to have put the necessary measures in place to improve on the existing synergy and collaboration with the sister security agencies in the state. He was said to have paid familiarization visits, accompanied by some Management Team members to the Directors of the Department of State Security, DSS, Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA, and Commissioner of Poilice of the state Police Command, Head of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Commander, Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army and 192 Battalion Rear of the Army, in the state. 

True to his earlier promise ‘’to sustain the tempo of anti-smuggling operations in the state’’, may have encouraged him to move into action to the deal with the smugglers between October, 2023, and now.   Indeed, the rousing receptions in all the areas visited which included the Palaces of Alake of Egbaland, the Olota and Paramount Ruler of  Aworiland and the Oniko of Ikolaje  Kingdom, Idiroko, speaks volume.

Many believe that the Ogun 1, Area Controller could go all out to deal with the smugglers operating between the Nigeria border Communities in Ogun state and Benin Republic because he had ‘’secured the Paramount rulers, border Community Leaders and the people’s reassurances   of their continuous support   and good working relationship’’ with the Command.

The Customs Area Controller may have had at the back of his mind that ‘’the economic well-being and security of the nation is a serious business and should not be compromised’’ that he operates an ‘’open-door policy’’, which security experts believe  is ‘’to accommodate the support of patriotic   Nigerans  through sharing of useful information  to facilitate genuine trade  and enhance the service operations generally’’.

Leveraging on technology to impound Contraband goods in the Nigerian border state, the Ogun 1, Command, Customs Acting Comptroller had said that ‘’in its resolve   to deal decisively with the smugglers the Command ant-smuggling war had led to a record of 122 seized Contraban items.

Intercepted Vehicle loaded with foreign rice by Ogun I, patrol team officers

   The seized Contraband items by the Ogun I, Command, comprises, according to the Customs Acing Comptroller   of 901 parcels of Cannabis Sativa, popular, Indian hemp, 500 pieces of foreign -used Pneumatic or fairly used tyres, 4,684 bags of 50Kg each of the Asian country of Thailand parboiled rice and the Indian Agricultural rice, which marketers had said is equivalent to eight trucks load of rice in  October , 2023.

Acting Compt. Shuaibu may have shocked Nigerians when he disclosed that the Command anti-smuggling team members who act on instruction, simply all the smugglers to evacuate the items from the Creeks to the particular location that had been agreed with the dealer and move it to the government warehouse without any exchange of bullet that may result in a smuggler being killed that may turn the heat against the service. Perhaps to avoid shedding of blood in future, the Ogun I, Command, Customs boss has appealed to the Youths of the border Communities to stop aiding and abetting the smugglers for their pecuniary gains and embrace education to fill the vacant positions that had been left for them at the sate and Federal levels.   

The Customs Compt. had confirmed that the Command anti-smuggling officers on the road   intercepted vehicles used as a means of Conveyance by the smugglers.  This in addition to addition to \the interception of an additional five additional fairly used foreign vehicles. Much of the intercepted vehicles and means of Conveyance of the Contraband goods are said to have been deposited at Ogun II, Command premises, Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital for safe keeping.

A senior Customs officer who spoke to the Value News on condition of anonymity disclosed that Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, Comptroller General, NCS, who had thrown his weight behind the Interventionist units across the country to checkmate the activities of the economic saboteurs had provided the Command eight additional patrol vans to complement its existing stock.

Enough of the Command anti-smuggling operations in one moth. We turn to its revenue generation in the one month under review as stated by the Customs Area Controller. The Command was said to have generated a total sum N30,408,276.60, through Baggage Assessment and Auction Sales of seized Premium Motor Spirit, popular, petrol, bringing to 255,418,112.10, between January and October 2023.

A top official of the Ogun 1, Command who could not his feelings had said that the over N30 million collected by the Command in October, 2023, shows a significant increase   of N24,921,200.00, which was 400% increment when compared with the N5,487,076.00 collected  within the same period in 2022,  during the Administration of Compt. Makinde, who has been deployed to the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, FCT.

The Customs Headquarters had set a revenue target of N136,532,168.00 million for Command in the 2023, fiscal year based on its N3.6 trillion target set by Former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration for the service.

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