By Stephen Ubanna
Between December 2021 and now, Bashir Mohammed Jibo, Comptroller,Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, had made the Creeks and Beaches , along the Seme Jurisdictions and Badagry axis, a nightmare for Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, Petrol, and drugs smugglers.
The Seme Customs Area Comptroller who had successfully repositioned the Command Operations and Patrol Teams, has also tightened up security and surveillance at the Creeks and Beaches, p. It was not surprising why the Petrol and Drug smugglers, are finding it difficult to to carry out their nefarious activities without playing into Jibo’s men whose anti-smuggling personnel are everywhere at the Seme and Badagry axis.
Indeed, the Seme Customs boss from the onset had made it clear to those engaged in illegal trading activities that they are going to face much difficulty including losing their Contraband goods to government if they failed to change.
Many of them, who believe that the Customs Comptroller will not seized their goods without the information filtering out to them through their insider sources may have been disappointed when they began to see faces in the Operations Unit, who were not known to them to Compromise by using third parties to do so.
With the matching Order given to one Assistant Coptroller Abubakar, overseeing the Command Operations Unit and the Patrol Team Leaders, to sit up and ensure that no Contraband enters or leaves the country, may have the Operation and Patrol Team Leaders and their Officers to be more more aggressive in their routine checks on vehicles coming into the country from the neighbouring West African country of Benin Republic.
While many of the Petrol smugglers, particular, have had a bleak Christmas as they could not succeed in smuggling hundreds of Jerry cans of Petrol, of 25 , litres , each to Benin, the situation may not have changed this new year. This is because Comptroller Jibo’s anti-smuggling Officers, who have dominated the Seme Jurisdictions and its environs have inflicted more pains and agonies, on the Petrol smugglers and Indian Hemp smugglers, particular, as they have continued to lose their investments , which runs into millions of naira.
The daring Petrol and drug smugglers may have felt at the back of their minds that Jibo’s Patrol Team Officers had relaxed after the Christmas and therefore, an opportunity to go back to doing what they know best: smuggling of imported subsidized Petroleum products meant for the Nigerian market to the Benin Republic market for their own pecuniary gain.
In turn, they may have zeroed in to smuggling into the country from the West African country of Ghana produced Indian Hemp or iported cocain from the South American Country of Brazil, through the Autonomous port of Benin, Cotonou , Bollore port, or any other port in the West African sub-region as transit cargo into Nigeria, described as the largest economy in Africa.
Only recently, the Command made a seizure of 11.913 kg of item suspected to be cocaine which was said to have been concealed with religious books. The suspected drug was said to have been discovered in a cross –border vehicle during a normal ‘’routine stop and search exercise around the Badagry area’’. There are indications that the 11 parcels of cocain smuggler may have pushed into the country either through the Creeks or any of the Beaches around Badagry axis, but the smugglers could not beat the Customs personnel to it.
The Customs Comptroller may have been convinced that it was cocain when a sample was handed over to Nurudeen Audu, the the Head, National agency For Food And Drug Administration, NAFDAC, at the Seme Joint Border Community who took it to the aency’s Lagos Laboratory office for test and verification to ascertain the type of drug The NAFDC officials, after their Laboratory analysis, were aid to have found it to be cocain weighing 11.913kg with the estimated street value of N3,916,624147.00.
The Command during the period was said have also intercepted 1,065 Jerrycans of Petrol of 25 litres each, equivalent 31,950 Litres or a tanker load of Petrol along the Badagry Creeks.
An appreciative Comptroller Jibo, accompanied Audu, Head of NAFDAC, at the Land Border and other senior officers of the Command had inspected the seized Contraband items. He was said to have also made the necessary report to the Lagos Zonal Office and to Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and the Comptroller General. The Command Operation and Patrol Team s could go enter into the rugged Creeks to track the smugglers with the help of the new Hilux Vans, numbering four, provided by Ali, the Comptroller General to the Command.
Hussaini Abdullahi, a Deputy Superintendent of Customs and the Command spokesperson, going by the valuation of the seized items by experts had put the Duty Paid Value ,DPV, N10,041,198.00 The January 26, 2022, is largest quantities of Petrol, that had been seized by the Command in the last two months. On January 12, 2022, the Command had intercepted 1,500 Jerry cans of Petrol, of 25 litres each, equivalent of 31,500 litres or a tanker load of petrol valued at about N7 million.
Last December, the Command Operations Team, which had been on the neck of the Petrol smugglers, had intercepted 1,050 Jerry cans of 30 litres each of Petrol each or 31,050, litres, which many believe was also equivalent of a Tanker load of Petrol, worth about N N5.4 million, along the Seme and Badagry Creek.