By Stephen Ubanna
For weeks , there have been rumors making the rounds that the Seme Command, Operations Team, under the close watch of Abubakar Dankigari, an Assistant Comptroller, has set a trap for the Premium Motor Spirit, PMs, , popular, Petrol, or fuel in local parlance, operating within the reeks in Seme Jurisdictions and Badagry axis.
The Customs Assistant Comptroller, who hardly wears Customs Uniform in carrying out his surveillance Operations with the support of his informants hardly stay in the office to attend to routine office matters. The only language he understands is how to make contraband seizures to run the economic saboteurs out of business.
He may have used the services of his informants to penetrate the ranks of the Petrol smugglers in within Seme Jurisdiction and Badagry axisis to know when they would arrange to make their next supplies to the neighboring country of Republic of Benin Customers through the Creeks or beaches. He was aid to have also put his Operations and the Command anti-Bunkering officers on the red alert to ensure that no Jerry can of petrol of 25 litres, leaves the country to Benin either by road or through the Creeks or beaches.
Informed sources told The value News that theseizure that the hundreds of jerrycans of Petrol of 25 litres each that was made by the Team, last year and early this year may have have the smugglers to go underground smuggler and to withdraw temporarily from the business.
Information leaked out that strange men always patrol the Creek environment that was used in taking supplies out to the Benin Customers. They may have had at the back of their mind that the Seme Command Operations Team personnel may have relaxed as they were no longer getting information on the movement of the strange men around the Creeks that may have encouraged them to put their next Consignment on the road to the Creek en-route to Benin. they got it wrong.
The Seme Command Assistant Comptroller and his officers, who had put the Creek to be used by the smugglers under close surveillance had allowed the smugglers to get the hundreds of Jerry cans of Petrol, of 25, litres each, to a point of no return even if they see Uniform men, may have encouraged them to strike with little or no resistance from the smugglers.
Many believe that one good thing about Assistant Comptroller Dankingari’ and his men was keeping to themselves their plans. Until they conclude an Operation, in any part of Seme or Badagry, it would never leak out to avoid given room to the Federal Operations Unit, FOU Zone A, anti-bunkering officers, or the Headquarters Strike Force Team A, and Border Drills, Lagos Zone Office personnel at Gbaji check point to chase the same goods and pave the way for the smuggler to escape.
In setting up the Team, Comptroller Mohammed Bello Jibo, who is known in Customs circles as a disciplinarian and very Calm person knew that the only way the Team could succeed in their operation is to keep a closely guided their planned operations.
An insider told The Magazine that he is not the type of Area Comptroller that is crazy that his Patrol Team Leaders or those on Special Assignment to brief him before setting out for the Operation. The source disclosed that all he is after is result. It is not surprising why the Patrol Team Leaders and those at the approve Checkpoints under the jurisdictions of the Command are making efforts on a daily basis to make spectacualar Contraband seizures, ranging from vehicles,, Neighboring country of Ghana grown Indian Hemp, Tramadol, Codeine Tablets and Syrups and other banned dangerous Pharmaceutical drugs, second hand clothing, foreign refined foreign Vegetable Oil including Foreign par boiled rice and Agricultural Rice, from the Asian countries of Thailand and India respectively.
The seizure of 1,300 Jerry cans or about 39,000 litres of petrol, which is more than a Tanker load of petrol by six litres, by AC Dankingri and his officers on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, bear eloquent to the fact that the petrol smugglers who had seen the Creeks and Beaches, around the Seme Jurisdictions and Badagry axis as a haven to carry out their nefarious activities are losing out.
In making the hundreds of Jerrycans of 25 Litres each of Petrol along the various Creeks and Beaches around Seme jurisdiction and Badagry, Assistant Comptroller Dankigari and his officers have made the Cross –border Petrol smugglers to lose about N13 million, being the Duty Paid Value, DPV, of the product to the government. This is money that may have been borrowed from the Bank to venture into the lucrative business of smuggling of Jerry cans of petrol, 25 litres each from Nigeria to Republic of Benin.
Many had expected that with the increase in the pump price of Petrol from N165.00 to N188.00 per liter, depending the filling station would have discouraged the Petrol smugglers from risking their money into the dangerous business but from far from it.
Hussaini Abdullahi, a Deputy Superintendent of Customs and the Command spokesperson had told those that cares to listen that the Enforcement Unit and the Operations Team, which have stood out at the joint Land border Area, would not relent in their anti-smuggling operations until ”the economic saboteurs turn a new leaf”.
He may have spoken the mind of the Area Comptroller when he said the Command has all it takes both personnel and working tools: AK 47 and Operational vehicles that could venture into difficult terrains to smoke them out the smugglers from their hideout and dispossess them of their smuggled Contraband from Benin to Nigeria or Petrol from Nigeria to Benin Republic.
Recall that last January, Assist. Comptroller Dankigari led Team, which have carved a niche for itself in making petrol seizures along the various Creeks at Seme and Badagry, had intercepted 1,065 Jerry cans of value, with a DPV over N10 million. Prior to the Team January seizure, 1050 Jerry cans of Petrol of 30 litres each, equivalent of 31,500 Litres, and worth about N5.3 million were intercepted in December, 2021..