At Seme: UBA Comb Creeks With The Anti-smuggling Lens

Seme Command, Comptroller Muhammed Garba Uba, the Area Comtroller, sent his Aahunse Rashid, and Dandarin, both a Deputy Comptroller and Assistant Comptroller, Enforcement to trailing a gang of notorious textile smugglers around the Seme and Owode Creek axis through a Close Circuit Television, CCTV. The duo had kept it a closely guided secret to avid the information filtering out to the hearing of the smugglers who may divert to another route porous gun state. Note that there about 84 unapproved routes in the state going by Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, records which makes it a haven for smugglers.

Amehnews learnt that Adahnse, the Seme Command ,Deputy Comptroller’s office was not to lodge a complaint over the activities of his officers along the Lagos -Seme road based on reports from travellers, but was forced to leave immediately when the Magazine found that his attention was concentrated on the CCTV. ”I cannot talk to you now as you can see we are very busy watching the CCTV, to track smugglers of textile materials into the country through the Creek”. It was an opportunity to cite the smugglers through the CCTV, and what obtains at the temporary trailer park provided for agents t keep their importers transit cargoes at the Seme-Krake Joint Border post.

Given the importance attached to the operation to dispossess the smugglers of the smuggled textile materials which was imported from the Asian country of China , through Cotonou seaport, Republic of Benin, Adahunse and his next in Command in the Enforcement Unit ,were said to have occupied themselves watching the CCTV, to effectively monitor the movement of the smugglers with their cargo in the Creek. Muhammed, the Command Area Comptroller, was said to have charged the Command Enforcement officials to ensure that the operation did not fail as that might count against the Command anti-smuggling operations and to further convince Hammed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and the Comptroller General, who has been much worried the Muhammed, who has been known for making spectacular seizures when he was the Comptroller of Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, has lost the steam at Seme Command.

Comptr Muhammed Uba Garba: Comtroller Seme Command
The Seme Customs Comptroller may have taken advantage of the recent official t visit of the Customs Comptroller General to the Command to make bold Statement the anti-smuggling in fire in him has not not burnt out but have been intensified that smugglers operating with the Seme and Owode out station cold no longer bear as many of them have been forced to go underground, particular the vehicle and foreign parboiled rice smugglers. It was gathered that when the textile materials smugglers found out that the game was up, they made several attempts to return to their base at Republic of Benin but it was too late.

The difficulty in returning to their base at Republic of Benin may have forced them to change tactics to beat Seme Customs personnel to it. They got it wrong as Adahunse, the Seme Command , Deputy Deputy Comptroller, who has been on the matter, was busy monitoring them through the CCTV. Convinced that they have been boxed to a corner and there is no escape route for them, he has positioned his men at all strategic locations along the along the Owode-Seme route in readiness to strike.

When the coast became clear, the Customs Deputy Comptroller who was in touch with the patrol team leader was said to have given them the nod to move into the Creeks and do the needful by the dispossessing the smugglers of the smuggled textile materials without a loss of life.

Aware of the implication of not intercepting the items from the smugglers, the team members who were watched closely monitored by Adahunse, through the CCTV, during the operation, in a commandoes- style had swooped on the smugglers who quickly abandoned the items and took to their heels.

The fallout was that that the team that went for the operation dispossessed the smugglers of 175 pieces of textile materials , which the Valuation Authority put at about N2.2 million.

The seizure may have won emboldened the Seme Customs Comptroller to stand before Ali ,the Comptroller General to welcome him to the Command on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, as he has spectacular seizures to show to him and also give him an insight about the revenue profile of the Command between March -June 19, 2019.

Eye witness account said the Customs Comptroller General listened with rapt attention as Muhammed, the Seme Customs Comptroller reeled out the figures which may have convinced him that the anti-smuggling operations have taken a new dimension going by the seizures that had had been made in a week. An elated Customs Boss was said to have urged Muhammed and his officers to sustain the tempo of the anti-smuggling operations to enhance trade facilitation.

Many believe that the Seme Customs Comptroller may have won himself back to heart of the Comptroller going by what he saw on ground at Seme. While the Command has intensified the anti-smuggling war in its area of Jurisdiction, importers with their agents are no longer finding it with funny with the planned introduction of the European Union installed fixed scanners at the joint Border post for scanner of trucks ladden cargoes. Reliable sources informed The Value News that officers that would manner the scanners in reading the images had been trained for it. This would save the Command from the troubles of physical examinations of cargoes which agents claimed are time wasting.

In a related development , Abdullahi Musa, Comptroller, Tin-can Command , described as a workaholic in Customs Circles, and his officers have refused to be blackmailed by agents who were said to had lodged Complaints of multiple alerts , in the Command to KC.Ekekezie as they insist that the right thing must be done.

investigation by the Magazine shows that the agents are getting worried of the alerts as most of them are used to doing ”bad jobs” and are not ready to change. Many believe that with the alerts , ma of them would have escaped with their bad jobs and thus ,short change the government . Insiders informed the Magazine that the alerts had helped the Command Enforcement Unit Headed by Dera Nnadi, a Deputy Comptroller,to make spectucular seizures, particular , tramadol, a dangerous pharmaceutical product for the Command. The alerts , was also said to helped Mahmood Ibrahim, an Assistant Comptroller, in-charge of the Command Compliance Unit, to recover billions of naira for the government through issuance of Demand Notice, DN, to importers caught in the act through their agents. It iss not surprising why most agents who have to go through the Compliance Unit to take delivery of their cargoes are scared because of the thoroughness of Ibrahim, described as a revenue wizard in Customs circles, in scrutinising their documents to get to the last details of the imports.

Those who have been found guilty, would never forget their experience in a hurry. There was an instance where a female agent was said to have threatened to collapse in the in the Compliance Unit, under the close watch of Ibrahim, because of the DN , that was given to her. She had expected the Assistant Comptroller to show some consideration to her by reducing it but got it wrong. This is because the Assistant Comptroller had insisted that she must the DN, as a deterrence to others who might want to do bad jobs

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