Ogun Customs on red alert, steps up surveillance across idiroko border
* Foils hoodlums attack on government warehouse, facilities
*As Compt Agbara dares die-hard smugglers,
seizes over N397million items
(By Udeme Clement):
The Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun- I Area Command is on red alert and leaving no stone unturned in restoring control across the border lines between Nigeria and Benin Republic, The Command has also stepped up patrol surveillance across the border, even as its
plays a strategic role in suppression of smuggling despite the volatile nature of the border communities.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Comptroller Michael Agbara, disclosed this during a press conference yesterday.
His assertions :
“This is a strategic press conference to relate our experience during the END-SARS protest and significant role played by the Command in restoring control across the border lines.
“Following the protest hijacked by hoodlums and smugglers particularly at the border areas, our Command suffered vicious attacks in which an officer -AIC Solomon Alayge was killed and others injured.
“In the early hours of Thursday, October 22, 2020, many of our patrol teams were attacked, their patrol bases were vandalised and burnt. Our Officers were trapped as a result of the multiple attacks suffered along Oja-Odan, Ilaro (along Ilaro/Oja, Odan/Obele border, Ihunbo, Adisba, Owode, Ijoun and Imeko. Many belongings of our officers including uniforms and other valuables were looted.”
The CAC stressed, “In what seems to be a premeditated action, the hoodlums in large number seized the opportunity of security challenge, which made all security agencies focused on protecting their operatives and facilities at that period to embark on massive smuggling of rice and vehicles for about three days. However, the Command afterward intensified efforts by strengthening its workforce with reinforcement from the Military. That assisted in beefing up security and restoring control in the Command.
“As a result of the measures put in place, attempt by hoodlums to attack Government Warehouses at Idiroko, Abeokuta and other critical facilities was resisted. With bravery and gallantry of officers coupled with maximum support of the Military, the Command recorded many seizures, which include; 2,947 bags of rice; 1,875 litres of petrol; 18 units of vehicles; 4 units of motorcycles; 10 sacks of cannabis sativa; 159 cartons of sugar; 30 cartons of tomato paste; 12 cartons of cosmetics; 19 cartons of insecticide and 7 kegs of vegetable oil.”
That was not all.
Compt Agbara also revealed that his Command in the third quarter of 2020, successfully recorded 420 seizures, which include;
11,146 Bags of Foreign Parboiled Rice (50 kg each) an average of 18 trailer loads per month,
86 units of Vehicles,
39 units of Motorcycle (Means of Conveyance),
10 kegs of Vegetable oil (25 liters each),
81 bales, 34 Sacks of Secondhand clothing,
1 Sack and 1,344 Pairs of Used Shoes,
1,814 Cartons of Frozen Poultry Products,
299,450 liters of PMS (Petrol),
127 Kegs of Palm oil (25 liters each),
1,225 liters of Diesel ,
75 liters of Kerosene,
363 pcs of Handbags,
17 Cartons Body Cream,
12 bags by 50kg and 4 Cartons of Sugar,
37 sacks comprising 190 Book size, 883 Wraps and coconut Size Packs of Cannabis sativa,
213 Pieces of Used tyres,
24 Sacks of Pesticide,
210 Sacks of Black soap Chemical,
6 Packs of Ghana Soap,
8 Cartons of Imported Soaps,
10,775 Pieces of different types of Plastic Rubber,
410 Pieces of Textile (Wrapper),
172 Pairs of Rubber Slippers,
5 Sacks of Alligator Pepper,
186 Cartons of Crocodile Machetes,
72 Bundles of Nylon,
3 Bags and 1 sack of Snuff,
1 Sack of Ladies Bra,
2 Wraps of Ladies Wears,
6 Sacks of Medicament,
1 Carton Imported Perfumes,
14 Bales of Cut Length Material, with
total Duty Paid Value of over N397million.
Compt Agbara pointed out; “The Command was able to achieve the aforementioned due to strategic enforcement measures put in place and effective use of Intelligence.
“Our collaboration with Border drill, Strike-force, Federal Operations Unit, Military, Police, DSS, NDLEA and other agencies is remarkable and this enhances our operations”.
“It is important to note that activities embarked upon by the Command are patriotic duties in the interest of national security and economic wellbeing of Nigeria. Customs operatives in observance of the rules of engagement will continue to carry out its legitimate duties as prescribed by the law”.
Responding to question on operational challenges facing his Command, he said: “Mostly, the porous nature of Idiroko border,
getting the border communities to understand the role of security agencies in a secured border. The youths have limited understanding of the difference between legitimate and illegitimate trades. Another challenge is limited infrastructure”.
Compt Agbara emphasised that his Command is trailing the killers of his officer and must ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
He added, “We wish to reiterate that incessant attacks on operatives of Customs and other sister Agencies will not deter us from performing our legitimate duties. Permit me to use this opportunity to appeal to parent and guardians to prevail on their children, wards and youths to desist from criminal acts of smuggling and attacking Security personnel.
“We will continue to dialogue and educate the public on economic implications of smuggling, as well as performing statutory functions of enforcing compliance in line with government fiscal policies”.
Observation: During the visit, our Correspondent observed that the government warehouse at Idiroko was filled to the brim with seizures.