- Battles petrol smugglers at the border communities
- Seizes smuggled Petrol worth over
N91.2million, 33 vehicles, other items
(Report by Udeme Clement):
Economic saboteurs specialised in smuggling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as Petrol within the borders in Kwara State, should flee because the game changer is in town.
His name is, Comptroller Olugboyega Peters – psc (+) dss, mnim, fipman. He is the Coordinator of Joint Border Patrol Team, sector -3. This Customs officer has eagle-eye oh!
He has mastered the Act of chasing smugglers on land, in the forest, at creeks and even on high sea.
Not too long ago, his team at Western Marine Command, made massive seizure of over 10 tons of cannabis sativa on high sea, valued at N1.2billion, which remains the largest single seizure of hard drugs ever made by any Command, in the history of Nigeria Customs Service.
That spectacular seizure attracted attention of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to Nigeria.
In fact, his presence in Kwara State will give die-hard smugglers a tough time.
Already, the news reaching out platform revealed that Comptroller Peters and his team in Kwara intercepted 154, 404 liters of petrol with a Duty Paid Value (DPV), N91.2million.
Also, his team uncovered new trend of concealing Jerrycans of smuggled petrol in big sacks by illicit traders, in a bid to escape security checks.
More so, their professional skills, uncommon courage and tactical operational strategies adopted had yielded positive results, which led to 82 seizures of different prohibited items.
These include – 650 Sacks of 60liters each of Diesel (39,000 liters);
1,735 bags of foreign parboiled Rice of 50Kg each;
1,415 Jerrycans of Petroleum Products (36,525 liters);
33 Used Vehicles
12 Bales of secondhand clothings and
10 motorcycles, among others, with total DPV of N92.5million.
Thus, with this level of anti-smuggling onslaught, illicit traders in Kwara wil be counting their losses by now, because it is going to be a hard scuffle between smugglers and Comptroller Peters, known to be a no-nonsense enforcement officer.
Addressing reporters during a press conference in Kwara State yesterday, on activities of Sector-3, from April, 2021, till date. Comptroller Peters said; “Smugglers have continued to advance with their techniques of illicit trade. They resorted to using sacks to smuggle petroleum products. I want to warn these criminal elements operating in the Sector that any scheme or tactics used shall be uncovered and the culprits be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
“We are more determined than ever to make the sector uncomfortable for them, as the sector will henceforth beam its search light on trucks with sacks.
As you have seen, when taking you round the seized goods, a team of officers deployed to Lokoja axis of the sector, arrested a truck with Reg. No. FST 102 XT along Lokoja-Abuja high-way, transporting diesel; 650 bags of 60 liters each, concealed with sawdust.
“While conveying the items to sector -3 Headquarters, Ilorin, the truck was involved in an accident around Egbe in Kogi State. So, the seizing officers transferred the goods to another vehicle. The truck and the two suspects were handed over to Egbe Police Station in Kogi State.”
He went on; “As part of effort by the Federal Government to curb smuggling of petroleum products, the Service in collaboration with Nigerian National Petroleum Corperation (NNPC) recently approved reactivation of Operation White Hilux Team, designed to curb smuggling of petroleum products across the border.
“The team had commenced operations and the Joint Border Patrol team sector- 3 is collaborating with them.
Such collaboration is already yielding positive results.
“Smuggling activities at Sector 3 have reduced by an impressive 85% due to the way we are policing our areas of responsibility in line with government directives on Partial Closure of our National Borders.
“Petrol smuggling has a long history and has been significantly reduced in this Sector.
To make our land border less porous, we have deployed additional patrol teams to prevent not only smuggling of petrol but other illegal activities.
“Moreover, the policy of 20 kilometer Radius is still in force. Any petrol station that falls within
20 kilometers Radius and has approval to lift petrol from NNPC/DPR is policed, which makes it difficult to smuggle petrol.
“Security has been tightened; smuggling has become harder, which hurts the smuggling networks. It might interest you to know that, from the record made available by NNPC/DPR, only 13 petrol tankers were granted approval to load product every week to border communities, to prevent excess product being smuggled out.
“No petrol station is allowed to operate at night. Any major supply through approved routes is monitored through strengthening of check points manned by our officers.
Enforcement is mapped out and thoroughly monitored by a team of officers comprising of Customs, ONSA, NIA, Police, DSS, Immigration and other sister agencies involved in this assignment.
“All petrol stations are on roster to lift fuel accordingly, which makes it absolutely difficult to smuggle the product.
Approved tankers laden with product must be escorted by a team of officers (only on roster) to the point of discharge. For example, any tanker either from Ilorin or Oyo en- route to border station or area of our responsibility (AoR) will be monitored by a team of officers positioned at Okuta and hand it over to officers at Ilesha Baruba, while officers at Ilseha Baruba will guard it to Chikada or any approved point of discharge.
“No petrol tanker is allowed into our area of coverage after 1600hrs, to avoid late discharge and unwarranted suspicion.
No officer on roster/escort of a petroleum tanker must leave the discharging point until after the last drop is discharged into the underground tank.
“Any tanker that cannot get to the point of discharge before 1600hrs must sleep over at the nearest check point and proceed to its destination the next day.
A detailed inventory of each tanker is always taken. Such as; number plate, Driver’s name, point of destination and other relevant documents”.
He disclosed; “Just yesterday, sector – 3, held a sensitisation meeting with IPMAN, Kwara State Chapter and Petrol station owners about the do’s and don’ts, as heavy sanction awaits erring persons or group of persons found culpable of smuggling petrol.
The sector will not stop on mass sensitisation of youths, Rice Millers Association, Market Men/Women Associations, Transport Union Associations, students, traditional institutions, Manufactures Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other relevant stakeholders on the dangers of smuggling.
“The Sector under my watch will continue to be at the forefront of anti- smuggling drive and will not relent on its oars to make smuggling unattractive to the youths, while maintaining high standard and professionalism in performing its duties to the Service and the nation at large. I wish to advise Community Leaders, Youth Leaders, Opinion Leaders to shun smuggling for the good of our dear country.”