- Intercepts 4,138 bags of rice, smuggled petrol, other items worth over N72.6M in one month
- Receives commendation letters for exceptional performance
(Report by Udeme Clement):
The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of Ogun 1 Command,
Comptroller Peter Kolo, and his team have made CGC Hameed Ali and the entire Nigeria Customs Service proud with remarkable performance in anti-smuggling operations at Idiroko, the border between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
At a border terrain like Idiroko notorious for smuggling and known to be a very volatile environment, Compt Kolo, has tamed the hydra-headed monster with superior Intelligence.
This has shown clearly in anti-smuggling feats recorded by the Command so far.
In the month of August 2021, alone, the Command made a total of 95 seizures, comprising 4,138 bags of foreign rice; 830 cartons of frozen poultry products; 592 kegs of smuggled petrol; 15 units of vehicles/ means of conveyance; six sacks of cannabis sativa/ other illicit drugs. Others items include six bales and 15 sacks of secondhand clothings; 90 used handbags and 16 sacks of used shoes, with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N 72,589,473 (approximately N72.6million).
In fact, the seizures made from January to August 2021, by Compt Kolo and his gallant officers are massive.
Our Correspendent observed that it was like rain of seizures at Ogun – 1 Customs Command yesterday. There were seizures everywhere.
Impounded tems were seen from the main entrance of the Customs premises to officers Mess, up to the location within the Command where smuggled poultry products are often burnt.
Even the government warehouse located at the border area was filled to the brim with contraband items.
While the CAC was taking Journalists round the premises, more seizures were being brought in by various enforcement units of the Command.
The antics of smugglers in sabotaging the nation’s economy at Idiroko border are alarming and Compt Kolo, with his eagle-eye is giving die-hard smugglers a tough time, frustrating their illicit trade through mind-blowing seizures.
For instance, some vehicles meant to carry not more than three persons were seen at the Command seized with over 50kegs of smuggled petrol. The vehicles are padded with extra iron carriers underneath to carry heavy loads.
In fact the seizures recorded by Compt Kolo and his team are unprecedented, causing severe financial losses to unrepentant smugglers. Also, the officers remain resolute and undeterred in raising the tempo of anti-smuggling at Idiroko border, despite incessant attacks by the dare-devil smugglers.
Most remarkably, the Command, under the supervision of Compt Kolo, in the last eight months (January to August, 2021), has not recorded any casualty in anti-smuggling operations, notwithstanding massive seizures made within the period under review. Similarly, the Command has not lost any officer during operations despite recurring attacks on officers while on duty.
Compt Kolo has changed the strategy of anti-smuggling operations in Ogun Command, especially at Idiroko axis, despite the volatile nature of the operating environment.
His words; “Our operations are Intelligence driven. We have not lost any officer and have not killed any soul in the last eight months.
Events in the last few days in Ogun State, in which some group of students alleged importation of Arms and Ammunition through the Command is sad, embarrassing and very unfortunate, portraying the indigenes of Ogun State in bad light.
“While recognising and indeed commending the patriotic students among them, whose voices prevailed resulting to calling off their planned protest, it is imperative to draw the attention of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ogun State Prince Dapo Abiodun, members of National and State assemblies, traditional rulers, authorities of tertiary Institutions and other respected opinion leaders in Ogun State to this emerging security threat.
“By their actions, we suspect smugglers, who can no longer have their ways are instigating activities that are capable of breaching public peace in the State.
Let me state that the campaign of calumny and blackmail against Customs by this group or any other group and their sponsors will not dampen our morales or discourage our resolve to succeed in this battle against enemies of the State. We are not distracted but remain focused on our anti-smuggling operations.
“I commend the courage and gallantry of all officers in Ogun I Command in the face of sustained intimidation and unwarranted attacks by desperate smugglers in the State. I urge you to continue to maintain this high level of professionalism in carrying out your statutory duties.
“I appreciate all the Sister Security Agencies in the State for their synergy with the Customs Service, the critical stakeholders supporting our operations and the media for objective reportage of our activities.”
More so, our Correspondent gathered that the selfless service by Compt Kolo and his enforcement team have attracted the attention of CGC Hameed Ali, who gave the Command a commendation letter for a job well done. That was not all.
The Command also received another letter of commendation from the Customs Zonal office for brilliant performance in anti-smuggling operations.