…May increase use of APC, to combat smuggling
The concerted efforts towards creating a gloomy yuletide for smugglers, especially in the South west may have begun to unfold, even as the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) celebrates the seizure of over 11,000 bags of rice, recently snatched at Igbesan Creek, in Ogun State.
First, the use of armoured personnel carriers may become the order of the day; harnessing the supports and assistance of relevant commands and sisterly agencies would be prioritized; increased motivation of personnel may rise, to make them more daring; just as more emphasis is to be placed on the use of intelligence, amongst others.
Broaching on the subject, the new FOU Controller, Deputy Comptroller, Turaki Usman Adamu, while inspecting the massive seizure last Tuesday, highlighted that there was already a “paradigm shift” in the operational methodologies and modalities of the Zone ‘A’, Unit; all in bid to boost the war against smuggling.
The Controller confirmed that they now rely more on intelligence report; and which in this particular instance, posited that smugglers were planning to use the creeks to bring in large quantities of rice from Benin Republic; noting also, that it was on this basis that the Lagos roving team led by AC Adamu Abubakar Mohammed fashioned out operational modalities to ensure that there was no leakage of information to the smugglers, while embarking on a deadly three-day ambush for the consignment, before the smugglers walked into the net.
“It is pertinent to point out that the area is reputed as both volatile and inaccessible particularly for Customs and several attempts to raid the place, as efforts in the past were met with stiff opposition from the hostile smugglers. We must place on record that they have attacked Customs patrol teams that attempted in the past to stop their nefarious activities.
“On arrival at the scene of crime, we started evacuation, even though we faced challenge of unmotorable terrain. On completion of evacuation, we destroyed the instrumentality of crime i.e the wooden boats, their storage facilities, and out board engines etc. This is aimed at frustrating their future attempts” he stated, adding that the communal head ironically endorsed smuggling.
“It is actually amazing to understand the naivety of the Baale of the Community who from all indications seem not to know that smuggling is an Economic crime. He told us point blank that smuggling is their only means of survival as the proceeds there from are used for developing their community. I was perplexed at that and I want to use this opportunity to urge the media both print and electronic to embark on mass education and sensitization using local dialect to disseminate information on the dangers of smuggling” he noted.
“It is instructive to point out that the FOU ‘A’ had to roll out its Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) for these operations in view of the volatile nature of the terrain. These tanks were rolled out with the express permission of the CGC, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde CFR who clearly understands the nature of such assignment. The Lagos Roving Team met stiff opposition from the smugglers, hence the need for reinforcement from the neighbouring Commands of Ogun and Seme, as well as the Military, NSCDC, Navy and others who provided Security for the evacuation of the consignment. The rampaging smugglers were contained by our operatives who brought the experiences from their various trainings to bare. Even though the smugglers engaged our operatives in a shootout, the combined Team of our operatives over powered them with their superior fire power”, he stated further, pointing out that te value of the impounded 11,264 bags of illegally imported 50kg foreign parboiled rice was
N56,320,000.00; while with the Duty Paid Value (DPV) it came to N95,744,000.00.
Turaki lauded the increasing motivations and equipment provision by the Customs high command, stressing that with the gestures, the officers and men of the Unit were fully determined, even more than ever, to take the war against smuggling to the deadliest and most volatile parts of the South West.
He also promised that the Unit would continue to strategize on how to sustain its present anti-smuggling tempo particularly at this “ember months” to guide against complacency; and expressed his deep sense of appreciation to the entire officers/men, particularly the Lagos roving team for raising the ante in anti-smuggling.
“As daunting as the challenge of suppressing smuggling may be, we will continue to face it with unrelenting determination and will remain resolute in our attempt to suppress it to the barest minimum. The relentless commitment and tireless effort of officers and men of this unit is quite commendable” he concluded, highlighting that he would now seriously reappraise all the identified flash points along the creeks and other illegal routes, in an aim of entrenching aggressive patrol activities there.