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FOU Lagos May Stop Waylaying Containers On Highways

Written by Maritime First
  • As EFCC seizes N5bn houses of ex-NAF chief, Amosu, others

The Federal Operations Unit, an anti – smuggling arm of the Nigerian Customs Service in Lagos may soon stop waylaying containers on the road,  for the purpose of checking the appropriateness of duty payment,  even as it raises the bars,  in compliance with the mandate of the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC),  Col. Hameed Ali.

On the other hand,  it’s operatives,  based on intelligence,  would now stop and query suspected containers,  at the point of exit,  but right inside the Port.

Comptroller Umar (L) and PRO of FOU ‘A’-DSC Uche Ejetsieme (R)

Comptroller Umar (L) and PRO of FOU ‘A’-DSC Uche Ejetsieme (R)

This was sequel to a courtesy / brainstorming session held during the visit of the Zonal Coordinator, West of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA),   Sir John Alfred DanKatsina Office,  who led a delegation of Western zone chapters executives to the newly appointed FOU,  Zone ‘A’ Comptroller, Dahiru Umar at Ikeja on Wednesday, 10th February, 2016.

Dahiru Uman,  a versatile Comptroller, revealed that, on resumption, he had actually appraised the operational strategy of his unit and decided to stop picking containers on the roads, in view of the dangers to innocent members of the public around.

He assured that while cooperating with the commands within his jurisdiction to stop the import of offensive or controversial cargoes from exiting the ports, he would work for a synergy that would anchor a collaboration of critical stakeholders,  including the ANLCA,  stressing the need for ANLCA to weed out miscreants from its fold, who may precipitate integrity problems for the association.

Comptroller Dahiru Umar reiterated the general view held by the generality of Customs that the service holds ANLCA in high esteem, and therefore would expect nothing less than a continuing rise in ANLCA’s profile and an enhanced professional capacity building.

In his response, Sir John Ofobike, assured the comptroller of maximum support and cooperation of ANLCA with the Unit, for it to achieve its mandate. The FOU presented a souvenir to the Zonal Coordinator, West, as a mark of appreciation for the visit.

In the meantime, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has seized houses and other properties belonging to the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), and other senior military officers worth N5bn.

Our correspondent learnt on Wednesday that the properties, which were seized in the Ikoyi, Ikeja GRA and Badagry areas of Lagos State, allegedly belonged to Amosu; the immediate past Chief of Accounts and Budgeting of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal J.B. Adigun; and Air Commodore O. O. Gbadebo, who was the Director of Finance and Budget at NAF.

A senior EFCC official, who did not want his name in print, told our correspondent that the suspects and others were cooperating fully with the anti-graft agency.

The source, who spoke to The PUNCH on Wednesday, in Abuja, said, “We have sealed a block of 12 luxury flats, located on Agodogba Street, Park View Estate, Ikoyi, belonging to Adigun. It is worth over N1.7bn. The same Adigun also owns another block of luxury flats on Sinari Daranijo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. It is worth N1.8bn.

“A parcel of land, located on Bourdillon Drive, Ikoyi, worth N908m, belonging to Adigun has also been seized by the EFCC operatives.”

The source added that six other properties had been traced to Adigun, including a set of four terrace houses on Agede Street, off Aminu Kano in the Wuse 2 area of Abuja.

He stated that the properties traced to Amosu were located in the Ikeja area of Lagos metropolis.

The operative said apart from the buildings, Amosu’s vehicles had also been confiscated by the anti-graft agency.

He added, “Amosu confessed to owning an ultra-modern hospital on Adeniyi Jones Avenue in Ikeja. The hospital, St Solomon Health Care Limited, which is worth about N85m, has been sealed off.

“A house located on Adeyemo Alakija Street, GRA Ikeja, near the Ghanaian High Commission, which belongs to Amosu has also been sealed. It is worth over N200m.

“Amosu, who is from Badagry, also built a house in the area. That house has also been sealed off. I cannot state the worth of the house for now.

“We have also seized a bulletproof Toyota Sports Utility Vehicle and a Toyota Avalon, belonging to Amosu. He is cooperating with us.”

The detective said six other properties had been traced to Amosu, including one in Harmony Estate in Abuja.

The EFCC source said a block of flats, belonging to Gbadebo, had also been seized.

“Gbadebo was the assistant to Adigun. He is also helping with investigation. He owns a block of eight two-bedroomed flats in a border town between Lagos and Ogun states. He also has a fish pond in the compound. The building has also been sealed off,” he said.

Our correspondent learnt that as of Wednesday afternoon, detectives were still tracing and sealing off other properties.

Amosu and over 10 senior officers are being probed by the EFCC as part of investigations into the $2.1bn arms scam, especially in relation to the 10 contracts of the NAF, said to be worth $930,500,690.00.

On Monday, the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), was detained by the anti-graft agency.

Both Badeh and Amosu are answering questions on the non-specification of procurement costs, absence of contract agreements, award of contracts beyond authorised thresholds, transfer of public funds for unidentified purposes and general non-adherence to provisions of the Public Procurement Act.

The source explained that the EFCC had been given 30 days by the court to do a proper investigation.

“We have obtained court order and holding charge; we can detain them. It subsists for 30 days. Hopefully, we will be able to charge them to court very soon.

“We are sending a message to civil servants because the era of impunity is over,” the source stated.

All attempts to get an official confirmation from the EFCC proved abortive as the spokesperson for the agency, Wilson Uwujaren, neither responded to repeated telephone calls nor a text message sent to his mobile.

The PUNCH exclusively reported on February 3 that the EFCC had asked the former Chief of Air Staff to refund some money or contract sums traced to him.

Since his detention, Amosu had been quizzed over the procurement of two second-hand Mi-24V Helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at a cost of $136.9m.

The helicopters were alleged not to be operationally airworthy at the time of delivery while a brand new unit of such helicopters costs about $30m.

Additional report from Punch

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