The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Ogun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Comptroller Waindu Multafu, going by his recent pronouncement, may have conceded defeat in the war to check smuggling via the area which borders the neighbouring Benin Republic.
Multafu sounded somewhat defeatist when he informed the media in Lagos that daredevil smugglers have turned rice smuggling into a “life and death” affair.
The Ogun CAC, who claimed that Command records daily seizures of the smugglers’ vehicles and motorcycles, lamented routine attacks on Customs personnel by the economic saboteurs.
“Once in a while, if it happens that we are on the defensive, we have to use our guns. Idiroko is the most notorious of border posts in West Africa. I cannot say how many of our officers have been killed right from Seme up to Idiroko and Imeko.
“The lands are accessible to any would-be smuggler. The terrain is another obstacle to smooth operations because everywhere is road,” the Ogun CAC said.
Multafu’s words were indicative of the smugglers’ paradise that the area under his watch is when he said that crossing the border was a walkover through the three major entrances- Idiroko, Ohunbe and Imeko. He said that there were numerous creeks in the border area, facilitating the movement of rice by smugglers using canoes.