…inside the unusual approach yielding huge dividends
Smugglers along the Idiroko border route are having a hard time in engagements with custom officers.
And unlike before, they are speedily falling victims of the stepped up operation of the border law enforcers- with increasing numbers of seized goods to tell the tales of their woes.
The full details are produced as sourced.
The Headquarters Special Assignment team, Idiroko axis of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), is making life difficult for smugglers in the area.NCS
The team, led by the Assistant Comptroller, Shittu Abdul-Maruf, it was gathered, has sent many smugglers out of business because of its unique approach.
The team, investigation revealed, parades all approved and unapproved routes around the border to stem the cycle of criminalities by the smugglers.
When The Nation visited the area last Saturday, many vehicle dealers around Idiroko, Owode and Atan complained about the ability of the team to tame car and frozen foods smugglers.
The ability of the team leader to deploy the tools of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and the window provided for him by the Customs to confirm the authenticity of vehicle documents of importers, it was gathered, now makes car smuggling unattractive in his area.
The team, it was gathered, now carries out anti-smuggling campaigns in all areas, which hitherto provided a safe haven for smugglers and disrupts the economic activities of those patronising the smugglers in the area,
The team, findings revealed, has achieved a commendable breakthrough in anti-smuggling in the area based on the huge volume of seizures it has recorded in recent times.
Some of the goods seized by the team, investigation further revealed, are kept in government warehouses in Abeokuta, Ibadan, Federal Operation Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’, Ikeja and in other approved locations.
Last Wednesday, it was gathered that the team faced stiff resistance from the frozen poultry foods smugglers at Owode, but the operational doggedness of the team leader and his officers, it was learnt, forced the smugglers to run into the bush.
Findings, however, revealed that some of the strategies adopted by the team in its anti-smuggling crusade included intelligence gathering system, recruitment of useful informants and 24-hour surveillance along smuggling corridors to reduce saboteurs’ activities.
A senior Customs officer in Abuja, who does not want to be mentioned, told The Nation that a visit to some of the government warehouses would reveal the tempo and determination of the team to deal with those engaged in illicit trade around the borders.
“The results of the efforts of the team were seen in the quantum of remarkable seizures which they made in just few weeks of their assignment.
“It is, therefore, not an overstatement to say that the team has rolled out arsenals to frontally tackle the hydra headed monster of smuggling for the desired effect. Its leader, Shittu Abdulmaruf, has mapped out unique operational templates enhancing their performance.
“Since his assumption of office, Abdulmaruf and his team have left no stone unturned in their effort to dismantle the supply chain of smugglers in their areas of coverage.
“The Comptroller-General had given a marching order, which is encapsulated in his policy thrust and this provides the necessary impetus for Customs to ensure resilience and enforcement of the fiscal policies of Federal Government in terms of trade facilitation and anti-smuggling crusade.
“The task of suppressing smuggling is the statutory responsibility of the team and they have been mandated to ensure that no smuggler is spared no matter how highly placed he or she is. Our operation is 24 hours and Abdulmaruf’s appointment and assignment may have been informed by his antecedents in areas of anti-smuggling and revenue generation. This mandate keeps a moral burden on him and his team and we believe that is why they are not leaving anything to chance,” the officer said.
The officer also praised the officers and men of the FOU for their support.