By Shehu Yahaya
Th federal government of Nigeria anti-corruption battle and Nigeria Customs Service Comptroller General retired Col. Hamid Ali’s uncompromising stance against sleaze better replicated than in the critical assignments they gave one of Nigeria’s most forthright, passionate and dynamic Customs officer, Musa Ibrahim Jalo a Comptroller of Customs of the federal Operation Unit Zone “D” Bauchi.
Customs Operatives are in line with the provisions of Section 8 and Section 158 (Power to Patrol Freely) of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended.
Eradicating smuggling in this country will boost the economy which will make the Federal Government to provide social amenities to the citizenry.
Since he took over the Mantle of leadership as the Customs Controller of FOU zone “D” a lot of progress has been made in anti- smuggling operations on rice, vehicles, vegetable oil, petroleum products,etc.
Comptroller Jalo took over the leadership of the Unit barely Some months back with the mandate of suppressing smuggling to the barest minimum.
FOU zone “D “ comprises of nine states of Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa States; with headquarters in Bauchi.
In a private chat with our reporter Jalo said ’We trail smugglers right from the source. For instance, we devote time to trail the smugglers. It is not an easy job but we are attacking the challenges head on.’’
The unprecedented seizure within this short time was achieved as a result of sharing of information, intelligence gathering and doggedness of the officers and men of the unit in making the zone unbearable for smugglers.
In the month of December 2022 the unit has Intercepted 93,700 Litres Of Petroleum Products, 165kg of Pangolin Scales, Others Worth N468 Million
Showcasing the seized items, Comptroller Musa Ibrahim Jalo said the Unit has intercepted two thousand two hundred and nine (2209) jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit (25 litres each), one hundred and forty-nine (149) drums of PMS (250 litres each), forty-nine (49) jerrycans of Automotive Gas Oil (25 litres each). Totalling, ninety-three thousand, seven hundred (93,700) litres of petroleum products.
Comptroller Jalo decried the unpatriotic attitude of the smugglers of petroleum products, thereby harming the economy which can exacerbate the present scarcity of the product in Nigeria.
In his words “There are environmental, social and economic impacts of smuggling which has a far-reaching effect on our economy, yet some unscrupulous elements derive pleasure in deflating the economy via this means. It erodes government revenue accruable through tariffs and perpetuates a culture of lawlessness. FOU Zone ‘D’ of Nigeria Customs is on top of the game. We won’t let this illegal trade thrive”
Similarly, in line with the strategic role of Customs in enforcing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), Operatives of the FOU Zone ‘D’ intercepted four sacks of Pangolin scales weighing 165kg.
Trafficking in wildlife can diminish species population and cause local or even global extinction. Illegal trade of Endangered Species, poaching, or harvesting risks the species of becoming extinct, which is also stated in Schedule 6 of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) 2022-2026.” He explained.
He further stated that two thousand three hundred and twenty-six (2326) pieces of used tyres, four hundred and forty-one (441) bales of secondhand clothing, and twenty-seven (27) sacks of secondhand clothing were seized in line with schedule 4 of the CET which places the above items on absolute prohibition on health and safety grounds.
While decrying the harmful effects of used and old tyres, such as loss of control of the vehicle, and reduced grip, particularly in wet conditions which may lead to road crashes, the Comptroller urged Nigerians to desist from patronizing them and second-hand clothing which is injurious to the skin and causes other skin related diseases.
Other Seizures include; three thousand, four hundred and eighty-seven (3487) bags of fertilizer. Which is controlled as measures placed by the Federal Government to avert the potential danger of its usage by insurgents for the production of explosives.
During the period under review, the unit also seized six hundred and seventy-five (675) bags of foreign parboiled rice (50kg each), two hundred and fifty-two (252), cartons of foreign soap, two hundred and fifty (250) cartons of foreign spaghetti, forty-two (42) pieces of alloy rims, five (5) units of used imported vehicles, seventeen (17) vehicles as means of conveyance among others.
According to him, the cumulative Duty Paid Value of all the seized items stood at four hundred and sixty-eight million, three hundred and forty-one thousand, four hundred and thirty naira only (₦4 . 68,341,430).
The unprecedented seizures within this short time were achieved as a result of sharing of information, intelligence gathering and doggedness of the Officers and Men of the federal Operations Unit Zone D in making the zone unbearable for smugglers.
Between August and September 2022, The Unit has seized 542 bags of 50kgs of foreign perboiled rice, four sacks containing 165kgs of pangolin shells, 487 bags of Urea fertiliser, and 250 cartons of foreign spaghetti.
Others are 191 bales of second hand clothing, 110 Jerrycans of Petroleum Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol, 70 cartons of foreign soaps, and 32 Jerrycans of 25 liters of Kerosine.
Other items include 130 Jerrycans of 20 litters of engine oil and 10 bags of dried donkey skins.
No fewer than seven vehicles of different brands including two petrol tankers used in conveying the prohibited items were also seized by the operatives of the Service.
According to the Comptroller Musa Ibrahim Jalo “I want to warn smugglers to repent from their nefarious activities because the Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, Zone ‘D’ under the able leadership of the Comptroller, Musa Ibrahim Jalo, will not relent in its efforts at ridding the zone of smugglers.”
Source said that, the seizures were part of efforts by the Nigeria Customs Service to rid the Zone and the country at large of goods that could have negative effects of the lives of Nigerians as well as on the economy.
On the 4th of October, at about 0800 hours, Operatives on a credible intelligence stumbled upon this tanker truck suspected to conceal uncustoms goods along the Bauchi/Gombe road and upon examination, some five hundred and two (502) foreign parboiled rice were uncovered from the compartment of the truc
The Unit, has impounded a tanker truck without a registration number loaded with 502 bags of foreign parboiled rice (50kg each).
According to Comptroller Musa Ibrahim Jalo, the truck was intercepted along Bauchi/Gombe axis with the confiscated items valued at N61 Million
“The goods and the tanker truck have been impounded according to the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP C45 LFN 2004”
The comptroller warning recalcitrant smugglers to desist from their nefarious activities or face the wrath of the law, he appreciated patriotic citizens for providing the Service with useful information that is contributing positively to the fight against economic saboteurs.
Jalo said “People have to know that eradicating smuggling in this country will boost the economy, which will make the government provide social amenities to the citizenry,”