VIDEO: If not for Ogun Traditional Council – Compt Nnadi reveals stride’s secret

VIDEO: If not for Ogun Traditional Council – Compt Nnadi reveals stride’s secret

Comptroller Dera Nnadi, the Ogun State Customs Area Command boss, during a press briefing applauded the Ogun State Traditional Council for their positive intervention in the fight against smuggling and attacks on officers.

Nnadi stated that it was the timely interventions of the monarchs that helped to avert some attacks from degenerating into major crisis, adding that their body languages have in no small measure sent strong signals to the youths involving in illegal activities such as smuggling.

The Comptroller stressed the unrelenting efforts of the entire Traditional Council of Ogun State, in particular, the Paramount Ruler of Yewaland with the unalloyed supports of more than forty-five monarchs who will not blink eyes before stopping any illegal protests.

“I have got to express my appreciation to the Olu of Ilaro who assembled over forty-five traditional rulers in his domain, and we had interactions, fruitful deliberations, father and son talk, subjects and rulers meeting, and they gave me their commitments that they are going to cooperate with us.

“It is not always easy for the Olu of Ilaro and other forty-five Obas to listen to us, and not just to listen to us, but to help us to talk to the community.

“Our request was to change the narrative. I think the body language of leaders in every circumstance help followers every time.

Yewa Traditional leaders have made it very clear that they are not willing to support illegalities in their domain, and such illegalities include smuggling.

“But the most important thing was that they also showed concerns for the well being of their people. Recall that at that meeting with the Olu and other traditional rulers, request was made for the employment of youths in his community with the Customs and other security agencies.

“Also, request was made for improving on the infrastructure of the border towns. Some of you that were here about two months ago would notice that the road inside this border is being graded. It is part of the outreach that we are doing.

“You can also noticed that during the last recruitment, we sent out the link to all the traditional rulers to share to their subjects so that they can apply and be part of the process.

“We also submitted a memo to the management as requested by the traditional rulers for consideration, not just employing youths of Ogun border towns into Customs but to use Ogun as template of empowering youths of other communities.

“So, please in your report, I am requesting that emphasis should be given to our appreciation to Olu, not just to Olu, also to Alake of Egbaland who graciously also gave us the opportunity to sit with him. We set also to the Agura of Gbagura who also gave us his support.

Indeed, we have been so privilege; they gave me a soft landing to operate in this command, and I will be forever remain grateful to them”.

Citing instance of support given by Ogun State traditional rulers, the Comptroller mentioned a particular occasion in which the royalties waded in to avert disastrous situations especially in Yewa land.

“For example, just recently, we made a seizure of a trailer load of parboiled foreign rice somewhere around Itori (Ewekoro LGA of Ogun State), . . ., hours after we have taken delivery of the seizure, the smugglers mobilized some youths in that ?area to attack officers, it could have degenerated because they were mobilizing toward Ijoun (Yewa North LGA of Ogun State) to attack our officers, but we called the stakeholders, and they rose up to the challenge; they talked to the youths, they stopped them from burning our facilities at Ijoun, and we were able to mitigate that crisis.

“So, it is not as if the attack has stopped completely but like I said, in the past, perhaps we would have wanted to engage the youths too, but rather than engaging them this time, we adopted diplomacy; rules of engagement. We appealed to the youths.

“I don’t want to mention names so that it doesn’t look as if we are eulogizing just one person, but there is a particular Honorable member that we called, particular traditional ruler that we called, and they rose up to the challenge, as a matter of fact, he got to a hilarious level; the community people had to deploy their masquerades to face the youths, and when the youths saw the masquerades, they retreated.

“I also thank the Military, who mobilizes three Hillux vehicles to help secure our facilities at Ijoun, otherwise, it could have been the same story. So there were attempts been made by the youths, but the good thing is that such attempts don’t lead to major crisis anymore.

We are winning the war, not just against smuggling, but against attacks on both officers and against the community people.

“Because like I told Kabiesis during the Ijoun crisis, I would rather see that Customs partner with the communities for Corporate Social Responsibility than to use the little resources we have to go and pay compensation for the families of dead person or use the same resources to treat my officers at the hospital.

“So, it is better we talk, and nip the crisis in the bud.

“He enumerated other actions that had led to the calmness being enjoyed in state in last few months among which are his courtesy visits to stakeholders across the length and breadth of the state.

“We visited the Governor, and we were excited to be in the presence of the Governor. He also expressed his desire to work with us, and he has been doing that; security officers were sent out, operational logistics have been given by the Governor and other sister security agencies are collaborating with us.

“I visited the Commisssioner of Police, went to Alamala Barracks, we met with the Brigade Commander of the 190 Battalion here, infact nearly everybody, and that has gone a very long way to cement our relationships as implementers of the law.

“We have a mandate to assist the security of the state, . . . and most importantly, we engage youths. Twice, we engaged with the students body (NANS) and the national youth council (NYC), and all of us saw reasons we should rather optimize the benefits of being close to Benin Republic instead of using it to undermine our individual growth.

“I think that is part of what led to the calmness we are expressing, but most importantly, we have updated our officers on the use of firearms; we told them what to do.

On a market day, respect the traders; If you are chasing a smuggler, and he escape into a community, leave him, don’t ever go into a community and start shooting, and our men are obeying.

“We have this discussion in-depth with His Excellecency, the Governor. He told us this and we are obeying. So, the calmness is mutual; everybody is beginning to respect each other’s peace, and I hope it will continue”.

Earlier, Compt Nnadi had narrated the seizures, challenges, and the achievements within the last twelve months; Jan 2021 – Jan 2022 in a press statement.

1. I wish to once again welcome you to Idiroko, the Headquarters of Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun I Command for this press conference in which we intend to highlight the score card of our Command activities over a period of one year and a month (Jan-Dec. 2021 and Jan. 2022).

2. The core mandate of the Service in Ogun State includes generation of revenue for the Federal Government, suppression of smuggling and facilitation of legitimate trade.

3. It is worthy of note that the major source of revenue of the Command(import/export) have not been optimized since the closure of the land Borders as directed by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The border closure has since lasted for more than two years and still remained closed.

4. Hence, the only source of revenue for the Command as of today are fees collected from the auction sales of seized items especially petroleum products and other perishable items.

Revenue (fees collected from the auction sales of seized petroleum products and scrap metals)

Jan – Dec. 2021 – ₦41,193,829.00

Jan – 2022- ₦2,727,376.50

Total = ₦43,921,205.50

Quantity of Seized Items:

a. January – December 2021

i) Foreign parboiled rice – 57,758 bags of 50kg each (96 trailer loads)

ii) Vehicle: used vehicle popularly referred to as Tokunbo in local parlance – 10 units.

iii) Means of conveyance and foreign used – 231 units

iv) Other items include poultry products, used tyres, second hand clothing, dangerous drugs (tramadol and cannabis sativa), palm oil, assorted soaps and cream. See the attached list.

b. January, 2022

i) Foreign parboiled rice – 3,008 bags of 50kg each (equivalent of 5 trailer loads of 50kg rice)

ii) Vehicles – (a) 17 units used as means of conveyance.

iii) Total = 17 Units Grand Total = 258 Units (period under review)

iv) Frozen poultry products – 1,353 cartons

v) Petroleum products (PMS) = 15,000 liters

vi) 17 bales of second hand clothing

vi) Cannabis Sativa = 127 small bags and 15 big sacks

vii) Vegetable oil = 3 kegs of 25liters each, 5 kegs 1.8 liters, 4 kegs of 5 liters and 12 bottles

Total Number of Seizures:

a. January – December 2021 – One thousand, three hundred and thirtythree (1,333)

b. January 2022 – fifty-six (56)

Grand Total Seizure = One thousand, three and eighty-nine seizures (1,389)

Duty Paid Value (DPV) of Seized Goods:

a. January – December, 2021 – One Billion, Three Hundred and Seventy Eight Million, Two Hundred and Seventy-Six Thousand, Six hundred and Fifty Six Naira, Zero Kobo (₦1,378,276,656.00).

b. January 2022 – One Hundred and Six Million, One and Forty Five Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety One Naira, Zero Kobo (₦106,145,791.00).

Grand Total (for the period under review-January 2021 – January 2022) = One billion, four hundred and eighty four million, four hundred and twenty two thousand, four hundred and forty seven Naira, zero kobo (₦1,484,422,447.00).

i) Note: there is a remarkable increase in the number and quantities of seizures recorded in the month of January, 2022.

The Command was able to make these achievements due to the following steps:

ii) Aggressive stakeholder’s engagement and management

iii) Deployment of intelligence in all the operations across the state.

iv) Structural reorganization of the Command.

v) Improved motivation of officers by the NCS Management as exemplified by the operational vehicles allocated to the Command recentlyand the provision of accommodation in various outstations of the Command.

vi) Improved discipline and total dedication to duty by officers of the Command.

6. However, these achievements (progress) so far, were not made on a platter of gold. On several occasions, our officers while performing their lawful duties come under sustained harassment and attacks from dare devil smugglers and their supporters/sympathizers who use pump action riffles, AK47 riffles, local charms and other dangerous weapons to attack, kill and maim Officers.

7. We wish to reiterate that the sustained attack on operatives of NCS and other sister Agencies will not deter us from the continued performance of our legitimate duties in Ogun State.

8. Nevertheless, we wish to put it on record that there is decrease in these attacks on Officers of the Command in the last four months and wish it is sustained as we improve on our relationship with the good people of Ogun State.

9. The Command will continue to dialogue, engage, sensitize and educate the public on social/economic implication of smuggling as well as performing statutory function of enforcing compliance in line with government fiscal policies.

10. Permit me to once more use this opportunity to appeal to parents and guardians residing in border communities to prevail on their children, wards and youths to desist from such criminal acts such as smuggling and attack on Security agencies.

11. During my courtesy visit to the traditional rulers in various communities in the State and to the State Governor His Excellency Price Dr. Dapo Abiodun MFR, I sought for their support in combating smuggling and urged them to educate their subjects on the menace of smuggling and incessant attacks on security operatives discharging their statutory duties.

12. It is gratifying to note that we are all on the same page on the need to improve on our relationship with a view to maximize the opportunities offered the proximity of the State to the border and develop trade in Ogun State.

13. In all the traditional palaces visited, the challenges facing the border communities were enumerated to include lack of Federal presence in terms of infrastructure and developments, unemployment of the youths and we received request for Nigeria Customs Service to specifically create quota for children of the border communities during its recruitment exercises to generate employment for their teeming youths. I have communicated their request and recommended same to the Management of the Nigeria Customs Service.

14. Let me at this interval, appreciate the collaborative efforts of other sister agencies in the fight against smuggling and appeal for their continuous support. It is important to note that activities embarked upon by the Command is a patriotic duty in the interest of national security and economic wellbeing of Nigeria. NCS operatives in observance of the rules of engagement will continue to carry out its legitimate duties as prescribed by the law.

15. In conclusion, we thank the CGC and management of Customs, officers and men of the Command, community leaders and partner government agencies who are showing concern and are collaborating with the Service for their continuous support. We also thank and appreciate the Press for being objective in reporting the challenges faced by Officers while executing their duty.

16. Thank you for your attention.

Dera Nnadi

Customs Area Controller

Ogun 1 Command