Western Marine Customs has Grounded Smuggling activities in Waterways – Salefu

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By Innocent Orok

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) under the leadership of Comptroller General Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR is building a new brand name for the Service despite all odds. As a thorough breed and trained officer ,having held the position of National Public Relations Officer of the Service for over two decades and working with several CGCs, as such when the mantle of the leadership of the Service fell on his shoulders in June 2023, he and his team were sure to deliver.

Immediately he receives the symbol of authority as CGC, he hits the ground running, effecting changes and posting capable officers to where they have comparative advantage, while also retaining those who are doing well.

At the Western Marine Command ( WMC), the flagship of all Marine Commands, the biggest amphibious arm of the Service covering the waterways which activities spreads around the seas, rivers, lagoons, creeks and other waterways in the South Western States of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and beyond, a total blockage of smugglers activities have been enforced with no space for any sabotage.

Comptroller Odaudu Salefu has since assumption of office as the Customs Area Controller of the WMC in 2023 tamed the activities of smugglers using the waterways. His patriotic and strategic enforcement of the NCS anti-Smuggling drive has recorded unprecedented seizures ever recorded in the Command.

In the year 2023, under the leadership of the Akatuh, Benue State born anti- smuggling Czar, a total of 48 seizures were made, comprising of 3,766 ( 50kg) bags of rice, 14,920 ( loaves ) of Cannabis Satisva (Indian Hemp) and 19,367 litres of Premium Motor Spirit ( PMS). The seizures amounted to a Duty Paid Value ( DPV) of N1,470,397,235.

In the first two months of 2024, the WMC as the flagship of Marine Commands under Comptroller Salefu have not relented, In March 2024, the Command handed over 120 sacks of Cannabis Satisva to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ( NDLEA). The 10, 551 ( loaves ) of drugs was worth N704,518,00.

Comptroller Salifu said
“In upholding the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
between Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency
(NDLEA) signed on the 4th of April 2023 to ensure synergy and collaboration in
tackling illicit traffic in hard drugs along Nigeria’s entry and exit points, the
Service under the leadership of the CGC, BA Adeniyi MFR has directed the
Western Marine Command to handover a total One hundred and twenty (120)
sacks containing 10,551 loaves of cannabis sativa with a total value of
N704,518,000.00 to Nigeria Drugs Law Enforcement Agency for further agency
action.

“Today’s event is a product of the hard work, dedication and bravery of my officers who have worked with diligence and integrity to puncture the reign of smugglers of these hard drugs”, he said.

Barely a week after, the Command also intercepted and hands over 36 African Grey Parrots to the Okomu National Park Service . The parrots were said to be valued at $5000 each , amounting to $180,000.

In a recent chat with our Correspondent, Comptroller Salefu who is passionate and thankful to the CGC and his Management for their moral and logistics support which has made the WMC the leader in marine Commands of the Service said he will not dissapoint the CGC and his Management.

To this end and to tackle the influx of smuggling activities of Rice, PMS, drugs among other items, Salefu said his Command has rejig its activities by deploying his officers to tame the scourge of smuggling activities.

” We have blocked everywhere in line with the CG’s anti-smuggling drive. I have also redeployed my officers, though some of them don’t like it, but I have to do it to maintained the fight against those who may want to use the waterways to carry out their nefarious activities”.

Salefu also said the Command’s collaboration with other security agencies like the Nigerian Navy, Marine Police, NDLEA and others is yelding results.

He promised that the WMC as the the flagship Command of other Marine Commands under his watch will continue to discharge its functions as directed by the Customs Act and the Management of the Service.

To the Nigerian public, he called on them to support the Service to rescue the Nigerian Economy from activities of unpatriotic people who are bent on bringing the economy down through nefarious activities like smuggling . He warned smugglers to stay clear of the waterways, saying if they dare, they will surely pay for it.

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