Seme Command: Army Trains officers On The Use Of Fire Arms

Seme Border

By Stehen Ubanna

For years, there had been frequent rows between  Customs operatives  at the Seme Land border area and  Youths of the Border Communities  who were sympathetic to smugglers, leading to loss of lives   on both sides. One of such incidents that caused major  fracas between the Customs operatives at the land border and the youths was when  a pregnant female passenger was shot  and killed  some four years ago.  It took the intervention of  the police to save the situation from escalating. There had also been instances at the land border where attempts had been made by these hoodlums to disarm Customs operatives  but were rebuffed.

Security experts  posits that the hoodlums may have  mustered  the courage to attack the armed Customs officers on the road to provoke them to use their firearms on them. Indeed, there had been instances  at the land border where bullet shot at fleeing smugglers had hit the wrong the target.

Victor Dimka, one a former Comptrollers of Seme Command was said to have engaged the services of the  army to retrain  the Command Enforcement officers on weapon handling and the use of fire arms to avoid repeated cases of  Customs operatives straight bullet hitting at wrong targets.


His successor,Mohammmed Aliyu,   appears to have queued into the army training arrangement  of the Command Enforcement officers on weapon handling and the use of fire arms.   . He was said to have reached a deal with the Commandant of  the 243 Recce Battalion, Nigeria Army, Badagry for the  training  of  the officers exercise, who in turn reached to Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, CAS, who gaave his nod.

The Seme Customs  boss  was also said to have reached out to   Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel and Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, to inform him of  the involvement of the Army to equip  the Command Enforcement officers with all the necessary knowledge and skills to help them  deal with challenges that they may face  in the course of discharging their duties in the land border area.

Mohammed, the Seme Comptroller is optimistic that the training exercise  would give the Command Enforcement officers  a sense of  ”professional approach  in weapons  handling and the use of fire arms”.

Given an insider information, he said  that the anti-smuggling drive of the Command  has been” fortified against smugglers”. This  may have given the Command the courage to clamp down on  petrol smugglers along the creeks in the Badagry axis which was not hitherto the case.

The Comptroller noted that the Command clamp down on the petrol smugglers through the Creeks  was a practical demonstration of its readiness  to ”combat  smuggling of any kind  through the land border area to the barest minimum.

True to his words, only recently, the Command in a Joint Operation with the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, personnel and with support of the police had intercepted about 2250 , 50 Kg jerry cans  of petrol at Pashi -Yekeme Creek  within Owode Community  on December 1,2017.There are many Creeks in the Badagry axis that had been used by smugglers over the years to smuggle petroleum products from Nigeria  to Republic of Benin.

Officers and  men of Seme Command  and Western Marine Command, one of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, amphibious Command  were said to have been having a running battle against the smugglers  but  not much were  said to have been achieved then. This is because the Command  do  not have  the functional Crafts to effectively confront the water ways  smugglers as the  smuggling of petrol continues to thrive in the area.

But Aliyu  maintains that the Command is  determined  to combat the smuggling  of petroleum products usually done  by smugglers using jerry cans and passing  through the Creeks and other illegal routes.

Many believe that with the knowledge which the Enforcement officers at the Seme Command had acquired in weapon handling and use of fire arms,  the Smugglers of these offensive goods and cart mart owners who engage the services of smugglers in flying  assorted vehicles into the country would be eliminated .

This is because the Seme land border area and the Creeks have been properly  fortified  that there is no escape route for any smuggler, which may have forced many of them  to relocate to Ogun state where there are many porous borders but Comptroller Sani Madugu’s Crack  Squad  men and other patrol teams in the Ogun  state area are giving  the smugglers  much trouble that  much of their cargoes had fallen into the waiting hands of the Customs operatives.

An elated Aliyu disclosed that with the training which the Enforcement officers had received from the  Army in weapon handling and use of fire arms, the Command made 64 seizures of offensive goods in the month of January , 2018, alone  with a Duty Paid Value of N18 million.

In spite of the claim by Aliyu, the Seme Customs boss that security had been tightened up against smugglers , and that nothing that is coming into the Nigeria market through the land border,  he may be far from the truth.

Investigation by the Magazine shows that most of the assorted Japanese Toyota brand products that had been evacuated from some car marts in Lagos were found to have been smuggled through Seme  Ogun land borders. It would be recalled that the government had banned the importation of vehicles through the nation’s land borders in January , 2017. But the clever Nigerians and car mart owners  would still engage the services of smugglers who bring in the vehicles into the country for them with hope that   they would get still get the necessary import documents  from Port Multi-services terminal Limited, PTML, showing that it had been imported through Tin can Island port.

But what should gladen the  heart of the Comptroller  was revenue that was generated and paid into the Federation  Account  in the month of January. The Command , according to Taupyen Selchang, a Chief Superintendent and the Command Chief Public Relation Officer, CPRO, was said to have generated  over N546 million.  This is encouraging for a Command where most of the its high yielding sources of generating revenue had been banned by the government such as rice, and vehicles from coming through the land border. The Comptroller is optimistic that  with the tight security at the land border, most genuine trade trader who had been using the services of smugglers would have no choice but to pay duties for their imports or lose it to government as there are  no more escape routes for them.

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