By Bayo Bernard
Few days ago, some eagle-eyed men of the Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS were faced with two enticing options.
They have received intelligence reports about the movement of trailer loads of cannabis and tramadol enroute Nigerian from Republic of Benin.
The importers have probably sent emissaries ahead to try to soften the ground, so that the killing materials could have an easy passage into Nigeria.
“The customs men were faced with even a bigger pressure from the cartel in Nigeria who have been expecting their cargo to arrive,” sources in the command told the magazine.
The officers have a competing options before them: to accept bribes and get rich at the expense of clusters of Nigerian youths dying from hard drug consumption or to uphold their oath of duty: to protect the country’s borders against the infiltration of smugglers of hard substances.
The patriotic customs officers under their Controller Muhammed Uba Garba, chose the latter.
“We as customs men have the patriotic duty to support the effort of the federal government to rid the nation of hard drugs in line with the directive of the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd),” one officer in the team told the magazine.
He said Comptroller Uba has also issued a strict order to officers to step up their guard against smugglers of illicit drugs and other contraband into the country.
“There is no hiding place for smugglers at the Seme border.We have a duty to protect our economy from influx of harmful and prohibited items and we must do that tirelessly,” Uba told his officers recently.
The singular act of bravery has now led to the seizure of 56 rolls of Tramadol and over 40 parcels of Cannabis Sativa, also known as Indian hemp.
“Imagine what would have happened if the hard drugs were not intercepted. The drugs would have ended up in the hands of young men and women in places like Mushin and Ajegunle,” said Wahab Abdul, a security expert.
But Controller Uba Garba said he would continue to make sure that the Seme axis of the Nigerian Border with the Republic of Benin is policed day and night by his trusted officers.
The controller had mapped out his strategy against smugglers and economic saboteurs since he was redeployed to the command last year by the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd).
But he understands that to accomplish this difficult task, the hands of all stakeholders must be on deck.
Within the short period, the controller has had series of meetings with traditional rulers around the area, sister security agencies and most importantly, his counterparts from Republic of Benin.
Such meetings must be held regularly for maximum effect, Controller Uba said last week after a marathon meeting with some senior officers in the command at the newly commissioner Seme/ Karake Joint Border command with Benin Republic.
For instance, the command, last week embarked on joint meeting and sensitization, to enlighten the border communities on the need to engage in legitimate trade for the enhancement of economic growth for the two countries.
Controller Uba had during the sensitization warned smugglers and peddlers of hard drugs to stop the business in the interest of the country.
Within the week, another joint meeting between Benin and Nigeria held to foster ECOWAS common trade.
The event, Comptroller Uba said has become necessary” to straighten ECOWAS common trade policy for regional integration and economic development within the region.”
The seized drugs were last week handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA by the command