Joint Border Patrol Seizes N6bn Smuggled Items in South West
Operatives of the Joint Border Patrol (JBP), Sector 2, South West Zone have impounded a total of 258,385 prohibited items and 701 means of conveyance, including a bullion van with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N6,178,584,153 between August 2019 and January 2023.
Coordinator of the Team, Comptroller of Customs, Mohammed Nuru Hassan made this known while briefing newsmen on the activities of the JBP from August 2019 to January 2023 in Abeokuta on Tuesday.
Giving a breakdown of the Unit’s operations, he disclosed that in 2019, it recorded 111,571 seizures with a DPV of 1,344,552,400; while in 2020 a total of 73,764 items worth N2,538,441,750 were intercepted.
In 2021, the figure for seized goods stood at 32,135, with a DPV of N1,099,173,800; and in 2022, it impounded a total of 36,844 goods valued at 1,196,322,006.
According to him, the bullion van was intercepted in the Abeokuta axis in 2022 and was laden with rice. He added that a lot of persons are involved and the case is currently in court.
Also, a total of 4,3581/2 wraps of cannabis sativa weighing 3,079 462kg valued at N71,133,000 have been handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) with two cases in court. Another 274kg of cannabis sativa concealed in plastic kegs worth N6,750,000 were intercepted days ago based on credible intelligence has also been handed over to the NDLEA.
Compt. Hassan, noted that the purpose for setting up the JBP has to a very large extent been achieved despite the many challenges of assaults, connivance, open fraternity and loss of lives suffered.
He revealed that over 10 suspects have been arrested in connection with the seizures, but have been granted admistrative bail, adding that the collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has also yielded one conviction with others at various levels of legal processes which will be heading to the court.
Speaking further on the operations of the team, he said: “Collaboration within the coalition has further broadened the base for strong synergy between all the security agencies and indeed that has greatly brought about the reduction of smuggling activities including illegal immigration, illicit traffic and various trans border criminalities across the land and water frontiers.
“The activities has translated into several seizures of prohibited goods such as rice, illicit drugs, unapproved medicaments, national/foreign currency, used tyres, petroleum products and etc, which have since been deposited in various Government Warehouses( GWH) within the Area of Responsibilities (AOR) at Abeokuta, Idiroko, Ibadan, Ikeja and Seme axis across the Sector 2.
“Aside numerous seizures in the course of the activities within and outside the twenty (20) kilometers radius, the Operation has recorded arrests of persons where in some situations, it included means of carriages and conveyance.
“However, that was possible with the successful deployment of humist which also led to the unraveling of many saboteurs and their spread the border axis and towns. In addition, vigilance by the operatives has led to the discovery of many desolate, abandoned and reptiles infected petrol stations used for smuggling purposes across the Sector.
“It is important to mention at this point of the healthy working relationship with the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agencies (NMDPRA) in respect of the need to prosecute or sanction violations of regulations on bunkery, and illegal exportation of petroleum products (PMS) specifically as it relates to the assignments of the JBP”.
On the challenges faced by the team, he said that they lost some officers in the line of duty and recorded 16 incidents in 2022 alone; some of which were also life threatening.
“The officers have constantly been under threats, assaults and attacks: The most recent amongst the numerous, is the attack on the operatives who went on intelligence based patrol to Joforo Village in Owode – Apa suburb in Badagry on the 11th February, 2023.
“In December last year, an IVECO Truck with Registration details AGL 999 XZ, laden with iron rods and traveling towards Idiroko, overran and crushed the Patrol Base at Ajilete. In another attack launched on the JBP Teams in the Sector by smugglers and their sympathizers, we lost gallant and courageous operatives”, he said.
He commended the Federal Government’s vision, decision and commitment towards the formation and funding of the JBP Operation which has further bonded the security agencies.
Other unit heads present are Compol Commander, DSS, Bashir Kabir; Compol Commander, Immigration, ACI US Abdulla; the representative of Compol Commander, Police; representative of ONSA – SG Awala; AC Enforcement; AC A Adamu; AC Admin, CB Atinse and Axis Team Leaders.
The Joint Borders Patrol (JBP) Operation is a coalition under the umbrella of of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), made up of components from the military, paramilitary and intelligence agencies inclusive of the Army, Navy, Customs, Immigration, the Police Force, State Security and the National Intelligence Services, which all combine to operate under the lead role of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The function of JBP team’s operations is interventionist. It was set up with the objectives to enhance national security and economy through the suppression of illegal border trade and other trans border violations to forestall the influx of arms, ammunition and to generally act in collaboration with the conventional border agencies to do their jobs rather more efficiently and strongly.
The Nigeria JBP operation was in the height meant to operate in conjunction with the counterparts JBP operations across the three neighboring countries; Republics of Benin, Niger and Cameroun.