April 19, 2024

Comptroller Kolade Makes FOU ZONE ‘C’ A No Go Area For Smugglers

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Comptroller Kolade Makes FOU ZONE ‘C’ A No Go Area For Smugglers

_…..tightening anti-smuggling watch in the zone_

By Ossy Onyenwezi

Smugglers operating on the hinterland are getting it very hot, as the Federal Operations Unit, FOU Zone ‘C’ of Nigeria Customs Service is tightening anti-smuggling watch in its area of responsibility within the South-East

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Unit, Comptroller Kayode Kolade, who has served Customs in different capacities before being posted to the area, is working tremendously to frustrate hardbent smugglers and their nefarious activities.

A statement made  Public by the Public Relations Officer Zone C, Jerry Attah, made it explicit that one year after Comptroller Kolade assumed office on January 25, 2023, in FOU Zone C, Owerri, it has not been the usual order of the day for economic saboteurs, who ply the Eastern region to carry out illicit trade.

Since he took the reins of leadership, Kolade and his enforcement team have frustrated smugglers in FOU Zone ‘C’ covering Port Harcourt the South East, South South Region including Bayelsa, Port Harcourt 1 and 2, Edo, Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States to a standstill.

Compt Kolade enlisted into the Superintendent Cadre of the Nigeria Customs Service in 1989, making tremendous progress, rising recently to the rank of Comptroller of Customs in 2024.

He has worked in various Customs Formations in different capacities. To mention but just a few, he was DC in charge of SIFAX bonded terminal in Apapa Port, he was D/C B1 Tincan Island Port, a position he occupied before he got appointed as the Acting Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone C Owerri based on his track records in revenue collection and anti-smuggling exploits.

He was also the coordinator, Joint Border Patrol Team, Code-named: Border Drill Sector 1 Port Harcourt in 2018. Earlier in his career path, he worked at Seme Border, KLT, FOU, Zone ‘A’ and Customs Headquarters, as well.

Kayode Kolade was appointed to pilot the affairs of the FOU ‘C’ Owerri since January 2023, where his giant record speaks volume.

Under the cerebral anti-smuggling czar, the Federal Operations Unit FOU, Zone “C” seized goods worth over N5 billion in the Duty Paid Value (DPV) category in 2023 fiscal year.

Some of the items seized were pangolin scales, foreign parboiled rice, cannabis sativa, fake pharmaceutical products, tramadol, used vehicles, used tyres, used clothing and explosive raw materials among others.

As a result of the interventions of officers of the zone under Comptroller Kolade’s watch in checkmating activities of fraudulent agents at the seaports, lots of revenues, hitherto lost, amounting to over N152 million were recovered.

Within the first three months of his resumption at the Zone C, Comptroller Kolade dealt the first blow on smugglers with interception of contraband valued N2.8 billion between January 25 and March 25. The unit under his watch also arrested 13 suspected smugglers during that period.

The value of goods intercepted was N2.7 billion, while the balance of N61.4 million was for demand notices the Unit raised based on some infractions.

The seized items include five sacks of pangolin scales, 398 sacks of Indian hemp, weighing 8,756kg, and another 2,308 compressed parcels 1kn of Indian hemp each.

The five sacks of pangolin scales weighing 413.1kg and the 11,064kg of Indian hemp are the highest, if not arguably the first seizure of such endangered species and hard drugs in the history of the zone.

Other seizures included 2,600 bottles of codeine-based cough syrup packed in 26 cartons, three exotic bulletproof vehicles, 931 jumbo bales of second-hand clothings and 484 bags of smuggled rice.

Also intercepted were 31 cartons of various medicaments, including tramadol; 32 jerrycans of petrol, and 540 pieces of used tyres.

Between July 25 and September 23, 2023, the FOU Zone C again intercepted cannabis sativa, raw materials for production of explosive devices, as well as other contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.6 billion.The Zone also arrested nine suspects in connection with the seizures.

The Eagle-eyed officers of the Unit also intercepted nine sacks of 50kg each of explosive materials, namely fertiliser, device cables, and superpower chemicals.

The superpower 90, which was intercepted by the unit, is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting

Other items seized include 1,329 bags of 50kg smuggled foreign rice; 417 sacks of cannabis sativa weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of the same substance, making a total of 627kg

Also impounded were armored bullion van, 761 jumbo bales of second hand clothings, 883 cartons of unregistered/expired medicaments, 192 packets of 225mg of tramadol, 100 cartons of wine, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres and 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato paste.

Comprehensive report of activities of FOU Zone C from January to December 2023 below : PANGOLIN SCALES:
5 SACKS WEIGHING
413.1KG with Duty Paid Value of N523,356,390.00

FOREIGN PARBOILED RICE:
1,813 BAGS OF 50KG EACH
390 CARTONS OF BASMATI RICE
worth N105, 105,000.00

CANNABIS SATIVA (INDIAN HEMP:
815 SACKS WEIGHING 17,950KG AND 2,935 PARCELS (1KG EACH) WEIGHING 2,935 KG (TOTALLING 20,885KG)
with a Duty paid value of N1,670,800,000.00

DSP/CMC COUGH SYRUP WITH CODEINE 31 CARTONS CONTAINING 3,600 BOTTLES
with Duty Paid Value of N21,600,000.00

VEHICLES:
15 UNITS INCLUDING 3 ARMOURED VEHICLES with Duty Paid Value of N2,275,000,000.00

EXPLOSIVE DEVICES:
9 SACKS 50KG OF EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS/SUPER POWER90 SUBTANCE/CABLES
Worth N12,990,000.00
+SECURITY IMPLICATION

USED CLOTHINGS/SHOES:
1,692 JUMBO BALES
44 SACKS OF USED SHOES
Worth N423,000,000.00
and N4,400,000.00 respectively

UNREGISTERED/EXPIRED MEDICAMENTS:
914 CARTONS of EXPIRED/VARIOUS BRAND INCLUDING TRAMADOL with Duty Paid Value of
N206,350,000.00

USED PNEUMATIC TYRES:
6,277 PIECES worth N94,005,000.00

FOREIGN spaghetti
300 CARTONS with Duty Paid Value of N3,600,000.00

FOREIGN TOMATO PASTE
335 CARTONS
N17,220,000.00

PETROLEUM PRODUCT
32 JERRYCANS OF 25LITRES EACH OF PMS N200,000,00 TOTAL
N5,351,826,390.00

Meanwhile, freight forwarders operating in the maritime sector have also commended the sagacity of Comptroller Kayode Kolade as a disciplined officer and a fine gentleman.

He has attended many courses as Nigeria Customs representative both locally and internationally, worthy of mention includes: INDIA trip courses on enforcement of Government Fiscal policy and Revenue, among others.

He is a recipient of many awards in recognition of his outstanding achievements. The most cherished is the commendation letter for outstanding performance in anti-smuggling operations from the Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) in 2017 while he was the coordinator of CGC Strike Force Team Zone ‘C’ covering the South-South/South-East States

He also got a lot of Merit Awards as Best Enforcement Officer at various Customs formations where he worked.

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