By Anthony Nwachuukwu
Every smuggler is an economic saboteur and must be regarded as enemy of the nation and treated like a criminal, the new Controller of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A,’ Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Deputy Compt. Hussein Kehinde Ejibunu, has said.
Ejibunu, who spoke in Lagos while taking over from DC Usman Yahaya last Friday on his retirement, was welcomed to the unit on Saturday night by smugglers with the murder of an operative at Owode in Ogun State, and has vowed to take the fight to criminals operating with his command in Lagos and Ogun states.
He thanked the officers and men of the unit for their warm reception on his arrival and solicited their support through positive inputs and unity among the officers in the discharge of their duties, while praying for God’s wisdom and guidance to enable them achieve more in the tasks ahead.
Until now the commander of Comptroller-General’s Strike Force Headquarters Team, Ejibunu enrolled in the service in 1991 as a commissioned officer and has trained within and outside Nigeria on customs operations and procedures.
He has worked in different capacities in the nation’s six geo-political zones, including as Deputy Comptroller, Enforcement, at Ondo/Ekiti and Tin Can Island commands.
On his part, Yahaya thanked all officers and men of the unit for their support and cooperation, which aided the success of his administration, and urged them to extend same to the new head, stressing that the success of the unit depended on team work.
Yahaya advised Ejibunu to run an inclusive administration to enable him surpass the successes of the unit, adding: “Challenges are bound to come your way, but no matter how tough the challenges, they are surmountable,” according to a statement by the Public Relations Officer, Theophilus Duniya.
Meanwhile, Ejibunu has condemned the murder of an operative by suspected smugglers and directed investigations into the incident, while assuring that the unit would continue to suppress smuggling and related criminal activities.
The operative – a driver, was reportedly killed during an operation after two vehicles laden with smuggled foreign parboiled rice were seized and being taken to Lagos.
One of the vehicles was said to have developed mechanical problem along the way and was being fixed when the criminals mobilised in a large number with arms and charms and murdered the officer.