June 19, 2024

We Are Equal To The Task Ejibunu, Thanks to CGS -Ejibunu

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Factors aiding the huge success of FoU. Zone ‘A’ has been attributed to the active and uncomproising support of the Comptoller General of Customs, Col. Hammees Ali (retd) among many other plausible tributary reasons.

This assertion was made in an question and answer session by Success Okezie Nnadi and David Oladimeji with the Controller of FoU Zone ‘A’, Comptroller Hussein Ejibundu.

Excerpts:

Sir, just as agreed before today, we will like to have this brief interview with you in other to clarify issues by hearing from your person, knowing full well that you are the man in the eyes of the storm.

Comptroller Ejibundu: you are welcome, so go ahead with your questions.

Question
The Border is reputed for its Anti-Smuggling Stance over the years, what measures have you put in place to ensure the Unit continues its watch dog role without losing its weighty?

Answer
For the Unit to continue its watch dog role at the border without losing an iota of weight, certain measures were taken and are still being taken which revolve around Strategic operations.
There is regular rotation of patrol teams to avoid familiarity with smugglers
As a leader, I occasionally visit the traditional rulers of the border communities as well as the youth leaders to sensitise them on the dangers of smuggling and the need to work as a team.
Strong synergy and collaboration with other sister agencies such as the Military, the Police, Immigration and NDLEA
Equipping the patrol teams properly with bullet proofs, boots, enough arms and ammunition, sound operational vehicles etc.
Posting of well trained and retrained officers to the border

Question
As the linchpin of the Unit, you seem to have slotted effortlessly into the activities of the Unit with tonnes of seizures to your credit, tell us the Magic.

Answer
As far as I am concerned the magic wand is anchored on the passion for the Job, the set of dedicated and hardworking officers in the Unit, availability of the right kind of tools to work with and above all the wonderful support of the CGC and his Management in attending to our needs when over the need arises

Question
Your Unit has recorded over 2 Ben DPV worth of seizures in few months, what is the secret behind this unprecedented level of success?

Answer
The preceding question and this one are interwoven but nevertheless, the secret behind any success is having full grasp of the problems before you and then solutions will be proffered. Being a veteran in Enforcement by virtue of the long years I have led patrols all over the six geo political zones of the country, on assumption of office, I immediately hit the ground running because of my understanding of the terrain. All the nooks and crannies of the Zone are in my fingertips hence any smuggling activities anywhere in the zone are swiftly nipped in the bud.

Question
This Unit has over the years adopted the appointment of Deputy Comptrollers as the Unit head who turn Comptroller in a short while and it seems to be paying lots of dividends. From an informed position what can you say is responsible for this?

Answer
I am not competent to read the mind of the Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali RTD (CFR) and his Management whose prerogative it’s to appoint whoever he deems fit to head the Unit, and their subsequent upliftment to Comptrollers, that again is dependent on the CGC and Management as well as success in promotion exams.

Question
The border has recorded some casualties in its effort to curb smuggling. What measure is the Unit putting in place to ensure it does not frequently record such incidents leading to loss of lives and injuries?

Answer
I admit that the Unit has recorded some casualties in its effort to curb smuggling owing to the sophiscation of day to day smugglers. Measures put in place to reduce the frequency of such occurrence are as follows;-
Sensitization of the volatile border communities on the dangers of smuggling and advancing other legitimate options to engage in by the youths.
Boosting the morale of officers by equipping them with enough arms and ammunitions inclusive of other security gadgets
Directing for more joint patrols as that sends a serious signals to would-be attackers.
Engaging more with community heads and youth leaders of border communities
Greater synergy with sister agencies.

Question
The officers and men of the Unit have always shown a knack for being diligent in their Operations even to the point of death, what are incentives on ground in case of death or any other casualties?

Answer
Well, just as I said earlier, this Unit is fortunate to have a set of dedicated, committed and hardworking officers. In the course of performing their legitimate duties, some become victims of attacks or accidents. Regarding incentives for such victims, there is a robust package of insurance cover that takes care of the families. Provided by the Headquarters.

Question
The Unit under your able leadership has recorded mind blowing seizures. What is the secret behind this huge success story in a short while, sir?

Answer
The huge success story recorded under my watch is rooted on the support and backing of the CGC and his Management, the passion for the Job, the knowledge for the terrain, credible intelligence from the Customs Intelligence Unit and informants, dedication and committed officers, synergy with the military and other sister agencies, regular interface with the traditional rulers of border communities and joint patrols of heavily armed officers remain the secret of the Unit.

Question
Your team has been wonderful in making sure that the Operations have been seamless, what are the incentives in place to ginger them?

Answer
The incentives that ginger my team for seamless Operations have to do with logistic supply, training and retraining of patrol officers for safety, enough supply of arms and ammunitions, rewarding of deserving outstanding officers on a regular basis and the presence of dedicated medical team in the Unit led by the Deputy Comptroller in charge of medical services.

Question
Are there any Challenges?

Answer
Of course, the Unit has challenges such as hostile border communities, regular attacks on patrol teams even unprovoked, dangerous and difficult terrains to cover and high patronage of smuggled goods by the general public.

Question
How can you describe the relationship that exist between your command and the traditional rulers in the border area and entire stakeholder?

Answer
On assumption of office in September, 2021, my first assignment was to pay courtesy Visit to all the Stakeholders within the zone inclusive of traditional rulers of border areas. So to a great extent, there is a remarkable good relationship between the Unit, the traditional rulers and the entire Stakeholders.

Question
On a lighter mode, with all these activities it is glaring that you are a very busy man, how do you unwind?

Answer
When one is entrusted with such a huge task as this, one strives very hard not to fail and to justify that confidence. I am an apostle of business before pleasure. There is time for everything because I also believe that all work without play makes Jack a dull boy. To answer your question I relax and chill at the appropriate time.
Thank you for your time.

It would be recalled that the FoU Zone ‘A’ has been a nightmare for deadly smugglers such that their activitiess in the said axis has been technically degraded by the dogged officers and men of the Nigeria Custom Service.

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