Saturday, December 17

Tokubo ban: Business boom for herbalists as car smugglers seek fortification

Tokubo ban: Business boom for herbalists as car smugglers seek fortification

Tokunbo ban: Smugglers, Custom officers go spiritual

- The countdown to the controversial ban on vehicles from land borders has begun

- Smugglers are preparing for the ban by seeking spiritual protection

- Custom officers are not left out in the spiritual game too

A report by the Nigerian Tribune has detailed how tokunbo cars dealers and some Customs officers are seeking spiritual protection ahead of the enforcement of the controversial ban on vehicles from land borders by the federal government.

Tokunbo ban: Smugglers, Custom officers go spiritual
Customs officers say they are ready to battle the smugglers no matter what they use
According to the report, deadly confrontation is expected between both parties hence the fortification process from different sources.

“All parties in the coming crisis are already coming to us,” a herbalist is quoted as saying.

There are herbalists and clerics who are in the business of fortifying both criminals and law enforcers in the struggle.

“Nobody wants to be caught napping. Ali [Customs boss, Colonel Hammed Ali rtd] will make us do it (enforce the ban) and you know these people [smugglers] won’t just disappear from the land borders because of the ban. They are either going to increase bribe offers or get deadlier.

''They know they can’t beat us to gun fight, so it is these babas [herbalists], alagbas and alfas [Christian prophets and Muslim clerics] that they will want to move closer to.

''But our people [officers] are not sleeping too [officers are fortifying themselves]. That is all I can tell you”, an unnamed Customs officer said.

Business is suddenly booming the spiritualists as many of them are now said to be moving to border towns because of the patronage they enjoy from smugglers.

“You know, smugglers constitute a huge percentage of the clients some of us [herbalists] who reside around border towns enjoy. They come to us for fortification against bullets penetration and all sorts of charms.

“The kind of job they do, which involves confronting Customs officers in thick bushes along border towns, exposes them to exchange of gunfire sometimes. Some of them come to us for fortification to avoid being killed during this exchange of gunfire.

“Now that the federal government has banned vehicle importation through the land borders, we expect smuggling to increase, meaning more patronage for some of us.

“Although I am not relocating, I am not ruling out such because the lure of more patronage could force others to do so”, one herbalist said.

When queried on how much it costs for the fortification against bullets penetration, the herbalist said it depends on what the smuggler is interested in.

His words: “Some smugglers would want fortification against bullets penetration while some would insist that anytime they are approaching, the guns of the Customs officials should not work until they leave that area.

“Some other people come for charms that would make them invisible and others ask for charms that would make their [Customs personnel’s] pursuit unsuccessful. So, the cost ranges from N20,000 to N50,000”.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A Command, Ikeja of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Jerome Attah, said the NCS is not be bothered by any antics from smugglers.

According to him, the ban is a federal government policy, which the service would enforce firmly no matter whose ox is gored.

Attah further stated that the Customs was ready to confront the smuggler “irrespective of what they use”.

In a related development, the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) has said the ban on importation of vehicles through roads is a very good move.

The group believes that the development if properly managed, would reduce the rate of vehicle smuggling in the country.

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