New insight into recent altercations between the Senate and the Comptroller General, CG, Col. Hameed Ali, of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, are beginning to emerge which invariably points to actions of a major smuggler, airline owner and political financier, Dahiru Mangal.
As gathered exclusively by XCLUSIVE MAGAZINE, Senate hard stance on the CG came barely days after a major operation to extradite Mangal from Chad to answer to alleged smuggling charges went awry. The smuggler and owner of Max Airline, a principal carrier for pilgrims to hajj, is believed to be the biggest smuggler in the country.
He was major financier of Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s election among other top politicians from the North. Apart from politicians, traditional rulers, chiefly from Katsina, his home state are beholden to him.
He is said to have a lot of customs officers in his pocket, brings in as much as 400 trailers of contraband on each trip from the Northern borders; and escorts each of the convoy in a hilux, Toyota SUV.
“He carries with him an AK 47, regularly,” explained a customs operative who gave insight into Mangal’s operation.
“To be honest, officers of NCS always look forward to his coming at the border,” added the operative. He explained that on each trip, the man gives nothing less to N100, 000 each to every officer on duty post, doubling the share of the supervising officer.
Before the coming of Col. Ali, Mangal’s operations extended to Lagos ports. But with the hard stance of the retired colonel on smuggling, the Mangal hightailed back to his comfort zones in the North. But his operations bring in essential commodities and varieties of biscuits in the market.
Realizing that the man has dodged duties running into billions in dollars, Col. Ali had declared a major offensive on the smuggler.
Taking the battle to Mangal, the NCS had sent a crack team after Mangal. The manhunt had taken the NCS operatives to the smuggler’s palace in Chad but to no avail.
“Till date, we can’t really explain what happened during the mission because we get conflicting reports. Some said that operatives met Mangal at his home in Chad but simply informed him that he must find a way of appeasing Col. Ali.
“Others say that the operation might have been leaked ahead affording the smuggler the opportunity to escape long before our operatives got to his house in Chad,” explained our informer in the NCS.
Barely a week after the expedition, the CG got summons from the Senate asking to explain some of his operations and why he doesn’t wear uniforms. Unknown Ali, the senators had been informed before hand of
his aversion for wearing any other uniform apart from the military.
This, initially, stalled his acceptance of the job of the CG, hoping that Buhari would appoint him head of EFCC instead.