Soyombo's Alleged 'Wale' NOT CGC Adewale Adeniyi ...As Investigation shows serious ethical lapses!

Soyombo's Alleged 'Wale' NOT CGC Adewale Adeniyi  
...As Investigation shows serious ethical lapses!

The Online Maritime Media Association of Nigeria OMMAN can authoritatively report that the name 'Wale' voraciously mentioned in a video alluded to by an alleged Southwest Smuggler, IBD Deinde was neither that of Wale Adeniyi, the CGC, or any Customs officer, but one of the errand boys of the embattled business man.

It would be recalled that a video recently sneaked into the industry, where an alleged Southwest smuggler, Deinde threatened to rain down fire and brimstones, after his goods were impounded by Customs Officers, in the Ilaro area of Ogun State. 

The CGC has zero tolerance for corruption and had severally warned that he would not spare any Customs officer found culpable in the corruption web.

An insider at Ilaro, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, with OMMAN correspondents while making the clarification at the weekend, said his boss actually had no direct access to the Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, hence, couldn't have meant the CGC.

He however affirmed that his boss actually called the Controller,  Federal Operations Unit FOU, Ikeja, where he met a brick wall.

"My Boss was angry and visibly agitated. He was saying, 'Pele, call Wale (to get my phone) to call Ejibunu. But in a fit of anger (or slip of tongue), said Pele, call Wale. Ejibunu call Wale...!"

"Of course, Ejibunu was not there in front of him, so how could he have said Ejibunu, call Wale!", he said, stressing the need not to further escalate the issue and get his boss into more trouble.

"You guys are funny. You came to Ilaro to follow up a story promoted by a blogger, who didn't even run it on his own site!", he further asked, adding that the alleged promoter of the story, Fisayo Soyombo, though not a journalist, had already gotten his boss into trouble; in addition to getting some highly placed members of the community, sleepless nights. 

Two OMMAN Correspondents who were in Ilaro at the weekend noted that though the brouhaha occured in January, several weeks after, and contrary to the hot expletives, the seized contraband goods which ignited the controversial sparks in the video, are still secured in Ikeja, in full custody of the Federal Operations Unit, Lagos.

An industry watcher, Bolutife Egbewole told OMMAN, that he had seen the viral video; and going by the observed crazy display, he knew the goods were gone.

"You remember the story of the kite, the duck and the hen? If he had the capacity to free his goods from the Customs Service, he definitely wouldn't be shouting crazily...

"If he had that kind of influence that he alluded to, then, he would simply keep quiet, and honourably phoned his Contacts at the top. He lacks tact!", Egbewole noted further, saying the only thing he couldn't understand was why armed Customs operatives who should be protecting their colleague who was being publicly harassed, were pleading with the fire-splitting business man.

"Do highly trained and equipped officers who owe allegiance to the federal government need to betray such palpable fears...?" he asked, wondering why he was not instantly arrested and detained, for disrupting the officers from performing their legitimate duty..

At Ikeja, OMMAN correspondents spoke with four senior Customs officers, who echoed same sentiments, before painfully acknowledging the possibility that the service may have its fair share of bad eggs, just like every other government parastatals like Police and Immigration did.

 “We acknowledge the fact that we too may have a few bad eggs. But I can assure you that the Abuja High Command is already looking in that direction and currently doing something about it", one of the officers indicated.

But the four sources faulted the account linking Ejibunu with any possible movement of drugs and weapons to the North (in line with allegations) stressing that Ejibinu’s jurisdiction does not even extend to the North. 

“His jurisdiction is just Southwest. Anyone attempting to link Ejibunu with so much influence must have forgotten that the cross- border security agencies, and police of varying state, NDLEA operatives and sometimes the military have a road network of monitoring personnel”, the officer further said.

"You should talk to the CAC when he comes in. But i can assure you that he has no such influence; to settle even just the Customs on the highway from Lagos to Maiduguri, not to talk of, all the other varying arms of the government security agencies mandated to be on the highways.

When we finally got through to the FOU Controller, by phone since he couldn’t be reached by touch, he affirmed that Demade actually phoned him.

“I am not saying that people should not write whatever they like, but the ethics of journalism demands the writer must ensure a balanced reportage, by hearing from the other side too. Nobody like that came to my office.

“As to your question, my responses is that my officials intercepted some contraband goods and impounded them. The seizure was still within the area. So, he (the alleged smuggler) went to Rotimi (a Customs officers) to plead with him that the seized items belonged to his junior brother; and should be released. Rotimi told him that he already informed the Controller and the Controller had instructed that the seizure be brought to FOU warehouse. It was at that point that he decided to call Ejibinu.

“He actually did place a call to me; he actually did place a call. And when he placed the call; he now told me, 'Controller please help me, the goods belongs to my junior ones, and i told him, ‘I have made up my mind; i am seizing it; and that it should be brought to Ikeja.

“He pleaded that I shouldn’t do that; at that point, I truncated the call.

“But i later called him to warn him, that he would be held fully accountable if there should be any organised reprisal attack against my officers.

“It was after he met the brick wall from me that he descended on my officers, as witnessed in the video.

“For an investigative reporter, i should expect that he asked what generated the commotion as witnessed in the video.

"He was probably not even there, he only lifted a portion of the squabble and began to write.

“As a public servant, my phone numbers are accessible to everybody. As a public servant, we are suppose to serve the people. Can any Nigerian call me, and I would decline his call?

“Now, that seizure had since been brought into the Government warehouse; as it has been seized. 

“This thing happened in January and remember, this same person (Deinde) few years ago, (during Col. Hamid Ali’s regime) was arrested and detained in Abuja, but was eventually released", the FOU Controller also stated .

He debunked the allusion that  the Wale mentioned was the CGC, stressing the fact that Deinde’s statement was ‘call wale… Bring my phone, bring my phone, but ironically, the blogger allegedly misrepresented it to be the CGC.

“I am the sitting Controller, He had spoken to me. He obviously had no need calling the CGC

There would be no point in calling the CGC. It was around the time the International Customs day was holding. The CGC would have been extremely busy and couldn’t even have been reached” he explained, stressing that he had a very brief discussion with Deinde.

Interestingly, a source at Ilaro alleged that the “Investigative Journalist” Soyombo had once, in the course of his in depth investigation procured, few month back, about a hundred bags of rice and starked it in a warehouse; only for Customs Operatives to storm the warehouse and carted them away!

If the account was true, that obviously could pitch the investigative journalist against the Customs. 

Of course, that would truly be a paradox if a CNN or BCC reporter would procure a hundred bag of rice and stash it in a warehouse, to look for truck drivers, just to prove that rice smuggling is real!

Even at #40,000, a hundred bags of rice would gulp over N4,000,000, excluding the cost of transportation or other logistics. Had he succeeded, would he have been selling the rice; or take it to the Customs Harvey Road Zonal office to address a press conference?

As we tidy up our report, one major riddle remained unsolved; did Soyombo leave so many ends open, because he wasn't a journalist, but a blogger? Were the open-ended untidy reports deliberately crafted to meet the demands of a particular class of clients rather than an altruistic contribution, for sincere expansion of the frontiers of justice?

Better put, who could be the major sponsors or beneficiaries? And finally, Why didn’t Fisayo Soyombo reach out at any point to either the FOU Controller, or the Command's Public Relations Officer, in tandem with the Journalistic ethics: audi alteram partem - hear the other side, except you harbour ulterior motives!

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