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IBD Dende Threatens to Kill Customs Officer for Seizing His Smuggled Goods

IBD Dende Threatens to Kill Customs Officer for Seizing His Smuggled Goods

Ibrahim Egungbohun Dende, the biggest smuggler in southwestern Nigeria, recently threatened to kill an Assistant Superintendent of Customs (ASC) who stopped the smuggling of his goods from Benin Republic into Nigeria, FIJ can confirm.

The event occurred in January, one month before the release of FIJ’s undercover investigation, unveiling, among other things, how smuggling is aided by Customs bosses who take bribes from smugglers and then betray patrol teams by updating smugglers on their colleagues’ itinerary.

On Tuesday, February 20, FIJ released the trailer of the investigation — ‘Undercover as a Smuggler’ — by ‘Fisayo Soyombo, its founder and editor-in-chief, and followed it up with a multimedia story on Wednesday and a 16-minute documentary on Thursday.

DUBIOUS REBUTTALS

The revelations prompted Ibrahim Dende, better known as ‘IBD Dende’, to deny involvement in smuggling.

READ MORE: Undercover as a Smuggler

In a rebuttal that was first circulated by some obscure online platforms before subsequently gaining ground in traditional newspapers such as Daily Trust, ThisDay, Vanguard, Blueprint and New Telegraph, IBD Dende petitioned Kayode Egbetokun, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), saying FIJ’s investigation amounted to “character assassination with calculated view to achieve damaging effects against IBD Dende and his businesses within and outside Nigeria”.

IBD Dende’s publicist Simon Fakeye also circulated a piece titled ‘Fisayo Soyombo: When a reporter becomes assassin’, writing: “Fisayo Soyombo in his so-called investigative report [sic] defamed Chief Ibrahim Dende Egungbohun known as IBD when he said, “IBD International Hotels, Ilaro, well-known by all and sundry to have been built with proceeds of smuggling” (par 10). But in all of his 4,519 worded two reports, Soyombo would not give at least one evidence to establish his defamation that his target was a smuggler who deals in rice and guns, what a character assassination!”

Similarly, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi JP, FCIMN, the Eselu of Iselu Kingdom, who described himself as “a First Class Monarch in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State”, wrote an open letter “to debunk the information which one Investigative Journalist called Fisayo Soyombo has put in the public domain and was also discussed recently on Arise Television Nigeria”.

In response, FIJ has since published an exclusive detailing how motorcycles used by bandits and insurgents to inflict terror on innocent civilians, as well as hard drugs, including tramadol, are among the goods being smuggled into northern Nigeria by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the agency that should be checking the crime.

FIJ subsequently obtained a video of Dende threatening a Customs official who intercepted his vehicles containing smuggled rice from entering.

In the first of the videos, a frantic and irate Dende can be heard repeatedly telling the Customs officer, whom he simply identified as Rotimi: “May it never be well with you.”

Despite wielding guns, all the Customs officers in the footage can be seen pacifying Dende, imploring him to calm down.

“All the Customs officers with guns you see in those videos are his boys,” one source told FIJ.

FIJ subsequently confirmed that the said Rotimi is an Assistant Superintendent of Customs (ASC)!

Dende can also be seen bragging, “I have called Ejigbunu”, and ordering the receiver at the other end of the phone: “Call Wale, call Wale.”

FIJ can confirm that the said ‘Wale’ is Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) and current Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC). Meanwhile, ‘Ejigbunu’ is Hussein Ejigbunu, Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone A.

Dende’s repeated boasts about calling Ejigbunu confirm FIJ’s exclusive on how the NCS streamlined the passage of smuggled goods in all six states that make up Zone A to Oja-Odan, Dende’s stronghold, alone, with Ejigbunu as the Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone A, detailed to monitor the movements.

“You will find out that the teeth are sharper than the knife. I will show you that I am Dende,” Dende can be heard screaming in the video, while an apparently scared Rotimi can be heard wondering: “What have I done? He is threatening to kill me.”

As can be seen and heard in the second video, one of Dende’s grouses is that Customs officers were also smuggling rice while his own consignment was intercepted.

“I saw your boss’s trailer — four trailers that loaded rice — in Seme,” he can be heard saying. “What did you do about it? I will not accept it! I have told Ejigbunu I will not agree!”

Dende: He will blame himself.

People: Calm down now. Calm down now, Alhaji.

Scared Customs Officer: Alhaji, what have I done? What have I done?

Pleading Customs Officer: I will talk to him.

Scared Customs Officer: Oga, kini mo se? (Boss, what have I done?).

Dende: May your life be ruined, Rotimi. May it never be well with you, Rotimi. May it never be well with you, Rotimi. May it never be well with you, Rotimi.

Dende: Is he [Rotimi] the only one here? Is he the only Customs officer here?

Scared Customs Officer: What have I done? He is threatening to kill me. Why?

Concerned witness: Please, it’s okay. It’s okay, oga.

Dende: Look, Ejigbunu [Hussein Ejigbunu, Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone A] is the one I called. Ejigbunu is the one I called; he [Rotimi] will regret being born. Ejigbunu bring it [the smuggled goods] in.”

Dende: Call Wale, call Wale [the CGC]. Ejigbunu, call Wale.

Concerned people: Alhaji, calm down nah.

Dende: You will regret it. You will find out that the teeth are sharper than the knife. I will show you that I am Dende.

VIDEO 2

Dende: Pacing while making a phone call. Is he the only Customs [sic] here?

Dende: I saw your boss’s trailer — four trailers that loaded rice — in Seme. What did you do about it? I will not accept it. I have told Ejigbunu I will not agree.

Dende: I have told Ejigbunu I won’t I agree. If you don’t clear… you will have a corpse on Ejigbunu’s behalf.