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23.02.2024 Featured BREAKING: IBD Dende Suspends Daily Turkey Smuggling After FIJ’s Investigation

Published 23rd Feb, 2024

By Sade Owoyemi

Ibrahim Dende Egungbohun, the don of smuggling in southwestern Nigeria more commonly known as ‘IBD Dende’, has temporarily suspended the smuggling of turkey from Benin Republic into Nigeria following FIJ’s undercover investigation that ran from Tuesday until Thursday.

On Tuesday, FIJ released the trailer of an undercover investigation by ‘Fisayo Soyombo, it’s founder and editor-in-chief, and followed it up with a multimedia story on Wednesday and 16-minute documentary on Thursday.

Due to the traction generated by the story, Dende has since ceased the movement of frozen foods from Benin Republic. FIJ understands that although rice was the focus of its investigation, the amount of turkey and chicken entering into Nigeria through Dende is massive.

Until FIJ’s undercover investigation, more than 50 trucks of turkey were smuggled into Nigeria every week through IBD Dende’s network alone.

READ MORE: Undercover as a Smuggler

New information available to FIJ is that Dende is not the only one involved, but there is indeed an ‘Inumidun Squad’, “99.9% of whom are smugglers”.

“Dende is just the ring leader,” said a source familiar with their operations who asked not to be named for fear of elimination. “They have a squad of smugglers who are all rich and influencial, with Dende as the ring leader.”

FIJ also understands that the Customs service “to the very top” is familiar with the operations of the ring.

“Although Dende ‘owns the whole of Customs,'” said a second source who also pleaded anonymity, “he is just the one in charge of ‘settling’ Customs for passage.”

“Nigerian turkey sellers go to Cotonou to make the purchases,” the source continued. “These other people load them in their trucks, and Dende passes them from the border into the Nigerian markets.”

THE POSITION OF NIGERIA CUSTOMS

Abdullahi Maiwada, the spokesman of Nigeria Customs Service

Before going to press, FIJ sent WhatsApp messages to Abdullahi Maiwada, spokesman of the Nigeria Customs, every day between February 16 and 18, asking to be allowed to present the findings of this investigation to the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, so he could respond to them. However, Maiwada did not reply to any of the three messages. 

When FIJ rang him on WhatsApp on February 18, Maiwada answered the call but protested that the medium of reaching out to him with “the information against Customs” was “unprofessional”. He still did not budge when he was told the caller was out of the country and so could not have made cellular calls or sent a Short Message Service (SMS).

When asked to supply the details of the ‘professional’ medium through which he or the CGC would rather receive the enquiries — an email address, another phone number or a physical address — Maiwada angrily terminated the call.

WHAT NEXT?

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has yet to officially respond to the investigation.

Dende, meanwhile, could be nursing a 2027 Ogun State governorship ambition. An active Twitter account exists for that purpose. Its most recent tweet was on February 11.

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Published 23rd Feb, 2024

By Sade Owoyemi

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