The road from Sango-Ota in
Just a little farther from the palace of the Oniko of Ikoland, Olakunle Ojo, is the border between
But there was more to this that Adebambo, in all of her years in Idi-Iroko, may not have seen. Just by her GSM shop where Uchene Arinze, 32, sold his curtain blinds, careful activity takes place. Contraband drugs, ‘Esapharma, 30kg Made in
The full story of smuggling activities in Idi-Iroko came to light the following day. Before that however, it turned out that border activity in Idi-Iroko had attracted ladies of the night. Their activities, a source told TELL reporter, have caused a major cause of concern to some hoteliers who it was revealed, want NGOs to carry out enlightenment campaigns to secondary schools in the town to forestall an outbreak of HIV/AIDS. At the BK Hotel, off Idi-Ogun way, there was an argument between a woman of the night and a customer who refused to pay for the nocturnal services he enjoyed.
The houses on the roads leading to the many river beds where contrabands like vegetable oil, kerosene, fuel are smuggled in or out of Idi-Iroko are many. By the sides of nearly every mud-and-thatch house leading to the river are giant tankers, jerry cans and pans.
‘’All of this is normal in any town that conducts international business’’, Olatunji Adekunle(not real name) insists. Adekunle, a police officer, together with immigration and customs officers, was at one of the illegal points where the contrabands are smuggled into Idi-Iroko. According to him, ‘’nearly everybody in Idi-Iroko is a smuggler. I’m one too. I cannot rely on my salary as a policeman and most of us manning these illegal points of taking goods outside are smugglers too. All we do is make sure that everyone is well taken care of, even the traditional rulers, the security officials’’, he said. According to Adekunle, anyone interested in conducting the ‘legitimate’ palm oil or petrol business should know that the business flip-flops, but should come in with at least 1,000 yellow jerry cans with each going at a market price of N5,000 each. When these goods hit town, Adekunle said, they sell like hot cakes because the Nigerian palm oil industry is hardly alive. But what happens to the cars and other contrabands like petroleum products? ‘’They follow the same pattern. It is only those who are greedy that get caught’’, he said.
‘’Everything you call illegitimate is legitimate here in Idi-Iroko’’, a source who did not want to be named insists. According to him, what takes place in Idi-Iroko is a mere reflection of what happens at the high seas where a lot of illegal oil bunkering takes place. ‘’My only regret here is that things are brought here from outside and taken away by people who are not even natives of this town. It would gladden our hearts if there are school, hospitals and low cost housing estates instead of the international trade by barter that goes on here’’, the source said.