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100 Days In Office: CGC Unleashes Customs Full Potential

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… Hinges policy thrust on Collaboration, Consultation, and Innovation***

On assumption of office as the Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs on June 19, 2023, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, actually embarked on an exciting journey towards enhancing Customs’ efficiency through international collaborations, cutting-edge technologies such as AI-driven solutions, and innovative projects that will shape the future of Customs practices in Nigeria. 

His partnership with professionals and global experts is geared toward making informed decisions that will promote trade facilitation, security, and operational effectiveness.

This 100-day voyage has proven CGC Adewale’s unrelenting commitment to unlocking NCS’s full potential, which is hinged on his policy thrust of Collaboration, Consultation, and Innovation.

 COLLABORATION 

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is tasked with three core mandates, which are: robust revenue generation, suppressing smuggling, and trade facilitation.

Experts noted that these mandates can be optimally achieved through deliberate, revolutionary, collaborative engagements with stakeholders, at home and abroad, besides leveraging the deployment of cutting-edge technology.

Upon his appointment, CGC Adeniyi has stressed collaboration with international partners, local law enforcement agencies, government agencies (MDAs), Media, and other countries’ Customs administrations

Thus, he said, “As we embark on this new journey, we recognize the need for collaboration and partnerships. We value the relationships we have built with our Partner Government Agencies and the private sector. These collaborations have been vital to our adoption of technology as a tool to enhance revenue generation and streamline processes. 

“We will strengthen these partnerships and engage with stakeholders through revitalized platforms. By promoting dialogue, we can resolve disputes and advance mutually beneficial solutions that lead to more efficient and effective service. The Nigeria Customs Service will continue to treat its esteemed stakeholders as partners who have a stake in our success,” he noted.

 NCS’ PARTNERSHIP WITH FOREIGN BODIES/COUNTRIES 

Recently, the Service made collaborative engagements to operationalize the use of GEOINT to enhance the efficiency of NCS enforcement operations and contribute to overall efficiency. 

The CG has engaged in strategic discussions with partners such as the WCO, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Japan Customs Administration. The discussions aim to garner support for establishing a customs Laboratory, a significant milestone in enhancing Customs operations and trade facilitation across Nigeria. 

The NCS Laboratory will provide comprehensive solutions to address challenges such as counterfeit goods, smuggling, and non-compliant imports, thereby bolstering revenue generation and ensuring the protection of public health and safety. With its advanced analytical capabilities, the laboratory is expected to deliver precise identification, verification, and classification of goods, enabling efficient enforcement measures and informed decision-making while fostering an environment of trust and credibility within Nigeria’s trade ecosystem, marking a transformative step towards achieving seamless customs operations, trade competitiveness, and national economic growth in line with the vision of the President Tinubu Led Administration. 

His engagements extended to fruitful discussions with relevant experts and donors, focusing on crucial areas such as conducting a Time Release Study (TRS), implementing the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, leadership, and management development. These discussions underscore his commitment to comprehensive improvements and his inclination to adopt innovative solutions across various customs domains, ultimately enhancing operations.

On Tuesday, 12th September 2023, The Acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi, expressed his commitment to synergize with the Benin Republic to enhance trans-border security and regulate trade between the two countries.

This was disclosed when he officially received Senior Officers of Benin Customs, led by their Director-General, Alain Hinkati, at the Nigeria Customs Headquarters Abuja, in continuation of their two-day interactive session.

The session, which started on Monday, 11th September 2023, in Abuja, aimed at deepening the relationship between Nigeria and Benin while promoting their age-old bilateral trade ties.

Other areas that the partnership will address include enhancing the proper use of International Transit Guidelines to govern transit-bound goods and fees from Cotonou Port to Nigeria; Integration of Nigeria into the Interconnected System for the Management of Goods in Transit 

He said the treaty between the two Agencies “will prepare the way for an in-depth mechanism to harmonize the import prohibition lists of products banned by the two countries.

Meanwhile, the joint communiqué signed by the Comptroller-General of the  Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, and Director-General of the Bennese Customs, Alain Hinkati, highlighted that their meeting favors the desire of the two countries’ presidents: Bola Ahmad Tinubu and Patrice Talon to strengthen the shared commitment to enhancing trade facilitation and promoting economic development.

Other areas that will benefit the countries are fostering closer ties to Nigeria and Benin and reactivating the joint committee for monitoring trade and transit relations.

The CGC has also affirmed its partnership with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN—Habitat, to Combat Smuggling.

The CGC stated this on Tuesday, 19 September 2023, when he received Ambassadors of the UN—Habitat, led by Dr. Raymond Edoh, at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja.

The CGC appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.

The CGC said, “What we’re trying to do is to raise a modern Customs Service through partnering with stakeholders to achieve our goals because we value partnership, and I am happy that you extended your hands of collaboration to work with us.”

On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”

UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action to create sustainable cities and promote viable urban development and adequate shelter for all.

 PARTNERSHIP AND COLLABORATION WITH MDAs, STATE GOVERNMENTS, MEDIA 

The Nigeria Customs Service understands the leadership of Ag. Comptroller-General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has also reinvigorated collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Transport to decongest Ports. This came as the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transportation, Magdalene Ajani, and her team paid a visit to the CGC at Customs Headquarters Abuja on 6 July 2023 to reiterate commitments to partner with the Service 

At the meeting, the Comptroller-General stressed the need to implement policies that create sufficient space at the ports.

The Permanent Secretary also assured the CGC that overtime cargo disposal committee is working assiduously to implement policies that will decongest the four major ports in the country. “we are working in different dimensions, but the result will be prodigious, after launching sensitization exercise to stakeholders and members of the ports community about the process.” She said.

The Ag. Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, on Tuesday, 11 July 2023, paid a courtesy visit to the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, at his Office in Abuja to seek Support on Border Security 

“The porous nature of the nation’s borders necessitates this visit to the NSA to fashion the best way to tackle the menace of smuggling, which has adverse effects on our economy and security,” the CGC stated. 

In a bid to strengthen the working relationship between the Nigeria Customs Service and the Media, the Comptroller-General met with Customs Area Controllers in Zone ‘A’ and the Guild of Editors in Lagos on Sunday, 16th July 2023.

In his remarks, the CGC noted that the Service has made remarkable progress in different areas over the years and will be soliciting the support, guidance, and collaboration of the Media while at the helm of affairs of the Service. 

“We will be open to collaborating with our partners in bringing more comprehensive reports to let Nigerians know what our challenges are, what the gaps are, what we can do to bridge those gaps to improve border security and, generally, Nigeria”, he said. 

In his speech, the President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, Eze Anaba, congratulated the Customs Boss on his appointment and assured them of their support while noting the importance of Communication. 

“Your coming on board is a refreshing development, and I am sure we will enjoy such interactions on behalf of my colleagues. I assure you that if you continue this way, the Nigeria Customs Service will have it good in the media”, he said. 

In the same vein, the CGC also had dinner with Public Relations Officers in Zone A’, as well as maritime journalists in Lagos Ikeja.

He assured them of an open-door policy and the need for cooperation and partnership in steering the affairs of the Service. 

“I will open my doors to you; it’s going to be an open governance system; you will have the opportunity to contribute, to check the directions in which the customs would go while I am in charge”. He concluded.

Still in the spirit of collaboration, the CGC on Friday, 21st July 2023, during his official visit to Seme and Badagry Environs, urged local communities to support Law Enforcement Agencies in enhancing border security 

His first port of call was the Palace of the Akran of Badagry Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, De Wheno Aholu, Menu-Toyi I. 

According to him, Customs Officers who have served in Badagry have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the people of Badagry. 

From the palace, the CGC and his entourage moved to Seme Area Command, where he was welcomed by a large crowd who defied the rain, including Officers and Men of the Command, Hon. Joseph Gbenu, Chairman, Badagry West LCDA,  representatives from Customs Krake, Federal Republic of Benin, representatives from sister Agencies, Royal fathers, stakeholders, as well as community leaders. 

The CGC, while calling for synergy among sister Agencies and community leaders, said, “We must draw strength from the complementarity of our operations and, of course, our traditional rulers, always being there to guarantee the support of the communities that we serve”. 

“National security is the business of every citizen. It should not be for only Security Agencies, so as we make life easier for business, I want to charge you all to make life and the work of our Security Agencies easier”, he said. 

Because Lagos controls 70 to 75 percent of NCS’ total revenue collection, the Ag. CGC, on Tuesday, 25th July 2023, paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and pledged a partnership with the state government.

He assured the Governor of the Services’ commitment to operate within the framework of the law and supported his drive to make Lagos a mega city. 

He said, “We just secured presidential approval to undertake decongestion at our ports, using a combination of public auction and transferring some of the containers to the Government Warehouse in Ikorodu. 

“I’ve visited all the facilities, and very soon, while working with all the stakeholders, we will be able to kickstart this process and create the space necessary inside the port and around the premises of the port”, he added.

Governor Sanwo-Olu also pledged to provide a good working environment for businesses to thrive. He hinted that approval for a Badagry port had been secured. 

“I also need to inform you that there’s an approval for a Badagry port. The whole idea is to build strategic infrastructure for our citizens; Lekki is on the eastern part, badagry is on the western part so that we can decongest Apapa and Tin-can that have stretched their capacity”, he noted. 

In what seems like one of the most productive collaborations towards enhancing national security and curbing revenue loss, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) commenced an intensive vehicle database integration of the two government agencies.

The collaboration was effected during the official visit of the Acting Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, to the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dauda Ali Biu, at the national headquarters of the Commission on Thursday.

Speaking during the acting sit, thcomptgeneralneralal emphasized NCS’s renewed commitment to working together with the Corps in the area of human resource development, information, and communication technology, as well as sports. 

He stated, among others, that a handshake and effective consolidation of existing vehicle information in the National Vehicle Identification Scheme database domiciled with the FRSC and vehicle database of the NCS will curb vehicle smuggling, improve revenue generation, and enhance national security.

The Corps Marshal, while responding to the Comptroller-General, applauded the initiative, stating that the handshake and data sharing would not only strengthen the bond between the two agencies but also positively impact the fight against the smuggling of vehicles.

Biu stated emphatically that the collaboration will also entrench ease of doing business as it will make tracking vehicles without customs duty certificates very easy for the Corps at the point of registration.

On Thursday, 3rd August 2023, the Customs Boss visited the Ag. Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja. The visit sought inter-agencies’ cooperation and collaboration to fast-track sustainable working relationships between the Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Police Force to ensure adequate security of lives and properties in the country.

Addressing the leadership of the Force, the CGC Adeniyi assured the IGP that Nigeria Customs is willing to learn more from the Nigeria Police Force in investigation and other operations through coordinated capacity-building programs.

“Criminal activities are inter-connected, thus a need for the two security agencies to collaborate to mitigate the menace of smuggling, which will help the Nigeria Customs Service to generate revenue for the nation. I will therefore request to build a strong relationship between the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Police Force” the CGC said.

He said the major issues that bother the two organizations can be mitigated through sharing intelligence to help achieve a common goal in the fight against criminals.

In his remarks, the Ag. Inspector-General of Police Kayode Egbetokun described the CGC’s visit to the Force Headquarters as timely, affirming his readiness to unanimously establish a solid working bond with the Nigeria Customs Service.

Just after the decision by President Ahmed Tinubu to shut down the borders, the Customs Boss Visited the Governor of Katsina State, Dikko Radda, to Solicits Cooperation of Border Communities

He emphasized that while implementing the closure of the Jibia border, the Service will also devote energy to sensitize members of the communities on the reason behind the decision. 

Responding, the Katsina State Deputy Governor, Farouk Lawal, who represented Governor Dikko Umaru Radda at the meeting, welcomed the Ag. CGC and assured him of his unflinching support.

The CGC pledged renewed collaboration with Yobe State to ensure the state continues to benefit from the Service. He also Strengthened Customs and Community Relations in Oyo while Charging Indigenes to Embrace Locally Made Goods.

Customs also Synergized with Borno State Government to Re-establish Cross-border Trade in the Northeastern part of Nigeria.

Speaking on enhancing community relations, the CGC said, “Moving forward, we will need your support to engage with members of the border communities in Borno, especially as the insurgency has been degraded. We will build on the good relationship that we have and leverage on it to re-establish a good relationship with Cameroon and, of course, the Southern part of Chad.”

He has also expressed the readiness of his management team to collaborate with the National Center for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) in the fight against the trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons. 

Recall that the Service has, in the second week of August 2023, succeeded in intercepting over 1,000 live ammunition concealed in 203 bags of foreign rice in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.

The Customs Boss, who appreciated the National Coordinator for leading his team to visit the Service’s Headquarters to knot ties with him, also emphasized the need to venture more into intelligence and data sharing.

 INNOVATION 

As part of the innovation strategy in reviewing the anti-smuggling operations of the Nigeria Customs Service,  the CGC dissolved the  Strikeforce Team on the 17th of July, 2023, to strengthen the Federal Operations Unit Arm of the Service nationwide. 

He disclosed that it was done to also allow for more accountability and reduce multiple checkpoints. He ordered all arms, records, and operational vehicles to be submitted to the FOUs.

The CG also inspected the proposed 100 Hectares of land for the Federal Operations Unit A, Government Warehouse and Customs Training School, close to the Ogun Agro International Airport Project Site, on Monday, 7th August, 2023.

In asserting the relevance and authority of the Zonal Headquarter, Adewale Adeniyi said the office will be relocated and given a face-lift after 48 years.

On the Officer’s welfare,  he assured that some gaps in the area of insurance would be bridged and more accommodation would be provided for the officers.

Similarly,  the Comptroller-General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, following his tour to the Kaduna Area Command, paid a sightseeing visit to Customs Primary School, Barnawa, to assess the condition of the facility to renovate the school. 

This aligns with his efforts to promote education through Customs’ Social Program to the society.

Speaking to the School’s Assistant Headmaster, Adeshina Fatai, the CGC vowed to address both the short-, medium-–, and long-term needs of the school to create a conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning. 

According to him, the Nigeria Customs Service, under his leadership, will view the problem at a superficial level and will do its best to raise the spirit of the school to educate the wards of the residents properly.

The CGC, on Monday, 14th August, extended a hand of fellowship to Dorian Home in Akure, Ondo State, an Orphanage home for Charity and Social Development.

According to him, the service has a responsibility to support and assist communities where they operate and carry out their mandates. Dorian Home has the structure, commitment, and passion to drive its objectives. 

He said the home has a capacity for almost a thousand kids, as there will be a need to feed, clothe, and administer the proper medication to them. He assured of the assistance of the Service to the home.

The Customs CG also pledged his support to establish Customs primary and Secondary Schools Nationwide; he pledged after receiving the COWA delegation led by the National President and Wife of the CGC, Mrs. Kikelomo Adewale Adeniyi.

The Comptroller-General, on Thursday, 7th September 2023, performed a groundbreaking ceremony for the massive construction of Customs Service Zone B Headquarters.

The extraordinary edifice of 25 hectares of land situated in the Mando area of Kaduna State is part of CGC’s unalloyed commitment to improve the welfare and efficiency of the Service.

Speaking at the ceremony, the CGC described the initiative as a magnificent project that will pave the way to establishing a solid and efficient infrastructure to drive the activities of the Service.

In a significant development in the facilitation of trade, the Comptroller-General took decisive action in response to selected Authorized Dealer Banks failing to meet Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) related to Customs Duty and statutory charge remittances.

This decision followed a thorough audit and due process, aligning with the NCS’s commitment to upholding transparency, accountability, and efficiency in revenue collection. 

The primary objective is to ensure the accurate and timely remittance of Customs duties and other essential funds for national development.

Despite the deactivation of these banks, the Comptroller-General of Customs implemented measures to minimize disruptions for importers and stakeholders within the trading ecosystem. He assures the trading community that all pending assessments will undergo clearance processes in line with international best practices.

Importers who previously relied on the deactivated banks for duty payments were advised to utilize other Authorized Dealer Banks that comply with NCS regulations. Stakeholders encountering challenges with a particular bank are encouraged to use alternatives that function appropriately.

The deactivated banks will have the opportunity to be reactivated once they meet all regulatory requirements and settle outstanding remittances. Collaborative efforts with financial regulators and stakeholders are underway to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the Customs Duty Collection system.

 The most recent of his strategy is the organizational reshufflement. The Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, made strategic appointments and announced a significant redeployment within the Customs department.

In a press statement signed on the 6th of September, 2023, the Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, the National Public Relations officer, stated that the appointment and redeployment are aimed at ensuring operational efficiency.

According to the statement, Comptrollers Florence Nanu Ogar-Modey and Queen Ogbudu have been appointed Acting Assistant Comptroller Generals Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and Zonal Coordinator Zone B, respectively, while some of the Comptrollers redeployed to various Customs formations, include; Compt. Jaiyeoba Jide from Oyo/Osun Area Command to Apapa Area Command, Compt. Dera Nnadi from Seme to Tin-Can Island Port, Compt. Timi Bomodi from KLT to Seme, Compt. Ahmed Abe from PCA Zone ‘C’ to Kaduna Area Command and Compt. Babandede Mohammad from Lilypond Export Command to Lagos Free Trade Zone Command. 

In addition to the redeployment, Compt. Dauda Ibrahim Chana from Investigation Headquarters to Kano/Jigawa Area Command, Compt. Martina Tilleygyado from Non-Intrusive Inspection to KLT Area Command, Compt. Oloyode Adekunle from Tin-Can Island Port to Import &/Export Headquarters while Compt. Zanna Chiroma will be leaving Import & Export for PCA Zone ‘C, among many others.

The Customs boss congratulated the newly appointed and redeployed officers as well as charged them to put more effort into achieving the service’s core mandates of Revenue Generation, Suppression of Smuggling, and Trade Facilitation.

 THE ACTING CGC’s CONSULTATION STRATEGIES 

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi, has also made significant negotiations with relevant agencies and organizations – both private, corporate, and multinational to arrive at the best solutions and practices that soothe the Nigeria Customs Service.

Recall that he was attending the Policy Commission and Council meetings of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Brussels, Belgium, on the announcement of his appointment in June 2023). The Ag. CGC’s abilities in leveraging global platforms and engagement in topical debates within the global Customs community cannot be overemphasized.

The CGC has held strategic alliances and talks with partners to promote good relationships and service efficiency. These collaborations have been vital to the Service adoption of technology to enhance revenue generation.

The CGC underscores the need to promote dialogue across all levels, which would resolve disputes and advance mutually beneficial solutions for efficient and effective service. He promises that the Nigeria Customs Service will continually treat its esteemed stakeholders as partners who have a stake in the Service’s success.

Furthermore, the Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, on Wednesday, 20th September 2023, reiterated that the Service will maintain its unwavering position of consulting relevant stakeholders to enable its administration to succeed.

The CGC made this known when he received members of the Customs Consultative Committee led by the Chairman of the Council, Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju, at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, along with newly elected excos of the Association of Nigeria License Customs Agents.

He urged the newly elected leaders of the Association to consider their peculiar privilege in sustaining peace amongst them, which, according to him, will encourage the Service to take them as vital partners.

“I want to use this opportunity to rekindle the good understanding and peace between yourselves so that we will be able to synergize in eradicating threats against revenue collection and national security.”

He said the Nigeria Customs Service would henceforth share the challenge of consolidating the recent victory with the association – which will clear the way for innovations in the automation of procedures and benefit official economic operators.

He told the new leaders of ANLCA that the Nigeria Customs Service is willing to collaborate with them to ensure the successful facilitation of trade, adding, “We are going to hold a meeting to Customs Agents to ensure that we bring the required sanity into our operations.”

In his response, Mr Hakeem Olanrewaju, the Chairman of the Customs Consultative Committee who led the delegation, said they were at the Corporate Headquarter of the Customs to present the newly elected National Executive Council of ANLCA to the Ag. CGC.

Olanrewaju congratulated the Ag. CGC, on his appointment by President Bola Ahmad Tinubu, and equally assured the Ag. CGC that the Association had been put back on the rail after having a long time of experiencing hot fracas, adding that “with the intervention of the Ag. Comptroller General of Customs, the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents has embraced a collaborative peace.”

NCS Training College: The Passing Out of Basic Course I/2023 Cadets 

Among some of the activities marking his 100 days, the Ag. Comptroller-General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi (MFR) attended the Passing Out Parade of Course 1/2023 at the Nigeria Customs Service Training College in Ikeja, Lagos, on Friday, September 22, 2023, and charged the Basic Course I/2023 Cadets to uphold the highest level of integrity and professionalism while discharging their lawful duties.

The CGC congratulated the cadets on their successful completion of training and welcomed them into the service. He expressed hope for a better service, equipped them with knowledge and skills, and urged them to make a meaningful difference in the nation.

He emphasized the importance of discipline, good conduct, and the highest level of integrity in their actions, reminding them that they represent excellence and the Nigeria Customs Service, and also announced there would be a significant enhancement to the service’s training and development framework while stating that officers within the superintendent cadre – starting from those graduating that day, would undergo a mandatory refresher course every five years.

The Deputy Governor of Gombe State, Manasseh Jatau – a retired Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, senior Officers of the service, and representatives of sister agencies equally attended the occasion alongside the Training College Commandant, Deputy Comptroller Haniel Hadisson. The Commandant advised the cadets to maintain the high standard of discipline they experienced during their compulsory six-month training while executing their duties. He expressed gratitude for the support provided by the Acting Comptroller-General and his team.

As a reward for excellence, awards were presented to outstanding cadets who had distinguished themselves through dedication and hard work. In total, 81 Cadets completed their training and passed out of the Training College after six months of rigorous preparation.

The Acting CGC’s Strategies for Physical and Mental Fitness

The Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, has recently led Officers and men of the Service, including members of the management team and representatives of military and paramilitary institutions, to a marathon route march – as part of his tactics to keep his men in a state of rejuvenated physical and mental fitness.

The trekking exercise, which had a theme “Work-Life Balance: Balancing For A Better Tomorrow”, commenced in the early hours of Saturday, 23 September 2023, from Customs Headquarters Wuse Zone 3 to the newly built Customs House in Maitama Area, all in Abuja – the Federal Capital Territory.

This is seen as one of the Ag. CGC’s strategic approaches to enhance the agility of the Officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service.

Speaking after the route march, the Ag. CGC stated that the exercise is aimed at keeping officers physically and mentally fit to enable them to face their constitutional duties effectively, emphasizing that “we have gathered here to launch a transformative initiative that reflects the core values of our beloved Service – the Work-Life Balance Initiative.”

He said that the physical exercise, however, attests to the Customs’ commitment to consolidate key areas of national development, binding its ties with stakeholders and embracing technological innovations.

“As officers and men, we come under lots of pressure to fulfill various obligations, and most of the time, these pressures come from our workplaces – emanating from the nature of our tasks, which are usually physically and mentally demanding; thus, the exercise will help reduce such pressure for us and enhance our productivity at work,” he said.

The CGC noted that the Nigeria Customs Service had, over the past 15 years, established 32 clinics and medical centers all over the country to take care of the Officers’ health, adding that “as we embark on this journey, it is vital to understand the essence of this initiative and why we need to flag it off.”

He motivated everyone present at the marathon route match to continue to engage themselves in extra exercises such as jogging, hiking, dancing, and all other curricular activities while advising them to embrace a work-life balance as it will continue to improve their health and also contribute to enhancing their efficiency at the Service.

The Customs Chief also stated that the exercise will facilitate the unity and love between Customs Officers across the federation.

“Participating in this brisk walking exercise fosters friendship and unity and a sense of shared purpose amongst us,” he said.

The brisk walking exercise was attended by Deputy Comptroller-Generals of Customs in charge of different Units, Assistant Comptroller-Generals, and all Comptrollers down to  Customs Assistant III. Other participants from sister agencies who graced the ‘Walk-Life Balance’ exercise were from the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Nigerian Correctional Centre, Immigration Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and Nigeria Army.

The Comptroller-General, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi having embarked on a journey of consolidation collaboration focused on reforms, restructuring, and innovation has most importantly shown that he is fully committed to the successful implementation of the new Customs Act 2023, as he has continued to work diligently to familiarize the Officers and stakeholders with its provisions, ensuring its effective application across all the Service operations. 

Through his continuous engagements with stakeholders across different sectors, he has not relented in creating the much-needed awareness and understanding of the Customs Act and the importance of successfully achieving the Service shared goals, which he sees as a collective effort of all the Officers, personnel, stakeholders and the public while emphasizing the need to embrace the spirit of compliance and collaboration, thereby arriving at a continuous improvement of the NCS, along with contributing to the prosperity of our beloved nation, Nigeria.

The CGC’s administration has shown that it is committed to adopting a bottom-up approach, where the needs of our dear nation take precedence over everything else. He has begun prioritizing efficiency in service delivery as the bedrock of trade facilitation and revenue generation. His journey has shown that encumbrances shall no longer impede trade as he has begun to dismantle obstacles and foster a new culture of consultations, compliance, partnership, collaboration, and innovation at all strata of the Service

crime

ENUGU: Police Arrest 83 Suspects, Rescue 20 Kidnapped Victims

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Gunmen Abduct NPC Commissioner, Aides At Rivers Section Of East-West Road

The Police Command in Enugu State says it arrested 83 criminal suspects and rescued 20 kidnapped victims within the state from Jan. 1, 2024, till date.

The offences for which the suspects were arrested included abduction, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, defilement and vandalism among other crimes committed within the state in the period under review.

The state Commissioner of Police, CP Kanayo Uzuegbu, disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing newsmen on the successes of the Command since the beginning of the year.

Uzuegbu noted that 46 firearms of different calibers were recovered as well as 125 ammunition of different calibres were recovered within the period under review.

According to him, 36 motor vehicles were recovered; six tricycles were recovered and 15 motorcycles were also recovered by gallant and eagle-eyed crime fighting officers and men of the Command.

He said many of the arrested suspects had been arraigned in court and remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Service Custodial Centre, while others would be prosecuted accordingly once investigations are concluded.

The commissioner said that proactive and people’s centred policing approaches of the Command had started yielding the expected results.

Police arraign Lagos businessman for alleged theft of N3.5m phones

“I wish to specially thank the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, for the immense support his Administration has continued to extend to the police in the state.

“In the same vein, I profoundly thank and appreciate the Inspector-General of Police, Dr Kayode Egbetokun, for his visionary and pragmatic leadership style, which have brought about the policing strides recorded in Enugu State and Nigeria as a whole.

“Additionally, I express my immense gratitude to my colleagues in sister security agencies and the entire security stakeholders in Enugu State, for all the collaborative support we enjoyed in 2023, and which has continued into 2024.

“I also want to thank and appreciate my officers and men for their diligence, hard work and dedication to duty, which have resulted in the operational successes recorded.

“I urge them to remain focused and committed to actualizing the mandates of the Nigeria Police Force in Enugu State,” he said.

The commissioner maintained that discipline remained the bedrock of the Nigeria Police, adding: “I caution officers and men to shun acts of corruption, unprofessionalism and moral debasements, which bring with them severe disciplinary consequences”.

According to him, officers and men must remain professional, firm, upright and diligent in the performance of their duties.

He warned unrepentant criminals to turn over a new leaf, as “we shall more than ever, turn up the heat and make Enugu State more uncomfortable for them and their activities.”

He said: “And if they fail to repent, then we shall stop at nothing to ruthlessly deal with them.

“I also want to strongly caution rumour mongers, rabble-rousers and peddlers of fake, misinformative and disinformative news in Enugu State to desist forthwith, as the Police would not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone found wanting, in accordance with extant laws, particularly the Cybercrime Act.

“There is no doubt that the task of tackling the increasing security challenges in our society is daily becoming daunting.

“Nonetheless, the assurance I bring to the good people of Enugu State is that we will remain focused and unflinching in our commitment to enthrone a crime-free and peaceful environment for all and sundry to thrive in their legitimate enterprises.”

Uzuegbu urged the citizenry to remain law-abiding, security conscious and continue to support the police, through the provision of credible and actionable security information; while also reporting suspected criminals and their activities to the nearest police station. (

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Economy

FG Threatens To Open Borders for Cement Importation Over Price Hike

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Palpable fear has gripped cement manufacturers following the Federal Government’s threat to throw open the nation’s borders for cement importation if the product manufacturers fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper

Bags of cement

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of  Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold  its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James, Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola  Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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crime

Bill To Establish State Police Passes 2nd Reading At Reps

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Suspected bandits kill NIS personnel, injure 2 others in Jigawa

 …As Bandits kill 6 In Katsina

A  Bill for an act to establish State Police and other Related Matters thereto,  has passed a second reading in the House of Representatives.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill which will alter provisions of the 1999 Constitution to provide for the establishment,  was sponsored by Rep. Benjamin Kalu and 12 others.

Leading the debate at plenary in Abuja on Tuesday, Kalu who also presided, said in recent times, the nation’s collective security had been greatly challenged due to an upsurge in insecurity cases.

He said Nigeria operated a federation consisting of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, with 774 Local Government Areas, about 250 ethnic nationalities, and more than 200 million citizens.

Kalu said Nigeria has a vast terrain,  spanning over 920,000 square kilometers but regretted that currently, the nation operates a single centralised police system that employs less than 400,000 police officers and men.

Niger govt. rescues abducted Kagara students

He said there was no denying that the nation’s security architecture was under immense pressure.

Kalu also pointed out that  the fabric of any democracy remained woven with the threads of constant adaptation to the evolving needs of its society.

He added that at this point in our nationhood, state policing is not only inevitable but urgently desired to tackle the mounting challenges of insecurity.

According to him, the bill emerged as a necessary response to several calls for a decentralised and community-oriented approach to law enforcement.

“It seeks to navigate the complex landscape of security challenges by empowering our states with the means to address issues unique to their localities.”

He said the proposed alteration represented not just a legal adjustment to our constitution but a visionary leap toward a safer, more secure, and more harmonious Nigeria.

He said the bill sought the transfer of “police” from the “exclusive legislative list” to the “concurrent legislative list,” adding that the move would effectively empower states to have state-controlled policing.

He said the bill would also prevent unwarranted interference by the Federal Police in state police affairs, emphasising collaboration and intervention only under well-defined circumstances.

Contributing, Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos), observed that police should be empowered to license any state willing,  that meet the requirements for state police, set up by the Police Service Commission.

He said the commission should be empowered to revoke and renew the licenses if such a state abused the license, adding that state police would reduce unemployment and relieve the recurrent expenditure on the Federal Government.

On his part, Rep. Awaji-numbek Abiante (PDP-Rivers), noted that the bill would cure the tragedy of the military decree of 1966.

He, however, called for caution, saying, “We have to be careful and committed enough to look at the bill thoroughly because this was not the first attempt for such bill.”

He said the bill should provide a sure way of guaranteeing the security of lives and property while underscoring the need for deliberate efforts toward making it a reality.

Rep. Ali Madaki (NNPP-Kano) noted that the bill was killed in the seventh Assembly but disclosed that the fear was to avert a situation whereby state governors would use the state police against political opponents.

He said there were high-security challenges nationwide,  adding that each state would deploy its police in a manner that would address their peculiarities.

Also speaking, Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Kano), said about 21 states, including Benue and Taraba were caught in the web of socio-political and ethno-religious crises and could surmount such challenges if they had control of their police.

He said some of the states clamoring for the establishment of state police were not economically viable.

He acknowledged that state policing remained a noble idea while citing a scenario where a state governor denied a political opponent landing at the airport.

He argued that such a governor was capable of using the state police for negative purposes,  and urged  the lawmakers to put all issues into perspective before enacting the law.

Rep. Ademorin Kuye (APC-Lagos),  argued that 400,000 policemen to 200 million Nigerians was insufficient.

He said that the deployment of a police officer to a state he was not familiar with would make him inefficient and ineffective in discharging his duties.

Rep. Ben Itanabene (LP-Delta), called for the establishment of a distinct police structure but feared that the use of state police would be under the control of governors.

He urged the house to delete the word ‘state” from the bill while calling for decentralization of the Federal Police by using Police Command.

Kalu, after listening to contributions, put the bill to vote, which was  unanimously passed by the lawmakers

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