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100 Days Later: Industry Watchers Savour Beauty of Round Peg in Round Hole!



A Sonnet is not a Sonata. Everything is what it is and not another. And even when it is another, it is still what it is…. And so, when the Government appointed a highly revered Retired Army officer, certain aspects of trade facilitation suffered. But the most directly hit was COWA.

In case you can’t remember, COWA simply means the Customs Officers Wives Association. 

The hippo growls and its mother responds instantly. The Goose cackles. The goat bleats. Even the mouse squeaks, and uniquely, the mother responds. But, for Nigeria Customs Operatives, for eight years, the wonderful appointment of a retired army officer as the Customs Comptroller General, totally denies them the other wings, to fly with.

The Nigerian Army has NAOWA. The Nigeria Police has POWA. For the Customs, the COWA was truly in limbo. And so, from the angle of objective industry watchers, the appointment of a square peg into a round hole, no matter how smooth or strong, is anathema. 

*CGC Wale Adeniyi, MFR

And that is one area where successive Governments have failed Nigerians. Check the Ministerial list, a lawyer was often made to head either the Power, Energy industry; or Agric. Sadly, neither the crops nor the grids understand either the constitutional provisions or its subsections’ grammar.

Over time, the crops wither and the grids collapse. 

The Government consistently plays politics with the masses. In one breath, it speaks of agape love. In another breath, it pursues policies that are directly and indirectly against the common man.

Only this Government is different. It is Altruistic. It has removed subsidies and given us palliative. Yesterday, the palliative distributors brought three bags of rice to the OKE-BADAN Community. The Community is a very large one. It couldn’t even be rationed amongst just the elderly women who hardly go out, let alone buy fuel. 

But, at least, this government brought something. Other governments didn’t bring anything, except on paper. One Government did it’s own so fraudulently, that the succeeding heir, publicly disowned it’s statistical data. Same data it probably used, to feed children and school pupils, legitimately incarcerated under the parents, via the COVID-19 Order. Yet, it expended billions of Naira feeding tiny, tweenies’ mouths, tucked behind closed doors. Our consolation: God forgives those who seek for it!

It is great when organisations fly with both wings intact. It is like a child, naturally nurtured, under the rich and cautious attention of both parents.

*Late Abdullahi Dikko Inde

In this regard, both the NAOWA and the POWA, amongst others were lucky. They exude confidence. It underscores the symbolic significance of the other wings. MKO Abiola saw this a long time ago; no wonder he painfully announced, that a bird does not fly with one wing!

COWA took a direct hit. Its ebullience and vibrancy could sustain it in the first two years. At the end of the first four years, its neglect and malnourishment had become pronounced. It was gaunt and looked haunted! In the sixth year, it atrophied and went into Comatose…!

But, those who think it was only COWA that suffered are myopic. COWA suffered. The Service also suffered. Very seriously. Things that could be resolved via dialogue were perceived as insubordination. The top hierarchy of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents once visited, to beg for consideration, over a trade facilitation matter. Despite their prayers, they came back to Lagos, from Abuja, with a conclusion that it was a mistake, making the trip, in the first instance.

The Service had two gunboats, specially crafted to deter and punish Smugglers operating on the high seas. One was called the Pride of Customs. Indeed, a huge pride. The second was named the ‘Group of Nine’. The name was historically, symbolic. It tells volumes of the Service’s preparedness to defend its integrity on the Sea, which was once rubbished, by daring criminals, resulting in the devastating deaths of nine Customs Officers’.

Both gunboats were expected to be deployed into deep-sea patrol, surveillance, interdiction and reconnaissance on water. They had since stagnated and remained, like ‘dodo’ in one quiet location.

According to recent Maritime Reporters (MARAN), the two vessels were procured at the cost of about N180 billion. It was procured under the impressive regime of Dikko Inde Abdullahi. For about eight years, the boats were ‘quarantined’ at the Marina Jetty, near the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, to corrode, gather moss, and probably soon become wrecks!

ALI: Why Customs Attained Only N2.6trn, Out of 2022 Revenue Target of N3.1trn
*Former Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd)

MARAN says N5 billion was annually earmarked to maintain it. Don’t ask how they got their details. It is the glory of Governments to hide it’s files. It is the glory of Journalists, to unravel it…!

Now, if you put N5 billion in about eight places and you designate it as taxpayers’ sweat, perhaps, one may also begin to understand the quantum of mistakes the Government incurs, whenever it fails, to put round pegs in round holes!

Now, make no mistake about this: it was not that the former lord of the Manor didn’t achieve a milestone feat. Of course, he very much did and should be mentioned.

The issue, however, was that the trillion Naira revenues were garnered in, with several limbs and businesses in tatters. The regime was more, into waging unending wars against corruption. Some other important issues immediately took the back seat. Customs duty and classifications, like shipping, are technical. Specialised tasks. Nemo dat quo non habeat! A man cannot give out, what he has not!

Capt. Solomon Omoteso and Niyi Adeyemo, both of blessed memory, did not mince words in their accounts of what killed the Nigeria National Shipping Line… It was majorly via Political appointments; and the unrepentant art of appointing square pegs, into round holes!

So now, they savour the beauty and the victory. For finally, a round peg is now truly assigned, to professionally man, a round hole…!

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MWUN Congratulates PTML Management On Acquisition Of MV Great Lagos



*MV Great Lagos

…Describes ship as a marvel of modern engineering

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) under the leadership of its President-General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, has congratulated the Managing Director of Grimaldi Shipping Company, Mr. Ascanio Ruso, and his management for acquiring “MV GREAT LAGOS”, noting that it is the first of its kind in Nigeria.

The ship is described as a marvel of modern engineering with functions of environmental consciousness built to meet the challenges of modern-day technology in the maritime industry.

“This suffices to say that Ascanio Ruso is one of the best maritime administrators in Nigeria, who treats workers in his employ with humane and dignity for labour,” Adeyanju, a Prince of Ibaan further stated.

NLC: MWUN President-General, Adeyanju, to vie for Deputy National President post

“I wish to categorically state here again that Mr. Ascanio is a wonderful Managing Director with a human face and one of the foremost employers of labour in the industry. Your blood flows with genuine intentions of fair treatment to workers’ welfare in the maritime space.

*MV Great Lagos

“We in the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria Congratulate you on this laudable milestone achievement. Once again, we say congratulations to Mr. Ascanio Ruso and your management team,” Prince Adeyanju said.

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Makinde Presents N434.2bn 2024 Budget Proposal For Oyo State



PDP’s Agboworin wins House of Representatives re-run election in Oyo

 Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Tuesday presented a budget of N434.2 billion for 2024 to the State House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

According to Makinde, the budget is made up of N222.3 billion for capital expenditure, and N211.8 billion for recurrent expenditure.

Presenting the budget tagged: “Budget of Economic Recovery”, the governor said the capital expenditure is 2.4 percent higher than the recurrent expenditure.

He added that the 2024 budget was estimating an increased Internally Generated Revenue of N72 billion with an average of N6 billion monthly.

Education gets the highest share of the budget with N90.6 billion or 20.8 percent of the budget, followed by Infrastructure which gets N74.3 billion or 17.1 percent of the appropriation bill.

The health sector takes the third position with N40.9 billion, which is 9.4 percent and Agriculture has N15.8 billion, which is 3.6 percent of the total budget proposal.

PDP’s Agboworin wins House of Representatives re-run election in Oyo

*Governor Seyi Makinde

He promised that the 2024 budget would cover projects, policies, and actions “which when implemented will cushion the effect t of the hardship the people are facing as a result of fuel subsidy removal.”

Makinde further said that his administration would continue to use technology to block loopholes, saying his government has no plan to increase taxes.

He urged the House of Assembly to see to the speedy passage of the budget proposal for the state’s economic growth and benefit of the people of Oyo State.

Responding after the presentation, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr ‘Debo Ogundoyin (PDP Ibarapa East) assured the governor of speedy consideration of the Appropriation Bill.

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Reps Committee Issues Warrant Of Arrest On CBN Governor, Others



..Following their alleged refusal to appear, four times when invited

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition has issued a warrant of arrest on the Central Bank Governor, Mr Olayemi Cardoso, the Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs Oluwatoyin Madein, and 17 others for refusing to appear before it to answer questions on their operations.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Fred Agbedi (PDP-Bayelsa) at the committee’s hearing on Tuesday.

Moving the motion, Agbedi said that the arrest warrant had become inevitable following the attitude of the invitees.

He said that the parliament worked with time and the CEOs had been invited four times but failed to respond.

He said that the CEOs should be brought to appear before the committee by the Inspector General of Police through a warrant of arrest after due diligence by the Speaker, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas.

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In his ruling, the Chairman of the committee, Rep. Micheal Irom (APC-Cross River)  said that the I-G should ensure the CEOs were brought before the committee on Dec. 14.

Earlier, the petitioner, Mr Fidelis Uzowanem, said that the petition was anchored on the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report of 2021.

He said that the report was a summary of the transactions in the oil and gas industry for 2021 which NEITI could to be challenged.

“We took up the challenge to examine the report and discovered that what NEITI put together is a report is only a consolidation of fraud that has been going on in the oil and gas industry.

“It dates back to 2016 because was have been following and we put up a petition to this committee to examine what has happened.

“The 2024 budget of 27.5 trillion that has been proposed can be confidently be funded from the recoverable amount that we identified in the NEITI report.

“It is basically a concealment of illegal transactions that took place in NNPCL, they have been in the sink with some oil companies where some companies that did not produce crude were paid cash call, an amount paid for crude oil production,” he said.
He added: “We also found that the cash core payment was used as a channel for laundering funds by NNPCL and we found out that NEITI was able to conceal it in its report.

“In 2021 NEITI reported that Total Exploration and Production Nigeria-Ltd was paid 168 million dollars but examination of submission by the company shows that it received 292 million dollars.

“In other words, 124 million dollars were laundered by NNPCL through Total because monies that have been officially paid to Total could not have been concealed if it were not meant for fraudulent purposes.

“Also for Chevron, the dollar payment NEITI puts forward in its report was 76 million dollars but document emanating from Chevron showed that they received as much as 267 million dollars.”

“In other words, 191 million was laundered under the cover of Chevron and NEITI concealed that; also, Nigeria Agip Company received 188 million dollars but none of it was reported by NEITI”.

Some of those to be arrested were the Chief Executive Officer of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), that of Ethiop Eastern Exploration and Production Company Ltd, as well as the CEO of Western Africa Exploration and Production.

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