- Ijaw group gives Dickson 7 days to revoke allocation of land to herdsmen
Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’, an anti smuggling arm of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Owerri, in the month of January 2017, impounded 17 distinct contraband goods, and recovered 21 underpayments with a total sum of N194,656,855.
The Customs Area Controller in charge of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed, Uba Garba who confirmed this while showcasing the seized items at the premises of the Customs Warehouse Enugu also highlighted that 18 suspects were arrested, in connection with the seizures which took place along Owerri, Benin, Enugu and Calabar axis.
“Owerri has once more demonstrated its determination to stem out the tide of smuggling of contraband goods into the country”, Comptroller Mohammed stated.
Providing a breakdown of the seizures, Comptroller Mohammed Uba accounted for nine vehicles worth N35,900,920; 382 pieces of foreign smuggled used tyres valued at N6,288,000 and 3,077 bags of 50kg foreign rice estimated at N80,093,300 as confiscated by the command.
Expatiating on the dangers and the implications of the usage and consumption of the items in question by unsuspecting members of the public, Mohammed Uba warned that rice smuggling has the capacity to depress the nation’s economy because it reduces government’s revenue, stifles domestic rice industries, in addition to distorting supply and consumption data usually applied by the government as references for sound policy planning.
He further justified government ban on used tyres, stressing that such items from the more advanced nations of the world were compressed and discarded for use in their countries of manufacture, but later find their way into the country as a result of the activities of the smugglers who in turn sell them to members of the public because of their perceived cheap prices.
Echoing the Comptroller’s view, the Command’s image maker, Assistant Supretendent of Customs Onuigbo, Ifeoma Ojekwu noted that figure actually consisted of a combination of an overall Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N122,282,220 and a recovered underpayment of N72,374,635.
In the meantime, a coalition of Ijaw groups across the Niger Delta region on the platform of Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, yesterday, gave the Bayelsa State governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, a seven-day ultimatum to revoke the allocation of 1,200 hectares of land the state government allocated to Fulani herdsmen for grazing or face a mass shutdown of all government facilities across the state.
Also, mothers of Ijaw nation, led by Niger Delta activist, Ms AnnKio Briggs, have slated a mass protest in Yenagoa, the state capital, on February 14, to occupy the state until Governor Dickson rescinds his decision.
Other Ijaw mothers, who resolved at a meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to occupy Bayelsa from February 14 are the leader of Ijaw Women Council, IWC, Rosemary Naingba, aka Aweke-Ere I, national legal adviser, Borno Fetepigi Obhe, national secretary, Mrs. Ebisidor Bribebe, chairman, IWC, Eastern zone, Mrs. Brassba
IPDI, in a statement by its acting spokesperson, Mr. Mayor Ogobiri, said: “We are giving Governor Dickson seven days ultimatum to revoke Bayelsa land allocated to herdsmen or face mass shut down of all government facilities across the state because we do not want a repeat of the massacre that happened recently at Southern Kaduna in our state.
“We are warning Governor Dickson that the blood of any Bayelsan is worth much more than thousands of cows. He should fight for human rights and not animal rights. “It is unfortunate that Dickson is now carried away by his pursuit for Northern relationship and more political power at the national level come 2019 and he is blind to the activities of the marauding herdsmen, which pose grave danger to peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.
“The act of the Bayelsa State Government is treacherous and a clear betrayal of Bayelsans who voted him to power. This is a critical period in our nation. We do not want our women raped and killed, we do not want our children defiled, we do not want our kings to be kidnapped and killed,and we do not want AK-47 wielding herdsmen within Bayelsa State.
“We want to unequivocally state that Dickson is inviting terrorists to Bayelsa State by allocating grazing lands to killer- squads under the guise of herdsmen. If we may ask, how many free fishing rivers and farmlands have Northern governors allocated to southerners to carry out fishing and farming businesses in the North?
“Dickson is doing eye service to the Northerners for political alignment. He is exposing the Ijaw of Bayelsa State to unnecessary danger, we now live in fear. We will wage war against Dickson within the confines of the law on his genocidal mission against the future of Ijaw people.”
Additional report from Vanguard