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Bola Babarinde: APC Chieftain Advocates Ports Reform To Facilitate Economic Growth



…Stressed the need for improved Ease of Business 

Mr. Bola Babarinde, a former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), South African Chapter, has advised President Bola Tinubu to reform the nation’s ports to enhance ease of doing business and aid economic growth.

Babarinde in a statement on Thursday in Lagos, said that the ease of doing business was a catalyst for economic growth.

“It is important to address a small but important area that can help the new administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take off with great speed and leap forward in economic development.

“It is about Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria with Ports reform declared as a state of emergency.

“The frustration that the business community goes through in the hands of our port officials is terrible and condemnable which can be classified as economic sabotage by the individuals charged and trusted to man those departments and entry points into our economy.

“Yes, it’s true that government policies empower this corruption to flourish because officials take advantage of the system, and loopholes in such policies.

“It is the reason why it is time to move away from analogue system and unnecessary bureaucratic bottleneck at our ports to a modern automated, efficient and profitable system,” he said.

Babarinde lamented that there were about 20 documents required to complete the clearing of goods in Nigeria’s ports.

While describing each section level of approval as unnecessary, the APC chieftain said that the layers of approval had continued to perpetuate the peculiar problems of extortion and delays at the ports.

He said that these series of documents and approvals had negative consequences on the economy with adverse effects on trade and commerce.

“Why can’t Nigeria borrow a leaf from a country close to us, Ghana which has streamlined its process with experience of clearing goods with just two documents (Proforma invoice and Bill of Landing).

“The unnecessary hardships and hurdles posed to business at ports should be addressed urgently and immediately for recalibration of the economy.

“Digitalisation of the ports for clearing and shipment of goods will ease doing business, improve trade and commerce, increase productivity, and boost revenue for Nigeria.

“It will also eradicate the few unscrupulous individuals that are benefitting from the poor management of our ports to the detriment of the economic development of Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, Nigerians in the diaspora with experience in advanced economies across the world are ready and willing to contribute their quota, through technical expertise and advice for the success of the Tinubu administration.

*Bola Babarinde

Babarinde noted that the military incursion that ousted Nigeria’s first set of political leaders disrupted the nation’s journey to socioeconomic advancement and development.

He said that the military regimes imported and foisted the American style of democracy on Nigeria, which he said was expensive and sophisticated with its challenging complexities for the nation’s level of human development.

“Now, after years of our so-called democracy which Americans believe is the best for the world, we now enjoy freedoms promised by the system but it is a freedom without equity and justice.

“The equity and justice here is an equal level playing ground for all citizens to have access to basic things of life, eradication of poverty, and entrenchment of good governance with sincere leadership by those in government,” he said.


Presco Shareholders Approve N8.6bn Dividend For 2022



Shareholders of Presco Plc. have approved payment of a final dividend of N6.60 per share, indicating N6.6 billion, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2022.

The company had paid an interim dividend of 20k per share, which amounted to N2 billion.

The latest dividend brought the total dividend the company paid for the year to N8.6 billion, amounting to N8.60 per share.

Addressing shareholders on Friday at the company’s 30th Annual General Meeting held on Obaretin Estate, Benin City, the Chairman of Presco Plc, Mr Jean Van Gysel, said that the dividend payment represented an increment of 13.16 percent over what it paid in 2021.

Van Gysel said the final dividend would be paid on Oct. 3 to shareholders whose names appeared on the register of members as at the close of business on Sept. 13, 2023.

The chairman praised the shareholders and all stakeholders for their support during the period under review.

He said: “On behalf of the board, I would again like to thank all of our amazing people and teams across the business for all their commitment and hard work during the year.

*L-R: Jan Van Eykeren, Director; Patrick Uwadia, Company Secretary; Mr. Jean Van Gysel, chairman; and Mr Felix Nwabuko, Managing Director at Presco’s AGM on Friday.

“I thank my fellow directors very sincerely for the wonderful work they do for the company.”

The chairman said that the company,  during the period, recorded  N81.03 billion in revenue as against N47.43 billion it realised in 2021.

He noted that the figure represented an increment of 71 percent.

According to him, the company’s gross profit grew by 57 percent to N49.97 billion from N31.75 billion in 2021.

Van Gysel said that fresh fruit bunches harvested in 2022 amounted to 302,050 tonnes compared with 233,253 tonnes in 2021.

“Crude palm oil produced was 68,998 tonnes as against 53,775 tonnes in 2021,” he said.

The chairman added that the company produced 55,878 tonnes of Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized Oil (RBDO) in 2022, compared to 46,327 tonnes it produced in 2021.

He also said that the company produced 19,420 tonnes of Olein and Stearin in 2022 as against 17,912 tonnes in 2021.

“The year under review birthed another exciting news concerning our expansion and growth strategy.

“We concluded plans to commence, in 2023, the planned and necessary construction of a new palm oil mill to cope with the steadily increasing fresh fruit bunches harvests and have the same ready for commissioning before the end of the second quarter of 2025.

“When completed, installed capacity for palm oil milling capacity will increase to 170 metric tonnes per hour,” the chairman said.

The Managing Director of Presco Plc., Mr Felix Nwabuko, assured the shareholders of improved performance in the years ahead.

Nwabuko advised the shareholders to identify their registrars and fill out necessary forms as part of measures to tackle the issue of unclaimed dividends.

The President of the Capital Shareholders Association, Abuja, Mr Augustine Ezechukwu, praised the board of directors and management of the company for outstanding performance in the year under review.

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Kidnappers Demand N60m Ransom To Release Benue Commissioner



…As CDS vows, ‘We are coming after bandits, terrorists’***

The unknown gunmen, who kidnapped the Benue Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Mathew Abo, have allegedly demanded a ransom of N60 million from his family.

A family source told newsmen on Friday in Makurdi that the abductors made the demand in a phone call to a member of the family on Friday.

The source, the recipient of the call, whose name was withheld for security reasons, said the “kidnappers have resorted to torturing the commissioner to press home for their demand”.

The source said they called and placed their phone on loudspeaker so that the beating of the commissioner and his cries for help could be heard.

It was reported that several gunmen stormed the commissioner’s residence in Zaki-Biam in Ukum LGA and kidnapped him on 24th Sept. around 8 pm.

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

Eyewitnesses highlighted that the kidnappers came on four motorcycles, and ordered everyone in the house, including the Commissioner’s wife and children, to lie face down before they took away the victim.

The witnesses said the abductors compelled the commissioner to sit behind the rider of one of the motorcycles and sped away.

Gov Hyacinth Alia, in his reaction, has strongly condemned the abduction and directed security operatives to ensure the safe release of his Commissioner.

However, when asked if the kidnappers have made contact with either the family or government, the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Sewuese Anene, simply said “Investigation is ongoing”. 

In another development, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Maj.-Gen. Christopher Musa has said that the military will flush out bandits and terrorists from the country.

The CDS made the commitment on Friday in Kaduna when he paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Uba Sani at government house.

He said, “For terrorists and bandits, it’s just a matter of time. We are coming after them and we are going to get them to leave the country completely.”

According to him, “we are re-assessing our theatres of operation to make them more robust and more result-oriented.”

He explained that the military is expanding its operation to close the gap while changing its mode of operation which could be both kinetic and non-kinetic.

“As military officers, you must take the two operations together, deploying more troops to close the gap in other to make it more difficult for terrorists to move about freely,” he noted.

The CDS also appealed to everyone to be security conscious and report any suspicious movements, adding that everyone has a role to play in security.

Musa reiterated the desire to make Kaduna peaceful, following its strategic nature, and the fact that people regard Kaduna as a home to all.

He assured that the military would come out successful from all the security and economic challenges.

On his part, Gov. Uba Sani renewed the state government’s appeal for the prolonged stay of the Special Forces in the ongoing campaign against banditry and terrorism.

He also requested that Operation Safe Haven in the Southern Kaduna general area be expanded due to the challenges around Zangon Kataf, Kaura, Kauru and Sanga Local Government Areas (LGAs).

He said such an expansion will go a long way in containing threats and consolidating ongoing efforts in those areas.

The governor also noted that measures are required in the Birnin Gwari general area, to restrict bandits and terrorists from using the Kuduru, Kuyanbana and Kamuku forests as their hideouts.

He said there is also the need to further constrict the corridors connecting Birnin Gwari with neighboring States like Zamfara, Niger and Katsina, and stop criminals from using the corridors.

According to him, “we have stepped up efforts towards inter-state collaboration in the fight against banditry and terrorism.”

Sani said he is in constant touch with his colleague Governors and strategies are being finetuned to deny criminal elements safe havens or hideouts in any of the neighbouring states in the North West or North Central.

He also assured of the state government’s commitment to sustain the cordial relationship with the military.

“Remember that you can always count on our earnest prayers, sincere support and best wishes as you lead the Armed Forces of Nigeria,” he said.

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Border Security: Border Mgt. Stakeholders Grieve Over Influx Of Illegal Immigrants



Ibadan: NIS, NAPTIP Collaboration Puts 5 Suspected Human Traffickers In Hot Soup

The Stakeholders Forum on Border Management on Thursday met with different agencies operating at Seme Border posts with the aim of ending the influx of illegal immigrants in Nigerian communities.

Speaking during the working visit of the forum, Mrs Wuraola Adepoju, the acting Comptoller-General of the Immigration Service (CGIS), said that the country was facing security challenges due to the influx of illegal immigrants.

Adepoju, who is the Chairman of the forum was represented by Mr. George Didel, the Comptroller, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) during the visit.

The Stakeholders Forum on Border Management is chaired by the NIS with the inclusion of critical and relevant stakeholders in border operations.

It is one of the thematic groups in the four levels of coordination of the Migration Governance Structure aimed at effectively combating transnational organised crimes, especially Trafficking-in-Persons (TiPs) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOMs) around Nigeria’s borders.

Adepoju said: “We are all aware that the country is facing a lot of challenges today, ranging from irregular migration to smuggling of immigrants, gun running, and militancy.

Ibadan: NIS, NAPTIP Collaboration Puts 5 Suspected Human Traffickers In Hot Soup

“All these are due to migration across our borders and that is why we are here to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of the operations at our land border posts.

“This is with a view to ascertaining the challenges associated with combating transnational organised crimes to facilitate necessary interventions.

“We will also visit Idi-Iroko as part of our land borders to carry out this assignment.”

The chairman stated that part of their task was to know some of the challenges faced by border management agencies and how they can be surpassed so as to advise government appropriately.

“Also, part of our task is to see how the ECOWAS protocol is being implemented, challenges and issues that may have come up in the implementation of the protocol.

*The stakeholders forum on Border Management in a group photograph with representatives of agencies in Seme border post during their visit on Thursday.

“Lastly, the committee wants to interact with border communities on how they can assist the government to have effective border security and discuss the issues of SOMs and TIPs which have become a very serious scourge in Nigeria today,” she said.

She urged agencies at the border posts to take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen their relationships and build new bonds for effective border management.

Also, Mr Joseph Gbenu, the Chairman of Badagry West Local Council Development Area (LCDA), urged the border stakeholders’ forum to enlist more residents of the council in the immigration service.

According to him, many residents of different communities within the area are being harassed along the corridor.

“Most of the time, officers and men of the service harass our people because they think that they are illegal immigrants from Benin Republic.

“I believe if we have more residents in the service, this harassment will reduce,” Gbenu said.

On his part, Mr Timi Bomodi, the Controller, Seme Border Command, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), noted that at the Seme Border post, the agencies had always collaborated with each other with regard to their fields of responsibilities.

Bomodi, who is also the Chairman of Joint Border Operations, said that their collaboration was to ensure that whatever gap that existed are closed.

He said that to check the influx of illegal cross-border immigrants, data was very essential, adding that its use would help to anticipate challenges and focus attention on high-risk areas.

In his earlier remarks, Comptroller Tanko Audu, the Controller, NIS, Seme Border Command, said the border operations of the Command in combating TiPs and SOMs had been effective with use of the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS).

“The world over, issues of border security and management are major socio-political phenomena in the global space and are currently redefining security, economic and socio-political realities of many countries.

“But the issue of transnational crimes, the NIS cannot do alone. There is a need for an improved and sustained robust synergy by all stakeholders.

“The challenges faced will be enumerated in due time as the meeting progresses and as we take a tour of our facilities and operational areas.

“It is our hope that this event will be filled with positive impact as we take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen our relationship and build new bonds for effective border management,” Audu said.

The Stakeholders’ Forum is made up of agencies such as the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Directorate of Security Service (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and Port Health Service (PHS).

Some other agencies such as the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) are also members of the forum.

Other members are the Network Against Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), Boundary Commission and the border communities amongst others.

 The Forum was taken around the facility and border operation areas at the seaside where there was a very dangerous sea encroachment affecting the Immigration/Customs Barracks.

It is believed that the sea encroachment will wash up the barracks in less than two years if nothing is done to combat it. 

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