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Border Closure: Customs meet Rice farmers in Kaduna, to protect local farmers

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Zone ‘B’ Federal Operations Unit (FOU), has seized 250 parcels of goods amongst other smuggled goods worth N275.989 million between Dec. 22, 2021 and Jan. 27.

…As Fashola says Cashless toll plazas coming, to protect Government revenue***

The Nigeria Customs Service on Wednesday held a meeting with rice farmers in Kaduna State on the importance of the closure of Nigeria’s borders to national food security.

The Customs Public Relation Officer, Joseph Atta, said that the interaction was meant to garner support for border closure, an operation, principally meant to protect local farmers.

He told the farmers that the Federal Government was compelled to take the action after neighbouring countries failed to respect an agreement to block smuggling of goods into Nigeria.

Atta recalled that Nigeria even bought patrol vehicles to support its neighbours in protecting their end of the border, but nothing much was done to stop the smugglers.

He said that the border closure was not only necessary in ensuring national food security, but also the security of lives and properties of Nigerians.

Public Relations Officer of NCS, Mr. Joseph Attah

 

“The issues of light weapons, kidnapping and banditry, make Nigeria less secure and are affecting the nation’s economy especially the Agric sector,” he noted, highlighting government’s mindset to promote agriculture and stopping dependence on smuggling by taking deliberate steps, while wishing the investments to translate into appropriate growth.

The NSC spokesman however said that in spite of the genuine desire of government, neighbouring countries with the connivance of some unpatriotic Nigerians have continued to allow foreign items to be smuggled into the country, thereby causing massive losses to local farmers.

He stressed that the continuous patronage of smuggled rice only led to loss for local farmers and reduction in anticipated job growth.

Also read: Border closure: Kano industrialist lauds FG, urges more support for local rice farmers

“When drugs are allowed into the country it lead to lots of challenges; smugglers are taking advantage of the border to create havoc.

“We have a decisive government taking decisions to ensure that the nation security is secured,

“All the security agencies are now working together in unity to ensure that the country’s borders are secured,” he said.

Atta spoke further: “Our country cannot continue to take decisions that will continue to empower other people while our country suffers.”

According to him, border closure and surveillance have led to the arrest of 146 illegal immigrants, seizure of 18,759 bags of 50kg foreign rice, 131 bags of MPK fertilizer, cartridges.

Others include 4765 jericans of vegetable oil and bales of used clothing and shoes, as well as two trucks filled with petroleum products.

In his comments, the state Secretary of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Mr. Ishaya Audu expressed their total support for the government action and advised Nigerians to always patronize local foods for healthier growth.

He appreciated the federal government for providing many opportunities for Nigerians especially in the area of agriculture, particularly rice production.

“It has created a lot of jobs for the youth, and graduate are also into farming due to federal support,” the RIFAN secretary said.

The State Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Zubairu Galadima-Suba described the partial border closure as necessary to the efforts of boosting food security particularly, rice in the country.

He said the policy would eliminate the importation of toxic rice and encourage Nigerians to consume local rice which is good for their health.

Galadima-Soba explained that the objective of the policy was principally to empower indigenous farmers, and urged the public to support it.

In another development, the Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola  says Federal Government has concluded designs for the return of toll plazas on Federal roads.

Fashola disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister said that, though the government dismantled toll plazas in the past, there was no law abolishing tolls.

“Let me just clarify this impression about toll gates; there is no reason why we cannot toll; there is no reason.

“There was a policy of government to abolish tolls; to dismantle toll plazas but there is no law that prohibits tolls in Nigeria today.

“We expect to return toll plazas; we have concluded their designs; of what they will look like; what material they will be built with; what new considerations must go into them.

Minister for Power, works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.

 

“What we are looking at now and trying to conclude is how the back-end runs and that is important because we want to limit significantly if not totally eliminate cash at the plazas while ensuring that electronic devices that are being used do not impede rapid movement.

“We are also now faced with the need to acquire more land to establish the width of the toll plazas because I believe that we are looking at a 10-lane plaza so that there can be more outlets and then they merge; so we need to acquire more land.’’

He however, said that the expectation that collection of tolls would produce the replacement cost of the road was not accurate.

Fashola said that the traffic toll count that the ministry had done on major highways did not suggest that there was enough vehicular traffic across all routes.

According to him, the two or three heavy routes are Lagos-Ibadan; Abuja-Kano, Abuja-Lokoja.

“In Lagos-Ibadan, the heaviest traffic you will find is between Lagos and Sagamu; about 40, 000 vehicles; after Sagamu heading to Ibadan, it drops to about 20,000.

“So, most of it has gone eastwards going towards Ondo, Ore and by the time you get to Benin, the number significantly drops; it ratchets up again at the confluence where they are heading towards the Niger; so you can see that it is not a static 50,000 all the way.

“Same thing with Abuja-Kano-Zaria; after Kaduna, the traffic significantly drops; it is about 40,000 there too; after Kaduna, it begin to drop by the time you get to Zaria.

“If you have driven on that road before, by the time you are driving between Zaria and Kaduna, you will notice how thin the recurring number of vehicles you meet is and as you begin to head closer between Kaduna and Abuja, the number of vehicles begins to increase.

“I think it is important to have that at the back of our minds; not all roads have that traffic count,’’ he said.

The minister said that government’s move toward the tolls return was not accidental as it was being deliberate and methodical with what it was doing.

 

 

Health and Safety

OSUN: Angry youths set ablaze Iree Oba’s Palace, days after torching Akinrun’s 

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OSUN: Angry youths set ablaze Iree Oba’s Palace, days after torching Akinrun's 

Only a few days after the palace of Akinrun was torched in Osun State, the Palace of Aree of Iree in Boripe North Local Council Development Area of Osun, was on Thursday evening, also vandalised and similarly set on fire by angry youths in the town.

The palace was said to have been burnt by youths who were not pleased about the arrest of the Aogun of Iree, Chief Soliu Atoyebi, by security agents on Thursday morning.

It was attacked and burnt around 7.00 p.m, when the traditional ruler, Oba Ponle Ademola, was said to be out of the palace.

The incident led to the blockage of major roads leading to the town, while the aggrieved youths made burn fires on the roads.

Business owners in the town were said to immediately lock up their shops, while residents too locked themselves for safety measures.

The Osun Police Spokesperson, SP Yemisi Opalola, was not available for comments, as her phone was switched off.

The Maritime First learned that this was what the Osun Governor, Prince Ademola Adeleke had wanted to avoid, when he, on Monday, a day after his inauguration, issued an Executive Order, setting aside the appointment and enthronement of three traditional rulers, Aare of Iree; Akirun of Ikirun and Owa of Igbajo.

Consequently, the Palace of OWA of Igbajo has now been beefed up.

Adeleke also directed that the palaces of the three traditional rulers should be locked up, while security agents should take charge of the palaces to the prevent breakdown of law and order.

There had been palpable fear in Iree town following the appointment and approval of Prince Ponle Ademola as the Aree of Iree by the immediate past administration of Gboyega Oyetola.

Some ruling houses and groups in the town had rejected the selection of Ademola, alleging that he was imposed on the people by officials in the Oyetola’s administration.

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Health and Safety

ALARM: Kogi has 43,000 HIV carriers; Take Preventive Steps to avoid getting infected-  Commissioner

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ALARM: Kogi has 43,000 HIV carriers; Take Preventive Steps to avoid getting infected-  Commissioner

At least 43,373 people are living with HIV in Kogi, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Zakari Usman, said in Lokoja on Thursday.

Usman made the declaration at a news conference organised as part of activities marking the 2022 World AIDS Day.

The 2022 World Aids Day has: “’Equalise’’ as its theme.

Usman advised residents to disregard misconceptions that HIV had been eradicated.

The commissioner said also that it was advisable to take preventive steps not to get infected and when infected, to take management measures already provided by the government.

He assured that Kogi government would not relent in its effort at reducing HIV and AIDS to the barest minimum in the state.

“I assure that government will increase the availability of quality and sustainable services for HIV handling, testing, and prevention to reduce its negative impacts.

“Government will also encourage reform laws, policies and practices to tackle the stigma and exclusion faced by people living with HIV and AIDS

“Government will as well ensure the sharing of technology to enable equal access to HIV testing in communities.

“Getting tested for HIV is the only way to find out if one is infected as all people living with HIV are eligible for treatment,’’ the commissioner said.

Usman said World AIDS Day, celebrated every Dec. 1, gave opportunities to communities and stakeholders in the fight against HIV and AIDS to be united and advance the cause of reducing the scourge.

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Health and Safety

Troops Eliminate over 44 Terrorists, Arrest 47 in 2 Weeks 

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Troops Eliminate over 44 Terrorists, Arrest 47 in 2 Weeks 

…Troops recover 15 AK 47 rifles, eight AK 47 magazines, 82 rounds of 7.62mm special, 35 locally fabricated 7.62mm special***

The Defence Headquarters says the troops of Operation Hadin Kai have within two weeks, eliminated more than 44 terrorists, and apprehended 47 and their collaborators, in addition to rescuing 10 kidnap victims in the North East.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami said this on Thursday in Abuja at the bi-weekly update on nationwide military operations.

He said the troops between Nov. 17 and Nov. 24 neutralised nine Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in ambushes, raids and clearance operations at different locations within the theatre.

He said that while scores of the terrorists escaped with various degrees of injury, cache of arms were recovered and 10 kidnapped civilians were rescued during the operations.

Danmadami said a notorious Boko Haram/ISWAP logistic supplier was arrested by the troops on Nov. 20 at a checkpoint in Bama Local Government Area.

He said that the logistic supplier was conveying 49 jerrycans 30 litres of Premium Motor Spirit and 50 packs of energy drinks, and other sundry items in a vehicle, while the sum of N70,510 was also recovered from him.

“Consequently, within the weeks in focus, troops recovered 15 AK 47 rifles, 82 rounds of 7.62mm special, 35 locally fabricated 7.62mm special, three dane guns, 36 hand grenades, six knives, and eight AK 47 magazines.

“Other items recovered include 51 jerrycans of groundnut oil, one carton of klin detergent, 50 packs of energy drinks, nine bicycles, three motorcycles, 10 mobile phones, one vehicle and the sum of N100, 510.

“Troops equally neutralised 11 terrorist elements, arrested 47, including their logistic suppliers as well as rescued 10 abducted civilians.

“Also, a total of 139 Boko Haram Terrorist/Islamic State of West Africa Province terrorists and members of their families comprising 27 adult males, 44 adult females and 68 children surrendered to troops at different locations within the theatre.

“All recovered items rescued civilians and apprehended suspected terrorists have been handed over to the relevant authority for further action.

“While the surrendered Boko Haram Terrorist/Islamic State of West Africa Province terrorists and members of their families are being profiled for further action’’, he said.

Danmadami said the air component carried out a series of air strikes on terrorist locations in the Tumbuns near Lake Chad, which recorded some remarkable results during the period.

He said the air task force on Nov. 26 conducted an air interdiction operation on the terrorists at Mallam Fatori from Tumbum Fulani, killing several terrorists on the shores of Lake Chad and destroyed three gun trucks.

“Similar strikes were conducted on Nov. 27 at an identified terrorist training camp at Tumbun Hamma in the Lake Chad Region.

“Intelligence revealed that about 24 ISWAP terrorists were undergoing weapons handling and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) training at the location for six consecutive days.

“Consequently, the location was bombarded.

“The effect of the strike from the feedback revealed that several terrorists were neutralized with their weapons and IED destroyed,” he added.

Danmadami said the theatre command had also intensified non-kinetic operations geared towards maximising civil support for the military in the zone.

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