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Court orders EFCC, DSS, police to arrest Diezani within 72 hours

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…As Ogun Customs seize 67 tokunbo vehicles, 6,015 bags of rice in one month***

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, in Apo, Abuja, on Tuesday ordered the arrest of the immediate-past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is currently under investigation for corruption allegations in the United Kingdom.

EFCC’s acting spokesperson, Mr. Tony Orilade, said this in a statement on Tuesday.

Ruling on an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Justice Valentine Ashi, gave the anti-graft agency, the Nigerian Police Force, and the Department of States Security Service and all other security agencies to arrest her within 72 hours.

“The Inspector General of Police, the Chairman of the EFCC, the Attorney General, the Department of State Services, are hereby ordered in the name of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria to apprehend and arrest the first defendant and produce her before this court for further directives within 72 hours”, the judge ordered.

The same judge had on Monday, on the request by the EFCC, granted leave permitting the anti-graft agency to arraign her and one of her associates, Olajide Omokore, on five counts of corruption allegations.

Both the order of arrest and the charges filed before the court are part of the moves to have the former minister extradited to Nigeria from the UK.

EFCC’s Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, had recently said the commission was planning to extradite the ex-minister to Nigeria following the commission’s dissatisfaction with ýthe handling of the case by the UK government.

Earlier praying for Alison-Maduekwe’s arrest on Tuesday, EFCC’s lawyer, Msuur Denga, said the order of arrest was to enable the commission to apprehend and arraign her for the alleged financial crimes in Nigeria.

The EFCC said it had investigated the former minister along with Omokore, a former Chairman, Atlantic Energy Drilling Company, following a petition dated October 2, 2013, from the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, bordering on money laundering and official corruption.

EFCC added in a statement, “Investigations into the petition revealed that Madueke as supervising minister of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, was found to have engaged in illicit and monumental fraudulent dealings in oil transactions, which she entered into on behalf of the Federal Government.

“Madueke and Omokore, are also alleged to have accepted and given gifts in properties located at Penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and Penthouse 21, Building 5, Block C, Banana Island, Lagos. They are to be arraigned on February 25, 2019 on a five-count for the offences, which are contrary to Sections 26(1) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

The EFCC had said Alison-Madueke left the country for the United Kingdom while investigations into the allegations against her were ongoing.

It said the former minister had since refused to honour EFCC’s invitation to return to the country to be prosecuted.

In the meantime, the Ogun State Area command of the Nigeria Customs Service has seized 67 used vehicles popularly known as Tokunbo and 1,065 bags of foreign rice smuggled into the country through various illegal routes at the Idiroko border axis in November this year.

The Area Comptroller, Ogun State, Michael Agbara, disclosed this on Tuesday  while briefing journalists about the activities  of the command.

Agbara who said the command had stepped up its anti-smuggling activities given the Yuletide period, added that 119 kegs of vegetable oil, 171 pairs of used foot wears, 15 bales of secondhand clothing, 30 cartons of frozen poultry products, were equally seized within the period under review.

Agbara said the whole seizures had a duty payable value of N395, 118, 058.

He noted that the command was determined to stem smuggling, most especially the smuggling of foreign rice, in order to sustain the tempo of aiding Federal Government’s policy on agricultural development to boost local production of rice.

Agbara also revealed that between  January  and November  this year,  a total of 44,615 bags of foreign rice were seized,  which he said more than double the seizure for the whole of 2017 which stood at 21,789 bags.

The Area Comptroller explained further that there were over 100 illegal routes (land and creeks), in the state through which the smugglers bring in contraband into the country.

He, however, warned smugglers to steer clear of the state, vowing that the command would continue hunt them to wherever they had their hideouts.

He said the command had taken delivery of additional four patrol vehicles to complement the existing ones.

He said, “The Comptroller -General of Customs has approved  four brand new patrol vehicles to the command to complement the existing ones for effective manning of our borders against security, economic and environmental  saboteurs.”

Agbara said the command had been liasing with traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the border communities to discourage their subjects from taking to smuggling.

He also advised those wishing to bring in used vehicles into the country to go through the sea ports and pay the requisite duty to the government, in order to prevent such vehicles from being seized.

He said, “If the smugglers succeed in bringing those cars in through the illegal land borders, the Customs will seize them ultimately.”

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Health and Safety

MMA Customs Intercepts N5.7b Ammunition, Tramadol, Others

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The Murtala Muhammed Airport command of the Nigeria Customs Service has, in its anti-smuggling drive intercepted offensive items with duty paid value of N5.794 billion.

The seized items include fifty pieces of 9mm live ammunition which was discovered in a joint examination conducted by the service and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Muhammed Sani Yusuf disclosed this at a press conference in his office on Monday.

According to him, other first-quarter seizures in the command are 1,164kg of sea cucumbers, 58kg of donkey genitals and 17 packages of Tramadol.

He noted that all the seized items contravened some of the provisions of the extant laws as enshrined in the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. 

Three persons, he said, were arrested in connection with the seizures.

The command also achieved an increase of 111.7 per cent in its revenue collection in the first quarter of 2024 when compared to the revenue generated during the same period in 2023.

Comptroller Yusuf stressed that despite certain challenges, the command collected N45,232,483,528.00 between January and March this year against N21,362,752,676.44 generated in the corresponding period of last year.

The controller stated that this year’s first quarter collection is N 23,869,730,851.56k higher than 2023 first quarter collection which is a 111.7 per cent increase.

On stakeholder engagement, the controller noted that the command has maintained its open-door policy and resolved a lot of issues of common interest with concerned stakeholders.

Yusuf thanked critical stakeholders, sister agencies and the media for their collaborative efforts and synergy while carrying out the command’s statutory mandate in the state.

He also expressed his appreciation to the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR and his management team for their continued support as well as officers and men of the command.

The controller enjoined his men to remain focused and steadfast in discharging their assigned responsibilities.

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RAMADAN IFTAR: Customs CG Hosts Bigwigs, Calls for National Unity

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RAMADAN IFTAR: Customs CG Hosts Bigwigs, Calls for National Unity

…In-Line with Ramadan Teachings

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, on Tuesday, 2 April 2024, urged Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Ramadan, reiterating that only through eschewing bitterness, accommodating one another, and living with one another in peace and harmony can people achieve a prosperous country.

CGC Adeniyi made this revelation during the breaking of the 23rd Ramadan fast with the Chairman of the Trade Modernization Project, Saleh Ahmadu, and other distinguished personalities at the Nigeria Customs Management Estate in Abuja.

He said, “As a responsible organisation, the Nigeria Customs Service will continue to uphold the spirit of Ramadan.”

“It is not by coincidence that just a few hours ago, we as a nation, celebrated Easter – and we are approaching the end of Ramadan, another remarkable Eid. What these events tend to show us is that in this country, what unites us is far more than what divides us,” he added.

The CGC, who recounts the message of Islamic teachings about the synergy of diligence and devotion to showing love among one another during Ramadan, harps on the significance of devoting oneself to intensive prayers, giving charity and alms to the poor, and serving mankind, among other things.

“These are the basic teachings of Ramadan, and they are also the same in all religions that we know. Because I do know that there is no religion that does not emphasise bringing people together and helping the needy or giving charity,” the Comptroller-General of Customs said.

Speaking further, CGC Adeniyi also used the avenue to call on Nigerians to embrace the teachings of Ramadan in their daily activities. “We have a big social problem in Nigeria where many people are going hungry every day; so many people are fasting but don’t even know where they will break their fast due to food insecurity in the country.”

According to him, addressing the challenge of food security is a collective responsibility for all, adding, “The president is leading the charge through his various programs and policies to curb food insecurity in Nigeria.”

He also stressed the Nigeria Customs Service’s commitment to extending a generous hand to Nigerians in this trying time by implementing measures that will make food abundant to Nigerians. “I therefore enjoin all of us to eschew bitterness and accommodate one another in peace and harmony,” he added.

On his part, the representative of the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Economy, Wale Edun, Director of Finance at the Ministry of Home Finance, Aliyu Muhammad, appreciated the Comptroller-General for organising the Iftar – which, according to him, signifies the unity and diversity of Nigeria.

He re-echoed the commitment of the Finance Minister to continue partnering with the Nigeria Customs Service to implement policies that will boost the economic stability of Nigeria further.

Among the prominent figures who attended the Iftar ceremony were the representatives of the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, DCM Kazeem,  Professor Tunji Ola, Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Mr Bamanga Usman, Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Authority, and members of the Trade Modernization Project team led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu.

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Maritime

Q1 2024: Apapa Customs Collects N489bn As Revenue, Exceeds 2023 Figure By Over 100%

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Q1 2024: Apapa Customs Collects N489bn As Revenue, Exceeds 2023 Figure By Over 100%

…Comptroller Jaiyeoba commends stakeholders for cooperation

The Apapa Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has collected N489,614,095,022.15 as total revenue for the first quarter of 2024 , which is over a 100 per cent higher than the  N212.5billion collected same period of 2023

Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, commended the officers and port stakeholders for their cooperation towards the attainment of the laudable feat and called for sustained compliance by government and private sector stakeholders. 

The Controller reminded them that the Apapa Command of the NCS is playing a critical role towards the realisation of the N5.7tr annual target of the NCS in 2024 and as such all hands should be on deck to achieve it. 

According to him, the almost N2 trillion target the command is expected to collect in 2024 is attainable through diligently abiding by the service books of instructions like the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, government import/export prohibition lists, Common External Tariff and Federal Government approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

While thanking the officers for their punctulity, diligence, and non compromise in the discharge of their responsibilities, Jaiyeoba reminded them of the CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and Customs Management confidence vested in them. 

The CAC reminded them that the present customs management has created room for multiple benefits for those who operate in compliance with the rules. He stated that the recently launched AEO is one of such benefits. 

He described the command’s first quarter collection as a bold step towards the realisation of the target and reminded all port users about the importance of compliance, which, according to him, comes with multiple benefits. 

Jaiyeoba said, “I want to urge all stakeholders in Apapa Port to keep supporting us in achieving an efficient system where everyone plays by the rules to achieve smoother, seamless, and faster import/export cargo clearance.”

“Making honest declaration puts the declarant at a vantage position to have a credible reputation and enjoy the benefits that come with earned integrity such as fast track and possible migration to the authorised economic operator(AEO).”

” Such attitude of compliance saves time and money as examination officers would find the cargo less cumbersome to process and other units of the service including sister government organisations would not need to flag such cargo for seizure or arrest of the importers/exporters. The cargo gets cleared on time, and payments for penalties after demand notices are not necessary as no DN is issued on compliant import/export.”

” I will continue my weekly engagement of stakeholders at various levels to sustain the tempo of our achievements and consolidate on the gains from regular enlightenment of every member of the port community.” 

“As we step into the second quarter to end the first half of 2024, I am convinced we will do better in revenue collection, facilitate more trade through our port and prevent smuggling under any guise” the CAC said.

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