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Health and Safety

Customs donates 86 drones to Navy; LASG arrests 6 suspected land grabbers at Ipaja



The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday donated 86 drones to the Nigerian Navy (NN) toward enhancing its operations.

The NCS Comptroller-General retired Col. Hamid Ali while presenting the items in Abuja said that they were intercepted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja after the importers failed to present End Users Certificate (EUC).

Also read: Customs Warehouse Ikorodu Can Still Accommodate 9,000 Containers– ACG Aremu

Ali said that the customs usually condemn items imported into the country without EUC, after security permission from High Court.

“Such items or equipment are automatically forfeited to the Federal Government, which is why we are directed to transfer and hand over the drones to the NN.

“This is also because of the cooperation and the synergy among the security agencies in the country,“ he said.

Ali was represented by the NCS FCT Comptroller, Mr Suleman Bomoi at the ceremony.

“We intercepted these drones, seized them from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, and we went to High Court, Abuja, to get the Court’s order to condemn.

“So, I’m directed by the C-G to hand the items to the NN because of the cooperation and the synergy among the security agencies,“ he said.

Ali, however, emphasised that items imported or that found their way into the country must come with EUC.

He, however, urged Nigerians who were into importation or thinking of going into the business, to always ensure they have their EUC in place.

“Getting EUC is as easy as anything. Go to the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), who is saddled with the responsibility of issuing EUC and apply online and get it.

“So, failure to have it will lead to an interception, seizure and outright condemnation,“ he said.

In his remarks, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice-Adm. Awwal Gambo, while receiving the items, assured of the appropriate use of the items for the benefit of the service and the country in general.

Gambo was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Naval Headquarters, Rear Adm. Solomon Agada.

The CNS extended the appreciation of the entire NN to the custom’s C-G, adding that it was done as part of a collaboration among the various security agencies in the country.

This, collaboration he added, would continue to be in place as the agencies work together to ensure the security of the country.

In another development, the Lagos State Environmental Enforcement and Special Offences Unit (Taskforce) says it has arrested six suspected land-grabbing syndicates operating at Command Secondary School Ipaja, Lagos and its axis.

The Agency’s spokesman, Mr Gbadeyan Abdulraheem, confirmed the arrest in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.

He identified those arrested as Adekola Shoderu, 50; Gbenga Oladipupo, 47; Philip Gabriel, 40; Fatai Yusuf, 43; Ibrahim Mustapha, 38, and Olanrewaju Ifetijesu.

Abdulraheem said that the suspects were arrested while allegedly trying to forcefully take possession of land spanning 12 hectres belonging to Lagos State Ministry of Housing.

He said the suspects had been known for perpetrating such criminal acts around the axis for a long time.

According to him, luck ran out on them when they allegedly tried to obtain money from the building contractors working on the site, who alerted the agency’s officials before their arrest.

“This set of land grabbers has been known to terrorise the Ipaja axis and we have been on their lookout for a while.

“The agency has said it times without number that there is no room for land grabbers or Omo-onile in Lagos and anyone still involved in the practice would be made to face the wrath of the law,” he said.

Abdulraheem said that the Lagos State Ministry of Housing was in Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Prosper Gardens Properties to build structures meant to better the lives of Lagos residents on the said land.

He said that the activities of the suspects impeded the flow of work on the site as a result of their constant threats with harmful weapons demanding for payment of the land from the contractors.

“The Lagos State Government is putting everything in place to actualise its mandate of improvement in physical infrastructure, housing and security.

“These suspected criminals try to undermine these efforts with their selfish actions.

“We will not condone it now or ever.

That is why we are going all out to arrest and prosecute anyone involved in land-grabbing activities,” he said.

The task force spokesperson enjoined residents of Lagos to report any suspected land-grabbing person or group to the agency directly or through social media channels.

He also urged them to desist from taking laws into their hands when such suspected individuals approach them concerning their property as two wrongs do not make a right.

“All such criminal or illegal activities should be reported to the agency or the nearest police station,” Abdulraheem said adding that the suspects would be charged to court accordingly.


Health and Safety

650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued



650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued

 About 650 migrants reached the Italian coast in a fishing boat, the latest in increasing attempts to reach the country.

The boat which was about 30 metres long and overloaded, arrived in the southern town of Roccella Ionica, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

The report said the boat departed from Libya and its passengers had been travelling for five days.

The passengers were all men who came from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, ANSA said.

They reached the Calabrian town unaided, without the involvement of the coast guard or civilian sea rescuers.

Thousands of people arrived in Italy over the weekend. Dozens of others died in the attempt or went missing because their boats capsized.

Meanwhile, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders brought 190 Mediterranean migrants ashore to the southern Italian city of Bari.

The group’s Geo Barents vessel reached the port on the Adriatic coast previously assigned by Italian authorities late on Sunday afternoon, it said.

The ship picked up people on Friday from an unseaworthy wooden boat, including several unaccompanied minors.

However, many people repeatedly try to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boats from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean Sea in a potentially deadly journey.

According to official figures, Italy has already registered more than 21,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January, or more than three times the number of migrants seen in each of the two previous years, when about 6,000 per year arrived.

– dpa

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Health and Safety

African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown



African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown

African Migrants in Tunisia have urged their government to evacuate them, saying the country is no longer safe as racism still persists.

Outside the United Nations refugee agency in Tunis, dozens of African migrants stood protesting this week in the temporary camp where they have lived, including with children, since authorities urged landlords to force them from their homes.

Weeks after a violent crackdown on migrants in Tunisia that triggered a perilous rush to leave by smuggler boats for Italy, many African nationals are still homeless and jobless and some say they still face racist attacks.

“We need evacuation. Tunisia is not safe. No one has a future here when you have this colour. It is a crime to have this colour,” said Josephus Thomas, pointing to the skin on his forearm.

In announcing the crackdown on Feb. 21, President Kais Saied said illegal immigration was a criminal conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demography, language the African Union described as “racialised hate speech”.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf told Reuters on Thursday that Saied’s comments had unleashed “attacks and a tidal wave of racist rhetoric”, with rights groups saying hundreds of migrants reported being attacked or insulted.

Saied and Tunisia’s foreign minister have rejected accusations that he or the government is racist and they announced steps to ease visa regulations for Africans and reminded police of anti-racism laws.

While the official crackdown appeared to end weeks ago, migrants say they still face abuse.

“People told me ‘since you are in our country after the president’s speech, don’t you have any dignity?’ I kept silent and they told me I am dirt,” said Awadhya Hasan Amine, a Sudanese refugee outside the UNHCR headquarters in Tunis.

Amine has lived in Tunis for five years after fleeing Sudan and then Libya with her husband. Now 30, she has been living on the street outside the UNHCR headquarters since local people pelted her house in the capital’s Road district with rocks.

“We want to live in a place of safety, stability and peace. We don’t want problems in Tunisia,” she said.

Although some West African countries evacuated hundreds of their citizens earlier this month, many remain stuck in Tunisia, unable to support themselves let alone afford passage home or pay smugglers hundreds of dollars to ferry them to Europe.

“Tunisia is an African country. Why do they do racist things to us?” said Moumin Sou, from Mali, who was sacked from his job working behind a bar after the president’s speech and was beaten up the next day by a man in the street who stole his money.

Sou wants to return home, he said, but many others are determined to travel on to Europe.

In the wake of the crackdown, in which police detained hundreds of undocumented migrants and authorities urged employers to lay them off and landlords to evict them, smuggler crossings to Italy have surged.

Tunisian National Guard official Houssem Jbeli said on Wednesday that the coast guard had stopped 30 boats carrying more than 2,000 people. On the same day and the following day four boats sank, with five people drowned. 

– Reuters

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Health and Safety

NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 



NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 

 The National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged journalists to collaborate with the agency in the fight against the circulation and use of bleaching creams in the country.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General (D-G), NAFDAC, made the call while sensitising journalists in the North Central States on the dangers of bleaching creams.

She made the call at a North Central Zonal Media Sensitisation Workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory controls which was organised for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists on Friday in Jos.

Adeyeye said the workshop was aimed at educating and challenging health journalists in Nigeria to play frontline role in the agency’s effort to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams.

The D-G was represented by Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research of the Agency.

 “Bleaching creams damage vital organs in the body, cause skin irritation, allergy, skin burn, rashes, wrinkles and prolong the healing of wounds.

“Black is beautiful, we don’t need to change our color.

“NAFDAC will constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass root levels positive impact of our regulatory activities,” she said.

On his part, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director,  Public Affairs of the Agency, said: “The workshop was meant to educate the mass media with the right information and campaign against the use of bleaching creams in Nigeria.

“Public ignorance is not an excuse before the law. The role of the mass media in the promotion of public health is very important not only for cosmetics and all other NAFDAC regulatory products”. 

In a remark, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, said: “Skin bleaching cream is a serious concern among the citizens in the country.

“Why would somebody use his hard-earned money to buy a cream that will endanger his skin?.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to educate people on the dangers and as well shape the opinion of the people,” Zaggi said.

He appealed to the journalists to pay attention to the workshop for onward circulation of learning outcomes to members of the public. 

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