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Customs impounds pangolin scales worth N10.26bn in Lagos



Customs impounds pangolin scales worth N10.26bn in Lagos

… As Senate passes N238.15bn budget for Customs***

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Zone A, has seized 147 sacks of pangolin scales weighing 9,504.1kg worth N10.26 billion.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali, highlighted this at a media briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, saying that Nigeria, as a signatory to CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species), categorises this species under absolute prohibition; therefore, its importation or trade is illegal globally.

Pangolins or scaly anteaters are mammals of the order Pholidota. Pangolin scales, like rhino horn, have no proven medicinal value, yet they are used in traditional Chinese medicine to help with ailments ranging from lactation difficulties to arthritis.

The scales are typically dried and ground up into powder, which may be turned into a pill.

“It is my pleasure to brief you again on the recent gains of Nigeria Customs Service anti-smuggling operations.

“On Jan. 19, the roving team of the NCS, Federal Operations Unit, while on credible intelligence, uncovered an abandoned warehouse at Isheri Estate, Lagos, where 2x20ft containers were stacked.

“The containers were immediately evacuated to the premises of FOU Zone A, Ikeja, where physical examination revealed 147 sacks weighing 9,504.1kg of pangolin scales worth N10,264,428,000.00,” he said.

Ali said that the pangolin would be handed over to the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency.

He said that the service also seized a total number of 3,067 bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice (50kg), 3,722 of 25 litres and 1,040 of 4.73 litres of foreign vegetable oil and 14 units of exotic vehicles.

The comptroller-general listed other items seized as: 575 pieces of used tyres, 703 cartons of foreign poultry products, 543 jerry cans of petroleum products and 416 bales of used clothing, among others.

He said that the items had a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N303,244,066.00, making a cumulative duty paid value of N10,567,672,066 within the month under review, Jan. 7 to Feb. 3.

The NCS boss said that the seizures underscore the determination of the service to enforce all laws relating to importation and exportation of goods, thereby contributing to the economy, security and wellbeing of every Nigerian.

He commended the Ag. Comptroller, FOU ‘A’, DC Usman Yahaya, and other members of the unit for a job well done, ”considering the fact that he took over barely a month ago.’’

Ali appealed to all well meaning Nigerians to support the service with information that could assist in discharging its statutory responsibilities in the interest of the nation.

“The borders are closed but not sealed and our men cannot be everywhere. These criminals go through creeks and various means to bring these items into the country.

“If they succeed in crossing the border and into Lagos, we will still go after them, and we are not relenting in our duty to stop smuggling into the country,” he said.

In the meantime, the Senate on Tuesday at plenary passed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) 2020 budget of N238.15 billion amidst dissenting views by some senators.

The passing of the budget followed the presentation of a report on the budget by the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff and consideration of the report.


Some of the senators at plenary had raised concerns that budget report presented by the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff was not detailed.

The senators, had noted that the report presented by the Committee Chairman, Sen. Francis Alimikhena (APC -Edo) was not tidy, noting that some of the figures were not adding up.

They also noted that the NCS like others Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have for the past six years not submitted their audited reports.

The senators who kicked against the report, noted that Customs cannot be getting seven per cent from revenue collected, two percent from all Value Added Tax (VAT), allocation from federation account and other revenues and still be receiving allocation from the Federation Account.

In his contribution on the report, Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta) said : “This report is too scanty for us to look at.”

The Committee should have taken a proper look at the report before submitting it to us.”

“We need to look at the federation account properly.”

Sen.Gabriel Suswam said that before the Customs budget could be passed, proper explanation should be made, so that the senate would understand why some figures are not adding up.

Also read:  Customs intercepts $8,065,612 at MMIA, Lagos

Sen.Solomon Olamilekan(APC-Lagos) had earlier observed that the seven per cent allocated to Customs from revenue generated was enough to defray its expenditure.

He,however, said NCS was still drawing funds from the federation account despite the allocation of 7 per cent.

Sen. Matthew Urhoghide(PDP-Edo) said, : “The fact that Customs is collecting seven per cent  does not mean that its budget should not be audited.”

Sen. Ibn Na’allah,(APC -Kebbi)said: “This Senate has a duty to bring all agencies into conformity with the vision of federal government.

” We must bring our institutions to conform with what will make the country proud.

“We can’t pass this kind of budget.”

But Sen.Adamu Alerio (APC -Kebbi ) in his contribution however urged the Senate to passe the budget given the steering performance of NCS in revenue generation in 2019 and improved welfare of its personnel.

Earlier, Sen. Alimikhena while presenting the committee’s report explained that the proposal was based on Federal Government’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

He said a total expenditure of N238.15 billion was been proposed for the 2020 .

Highlights of the budget proposal, according to him includes, the establishment of the E-Customs Project through massive deployment of information communication technology to eliminate personal interface in customs operations.

“The implementation of the Nigeria Customs Service Salary Structure for 15,892 officers and men of the Service; the recruitment of three thousand two hundred (3,200) officers and men and their training among others.

In his remarks after the passage of the budget, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said:

“We expect MDAs to present their audited accounts before the end of the year especially towards the end of December or at least the first quarter of the year.

“If any agency refuses or fails without any congent reason, we have reason to take a drastic action when it comes to appropriation because not to account for what you have been given in the previous year, that is to say you are not prepared to take a new budget.

“So I’m advising the MDAs, especially those that are not up to date with their audited accounts to do so.

“We could decide as a National Assembly to take measures against agencies of government that are not up to date with their audited accounts.”


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MWUN Felicitates with Sanwo-Olu, Says Victory Demonstrates People’s Love for Selfless Service



MWUN Felicitates with Sanwo-Olu, Says Victory Demonstrates People's Love for Selfless Service

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has congratulated His Excellency, Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu on his re-election as the Executive Governor of Lagos State.

 President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju felicitated with the governor, noting that Sanwo-Olu’s victory is well deserved, following his focused selfless service.

According to the President General, the victory is a clear testimony of the love showered on the governor as the Chief Executive of the state by the people of Lagos State.

Prince Adeyanju promised the commitment of the union to making the seaports safer under a better working environment for all the practitioners.

In his words: “The Lagos State election which was keenly contested for, left Governor Sanwo-Olu winning the election on a very wide margin; this which gave him an edge over other contestants was a clear testimony of love showered on him as the Chief Executive of the state by the people.

“We in the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria wish to felicitate with the amiable Lagos State Governor on his well-deserved victory during the poll in the state. The President-General of the Union, Comrade Adeyanju has promised the Governor of the Union’s commitment towards making the nation’s seaports safer under a better working environment for all the practitioners.

“On behalf of my executives, I wish to express our profound readiness to work and synergies with the Governor in all areas of the Maritime Industry towards achieving the best of economic values for the state and the nation at large. On this note, we say congratulation, Governor Sanwo-Olu!”

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Re-Election: Adeleke congratulates Makinde as Folarin felicitates, lauds Oyo voters



Re-Election: Adeleke congratulates Makinde as Folarin felicitates, lauds Oyo voters

 Gov. of Ademola Adeleke of Osun has congratulated his Oyo State counterpart, Seyi Makinde, on his re-election in the March 18 governorship poll.

He gave the congratulatory message in a statement on Monday in Osogbo.

He described the outcome of the election as a strong vote of confidence in the performance of Makinde in the last four years.

He added that “I congratulate my brother, Governor Seyi Makinde on his re-election at the polls.

“Residents of Oyo State have reaffirmed their faith and confidence in his performance.

“They have confirmed the rapid development of Oyo State under the able leadership of my brother, Seyi Makinde.

“On behalf of the people and government of Osun State, I extend warm felicitation to Gov. Makinde.

“I look forward to years of partnership and collaboration between our two states on inter-state infrastructure development, among others.”

Adeleke also described Oyo and Osun states as siamese twins, calling for closer partnership in economic and social affairs.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Sunday declared Makinde the winner of the 2023 governorship election in Oyo State.

Makinde had 563,756 votes to defeat his closest rival, Teslim Folarin of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who scored 256,685 votes.

In a related development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Oyo State, Sen. Teslim Folarin, has congratulated Gov. Seyi Makinde on his victory in the March 18 governorship election in the state.

Folarin’s congratulatory message is contained in a statement personally signed by him and made available to newsmen on Monday in Ibadan.

 Makinde, of People Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after polling 568,756 votes to defeat his closest rival, Folarin who scored 256,685.

Folarin, while congratulating Makinde, expressed appreciation to the electorate in the state for their support to APC candidates in the just-concluded general elections.

He also expressed gratitude to God for preserving the lives of the people throughout the electioneering process and to his friends and political allies for their overwhelming support.

He commended members of the 2023 Oyo State APC Presidential and Governorship Campaign Council for their issue-based campaigns, loyalty, dedication and commitment to the struggle.

“My gratitude also goes to the coalition parties, candidates of other political parties, volunteers, the press and individuals that contributed to the ‘Itesiwaju Ipinle Oyo 2023’ project,” he said.

The APC governorship candidate, however, appealed to party members and support groups to remain calm, as the results of the election were being studied.

“It is God that gives and takes power. May Oyo State and our people continue to prosper,” he said.

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Nigerian Maritime Women form new Association; Canvasses Equity, Digital Innovations



Nigerian Maritime Women form new Association; Canvasses Equity, Digital Innovations

Four maritime women associations which jointly organized a summit where they canvassed for gender parity in the maritime sector and encouraged more women’s contributions to technological advancement in the digital space have agreed to form a single association to advance their cause.

The four associations are: Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, African Women in Maritime (WIMA) Nigerian chapter, Women in Maritime of West and Central Africa (WIMOWCA), Nigerian chapter and Female Seafarers Association of Nigeria (FESAN).

The summit, which was part of activities to mark the 2023 International Women’s Day (IWD), was anchored on the IWD 2023 theme; ‘Digital Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’.

Speaking at the event, the WISTA-Nigeria President, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke noted that as separate groups their impact have been fragmented while they have also been unable to get requisite support from the federal government in attending crucial regional and international conferences.

Her words: “One of the high points for the collaboration was the inability to get financial support especially in attending international conferences. It is at global meetings that we can network with other women and major global operators. When one intends to contest for regional or international positions, one would need to know women in maritime in other countries to get their buy-in. The federal government hasn’t been giving us the support to attend international conferences.”

“We explained this to the Permanent Secretary of the Transport Ministry, Dr. (Mrs.) Magdalene Ajani at a recent meeting and it was at that point she informed us that there has been no budgetary provision for women at the Ministry for some years. She encouraged us to start sourcing funds. We, however, have examples of other African countries where the women were backed fully for these activities.”

Stressing that government support mustn’t always be financial support, Ezeoke stated that there could be a sort of moral support by recognizing women groups among stakeholders such that shipping companies, terminal operators, NLNG, and oil firms are inclined to take up the financial support to enable women achieve the advocacy dreams.

In her own submission, the President of WIMOWCA Nigeria, Mrs Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore opined that the removal of women budgetary provisions from the Transport Ministry underscored the Importance of getting more women into key leadership positions where such decisions are taken.

Edodo-Emore, who is also Chairman, Zoe Maritime Resources Limited, expressed delight at the utilizing of technology to address the challenges of artisanal fishers who get better fees for their products and are better equipped to preserve them on account of several innovations.

“With this partnership, women are better placed to access funding for women’s education and training. We are all excited and we believe that we are set to begin reaping the benefits of this partnership. As regards fishing, it’s important that we bring technology into the fishing industry.

“The process of catching the fishes, preservation, storage, among other processes have evolved with technology. We need to sensitize and equip the industry, especially artisanal fishers,” she said.

Speaking, Mrs Rollens Macfoy, President of WIMA Nigeria, said that success has no gender even as she encouraged women to seek to be the best at what they do such that it becomes difficult to be marginalized.

“When you strive to bring out your value and worth by your doggedness, innovation, skills and humility; at this point, if you’re being marginalized there is something to shout and fight about. Nevertheless, a lot of organizations have an unwritten law or position that prevented women from rising to Directors or head of the agency. At such organizations, we have observed that gradually women have been emerging as Directors, heads of units and sometimes head of the agency. It is a gradual process and it will keep getting better,” Macfoy said.

She was optimistic that with the Women in Maritime Network operating, by the end of the year, women will make strides like the force of gravity as more women will also be given a voice and attention.

A cadet under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), Ms Peace Moulders, said that innovation and technology would play a critical role in addressing the world challenges from climate change to healthcare and others.

Moulders, however, stressed that it is not enough to simply wait for the technology to emerge, advising women to actively embrace and promote them to drive positive change.

“A call for action for individuals and organisations is to foster a culture of innovation by encouraging risk-taking, investing in research and development, promoting ethical considerations and advocating for policy changes. Government and organisation should remove barriers to innovation because by embracing them there would be a better future for the girls, and communities,” she said.

Other participants at the event are the Director General, Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), Mrs. Vivian Chimezie-Azubuike; Head of Nigerian Ship Registry at NIMASA, Mrs. Nneka Obianyor; Treasurer, WISTA Nigeria and Deputy Director, Revenue at NIMASA, Dr. (Mrs) Odunayo Ani; among others.

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