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Djokovic reaches Australian Open semi-finals, Paul also through

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Djokovic reaches Australian Open semi-finals, Paul also through

Novak Djokovic equalled the record of former coach Andre Agassi with a 26th consecutive victory at the Australian Open on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals.

The nine-time champion was again in superb form, painting the lines consistently in a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over fifth seed Andrey Rublev on Rod Laver Arena.

It helped to set up a clash with unseeded American Tommy Paul.

Djokovic has not been beaten at Melbourne Park since 2018 —- part of a 39-match winning run in Australia.

This has now matched the sequence of victories of Agassi between 2000 and 2004.

Djokovic said: “I cannot be happier with my tennis. I’ve been playing very solid. I love playing in these conditions, on this court.

“Overall I think the scoreline in the first two sets doesn’t speak the truth of the match.

“Andrey is a great player. With all the important moments and the important shots, I found my best tennis. So, that’s what I’m most pleased about tonight.”

The fifth seed at times did again appear bothered by his left hamstring.

But it did not affect his ability to hare around the court, repelling everything big-hitting Russian Rublev threw at him.

He was more affected by a heckler who called out “Come on Andrey, send him home” during the first set.

It drew loud boos from the largely pro-Djokovic crowd and prompted the Serbian to complain to British umpire James Keothavong.

It was Rublev’s turn to appeal to Keothavong in the second set when he felt Djokovic should have received a time violation.

But the Russian, bidding to reach his first slam semi-final at the seventh attempt, was mostly frustrated by the man down the other end of the court.

Djokovic, who has never lost once he has reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park, was virtually flawless in the big moments.

He saved all five break points he faced and wrapped up victory in two hours and three minutes.

Earlier, Paul got the better of fellow American Ben Shelton to reach his first grand slam semi-final.

The run of 20-year-old Shelton, in just his second grand slam and on his first trip outside the U.S., has been one of the stories of the tournament.

But Paul used his greater experience to secure a 7-6 (6) 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory.

The 25-year-old said: “I’m really excited. It wasn’t the prettiest match ever today but it was how I needed to play the match.

“He’s a great server. I had to just put in as many returns as I could.”

Paul, who will break into the top 20 for the first time after the tournament, becomes the first American man to reach the semi-finals here since Andy Roddick in 2009.

With Sebastian Korda also in the last eight, this was the best display by American men at a grand slam for nearly 20 years.

It appears to herald an exciting era for the country, which has been searching for a successor to Roddick for the last decade.

There is a lot of excitement about Shelton, who has not yet left college, and he might turn out to be the best of the lot, but this was Paul’s day.

Paul was cheered on by his mother, who hopped on a plane after his fourth-round win and arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday morning.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I was actually, when I first heard, pretty nervous because we’ve had a good thing going here and I didn’t really want to change anything.

“After a little bit of thinking, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m in the quarter-finals of a slam. She’s sacrificed a ton to get me here. She deserves to be here and deserves to see me win big matches”.

“I was really excited to see her and have her here.”

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Tincan Customs Command Generates N574.3bn Revenue In 2022

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Tincan Customs Command Generates N574.3bn Revenue In 2022

…Figures represent an increase of N80.90bn over N493.4bn of 2021***

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tin Can Island Port Command, generated revenue of N574.3 billion in 2022.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Tin Can Island Port Command, Comptroller Olakunle Oloyede, disclosed this at a news conference on Friday in Lagos.

Oloyede said the figure represented an increase of N80.90 billion or 16.39 percent when compared with N493.4 billion recorded in 2021.

“This feat can be attributed to the constant rejigging of the existing measures geared toward sustaining the command’s revenue profile.

“It is as well as utilisation of some disruptive strategic measures such as: periodic capacity building, reshuffling and redeployment of officers using the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis and implementation of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation,” he said.

Tincan Customs Command Generates N574.3bn Revenue In 2022

He noted that the command also ensured robust and continuous stakeholder engagements and collaborations with all sister government agencies and maritime associations.

“These led to timely intelligence sharing, utilisation and voluntary compliance to government’s extant laws by the trading public,” Oloyede said.

He added that the command increased surveillance on declarations made in order to sniff out improper declarations as well as offending items.

He pointed out that the system paid off with the command recording a total of 38 seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.85 billion.

“These seizures comprise 763kgs of Colorado (Cannabis Sativa) weighing 345.1kg with a street market value of N714.6 million only as given by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), 5 x 40 containers of used motor tyre (5,060 pieces).

“Also among seized items are: 1,150 bales of second-hand clothing, 1,190 cartons of 20 per cartons of potassium bromate and baking powder, 11,392 cartons of 1,200 per carton Pharmacol injection chloroquine phosphate 322.5mg.5ml (IV and IM), 206,000 pieces of finished matchets.

“Also, 1,383 cartons of 50 rolls per carton of cigarettes, 650 cartons of 50 pieces per carton of new ladies shoes, 2,666 pieces in 36 pallets of new starter Ex-Premium Inverter Battery, 1,980 cartons of assorted non-alcoholic beverages and 1,048 cartons of Tilda basmati rice,” he said.

Oloyede listed others as 2,594 pieces of ammunition and 20 pieces of arms comprising of one pistol with 611090 (S/W) model JCP 40mm, one used Co2 air pistol with accessories cal 117(4.5m)BM, one marksman repeater pistol, six Mace pepper gun and 10 suspected arms of various types.

He said that the seizures when compared with the 2021 record of 27 seizures with a Debit Note of N607.27 only, show an increase of 11 seizures and N1.24 billion.

He said that the increase in the DPV rate could be associated with increased surveillance and intensified anti-smuggling drive, high value of seized items and Naira depreciation that led to higher exchange rates on imported items.

“These prohibited items were seized and forfeited to the Federal Government in line with the provision of Sections 46 and 161 of the Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45 LFN 2004 and Absolute Prohibition List of CET 2022- 2026.

“The command pertinently acknowledges the prominent roles played by the Customs Intelligence Unit, Valuation Unit, Federal Operations Unit, CGC Strike Force as well as interventions of Sister Regulatory Agencies like the NDLEA, Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON, the Nigeria Police and others in ensuring these seizures and detentions were made.

“A total of 60 suspects were detained in 2022 and were granted administrative bail while the command has 8 cases pending in court,” he said.

Oloyede said the command recorded a significant increase in the Free On Board (FOB) of exports in the period under review to the tune of $589,696,648 (N242,365,322,333.00) as against the $496,075,796 (N141,985,109,159.00) recorded in 2021.

He attributed the increase of 34.4 percent on the FOB to high quality and value of exported commodities.

“However, the export report shows a decrease in tonnage of export from 1,723,986.8 in 2021 to 336,179.5 in 2022.

“The decrease in tonnage could be connected to current government fiscal policy which prohibited the export of wood and wood products as well as the global unrest with its concomitant economic challenges,” he said

He listed the commodities exported through the command to include: cocoa beans, insecticides, dried ginger, empty bottles, soya beans, cashew nuts, cigarettes, rubbers, cocoa butter, frozen shrimps, copper ingots, aluminum ingots, sesame seeds and other manufactured items.

“Cocoa beans was the highest exported commodity while the legend stout was the least exported commodity.

“The future of export in the command looks brighter as the command in line with the headquarter circular on Export Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) released a Port Order on the Command’s harmonised SOP for the seamless facilitation of Export Trade in strict compliance with Extant Laws and guidelines on Export,” he said.

He thanked all stakeholders and sister government agencies involved in the export chain with special commendation to the Nigeria Ports Authority for seamless collaboration in facilitating the clearance process of export-related cargo at the command.

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Ibrahim takes over at PTML Customs, Tasks Officers on Discipline

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Ibrahim takes over at PTML Customs, Tasks Officers on Discipline

 Comptroller Ali Mahmoud Ibrahim took over as Customs Area Controller of Port Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command on Tuesday from Compt. Suleiman Bomai who was recently promoted to acting ACG. 

While taking over, Ibrahim charged officers and stakeholders to sustain their level of discipline and improve on revenue collection.

Describing discipline as key to other virtues of productivity like honesty, punctuality and dedication to duty, he expressed confidence in achieving a higher collection of duty.

The new Area Controller was optimistic that with the maximum support of his lieutenants, other government agencies and port users, revenue increase is achievable. 

Ibrahim solicited the cooperation of terminal operators, importers, agents and other stakeholders in achieving the service objectives which include revenue collection, suppression of smuggling and trade facilitation.

He commended his predecessor, Acting Assistant Comptroller General Suleiman Bomai for his excellent achievement and expressed willingness to always consult with him whenever the need arises.

Comptroller Ibrahim thanked the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, CFR and the management team for the appointment, with a pledge to work in line with the service rules. 

Before formally handing over, Ag. ACG Bomai described Comptroller Ibrahim as an experienced officer vast with three notable attributes.

According to Bomai, Comptroller Ibrahim has been well exposed in administration having spent a good number of years at the NCS headquarters in Abuja; excellent in revenue collection with experience from different commands of the service and uncompromising in enforcement.

The Acting ACG advised all customs officers in PTML, sister agencies and the port users to extend the cooperation and industrial harmony he enjoyed to the new Area Controller.

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Economy

Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Rehabilitation: LASG announces traffic diversion at Old Tollgate/ Berger axis

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Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Rehabilitation: LASG announces traffic diversion at Old Tollgate/ Berger axis

In continuation of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by the Federal Ministry of Works, the Lagos State Government has announced that traffic will be diverted at the Old Tollgate to Berger section of the road from Monday 30th January till Friday 15th April 2023.

In the notification received by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, it was disclosed that the construction will be carried out in short segments to minimize inconveniences for Motorists while traffic on the Ibadan-bound carriageway will be narrowed to two lanes to allow for the reconstruction of half of the Ibadan bound carriageway.

The Transport Commissioner, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde further stated that the U-turn in front of the Lagos State Emergency Centre will be temporarily closed to traffic, adding that Motorists on the Expressway will be diverted to the next U-turn at the Old Toll Gate by the traffic control point.

 In the same vein, Traffic from CMD Road intending to connect 7UP and Motorways on the Lagos bound carriageway will make use of the Old Tollgate/Traffic Point U–turn as well.

He equally stressed that trucks and heavy-duty vehicles will be diverted to Ojota Interchange. 

The Commissioner also explained that traffic on CMD Road inbound the Expressway will be diverted to the entry point beside the FMW weighbridge to access the Expressway on a contraflow as the exit route to the Expressway by Caleb International School will equally be temporarily closed, adding that CMD Road will be used as an alternative for the displaced Ibadan bound traffic.

Oladeinde appealed to the citizenry to shun indiscriminate stopping, waiting and parking along CMD Road as it will complement the efforts of the Traffic Management Team that will be deployed to manage vehicular movement. He also affirmed that signage with directions will be mounted along the road to guide Motorists.

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