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FG to seek ECOWAS partnership to fight smuggling – Osinbajo



  • As Ali says Customs seized 3,665 vehicles from 2015, with N13bn DPV

Devastated by the tolls the nation is incurring through smuggling, the Federal Government has decided to collaborate with neighbouring countries, in a bid to curb smuggling.

Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed this on Thursday while receiving a delegation of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), led by its President, Dr Frank Jacobs, on advocacy visit towards promoting Made-in-Nigeria products.

The Vice President maintained that a major challenge of the problem is that smuggling is an issue of implementation of agreements.

“The whole issue of policing the boarders to curb smuggling, we are looking at how we can work with neighbours to police the borders which at present are porous.

“In 2013 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the Africa Union,’’ he said, noting that the manufacturing and agriculture sectors might not survive in the country with the prevailing smuggling.

He explained that the patronage of local textiles by government was implementable, adding that there was a very large market now in the country for local shoe manufacturers while some government agencies had placed orders for boots.

Osinbajo stated that the government’s tomato policy was to ensure self-sufficiency by 2018, adding that “we are trying to balance policies to ensure that we don’t run ahead of our local capacity.’’

He acknowledged that made-in-Nigeria goods were expensive, but said that government would ensure that the procurement people considered MAN’s proposal for sector-specific Margins of Preference (MOP) to give Nigerian products competitive edge in the markets.

The Vice President thanked MAN for the advocacy visit, which he said, demonstrated the kind of partnership government expected from the private sector in implementing government policies.

“I thank you for your very active collaboration with us,’’ he said adding that MAN raised very important issues that were practical, important and possible to implement.

“There is no policy that is difficult to implement,’’ he said

Earlier, Jacobs said that MAN started the campaign for improved patronage of Made-in Nigeria products in 2016 in partnership with the Department for International Development of United Kingdom and the MAN team.

“Conceptually, the advocacy campaign was aimed at improving the patronage of locally manufactured products by Nigerians, the government and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies through an effective and inward looking procurement process.

“Undoubtedly the government remains the largest single spender in the economy and could drive industrial development and economic growth by increasing its patronage of locally-made products,’’ Jacobs said.

Acording to him public procurement is not just mere purchase, but strategic fiscal tool used by countries including advanced countries, to develop their manufacturing sector.

“It is an established fact that when we buy foreign goods we pay the returns to factors used in producing them in the originating countries.

“That is to say that we pay the wages, rent, interest and profit to foreign countries with our local resources,’’ he said.

The MAN president said that the manufacturing sector had huge inventory of unsold finished products.

He attributed it to poor patronage by the government, backlashes from smuggling, counterfeiting and general apathy of consumers with penchant for foreign goods.

He highlighted the benefits that could accrue from government patronage of uniforms needed in ministries of Interior, Defence, Education, Health, NYSC and the police force.

On the MOP initiatives he said they would boost government revenue through taxes and employment creation.

He said that MOP would in 2018 raise monetary output by 159 per cent from N2.5 trillion to about N6.6 trillion, expand SME size in five sectors by 122 per cent and create six million new jobs.

“Again at 6 per cent tax ratio, the government will generate approximately N400 billion in new tax revenue from only five sectors in 2018,’’ he said.

An industrialist and Chief Executive of Juhel Group, Mr Ifeanyi Okoye, told newsmen that the advocacy would ensure that reliance on made in Nigeria drugs would remove traces of fake and adulterated drugs in the country.

Okoye said MAN was partnering the regulatory agencies to curb the menace.

In the meantime, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) between 2015 and now, has impounded at least, 3,665 vehicles with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N13 billion.

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), retired Col.Hameed Ali disclosed this Thursday, in Abuja, while delivering a lecture titled “Problem of Smuggling and its attendant Consequence on  Nigeria’s Economy and the Way Out” at the IBB Golf and Country Club.

Providing a breakdown of the seizures, Ali observed that the Service in 2015, iimpounded 1,917 vehicles with DPV of N3.856 billion; while 1,483 vehicls were seized in 2016 with DPV of valued N2.683 billion.

When between January and August this year, 265 vehicles were seized with DPV of N6.625 billion.

The CGC pointed out that the high value recorded in 2017 was because most of the vehicles were of high value which included some 15 bullet proof vehicles.

He also explained that of the 18 vehicles seized in September in Abuja over non duty payment, 13 were also bullet proof vehicles, out of which 10 had no Customs papers.

He said that Nigeria imported about 70 per cent of its needs and that 45 per cent of all the imports were smuggled into the country.

“Lack of patriotism among the traders and complicity of Customs officers has added to the problem.

“Over 85 per cent traders are not trustworthy as they falsify documents except for about five per cent of them who can be trusted and often have their goods cleared within 48 hours,” Ali said.

He said that the four arms containers intercepted this year were concealed with many cases of under declaration and diversion of imported goods.

On the challenges of Customs in fighting smuggling, he said the Service lost three officers this year.

Ali said that Customs under him was being sanitised and now very few corrupt officers are still left in the Service.

“Ninety  per cent of our officers are now imbibing the culture of doing the right thing”, Ali stated further, urging Nigerians  to report corrupt officers to enable the service weed out the 10 per cent of the corrupt officers.

Ali stressed the need for importers to be patriotic and stop inducing officers to fast track clearance of their goods, emphasizing that smuggling has remained a greed induced societal problem, consistently killing the local industries, and hindering the growth of the economy.

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MWUN: Pay Aged Seafarers’ Entitlement, Adeyanju Urges Oyetola



MWUN congratulates women on International Women's Day

The President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN}, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju has urged the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola to look inward first and protect the rights of aged seafarers who have contributed immensely to the growth of this country.

Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, who made the call in his chat with newsmen during the 2023 MARAN Annual Maritime Lecture organized by Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, also enjoined the Minister to see this counsel as a topmost agenda.

“It is only in Nigeria that people who contributed to the growth of the economy are not valued until after their death, people that have contributed to sea fearing in Nigeria today, some of them are languishing in poverty. 

“The Court judgment is very clear with an instruction that their pension and gratuity should be paid; but as I speak, the pension and gratuity are yet to be paid, despite meetings and letters being sent.

“Ministries of Transport and that of Labour set up Committees to look into it for verification exercise to be carried out on all sea fearers in Nigeria (including the deceased) so that they of their next of kins can be paid their benefits but when the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy came in and was trying to float NNSL, we reminded him that the retirees have not been paid their rights, 

“We are not asking him not to do anything he wishes to do, our stand is that all retirees must get their rights and if that is not done we might be forced to resort to industrial action” he declared.

Speaking on the issue of insecurity in the maritime industry, Comrade Adeyanju said: “The insecurity in the port is the order of the day and the government needs to be blamed as a result of not empowering the security agents that are supposed to manage the affairs of security in the ports.

Bello-Koko Lauds MWUN for Ensuring NPA Staff's Salary Increase
President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), an Ibadan Prince, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju

“You could imagine the Marine Police, hardly will you see them with boats for them to patrol. 

You go to Area B, and even within the port here in Apapa, there are no facilities for them to work. How do you expect the security to be managed? We should use this medium to tell the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), and all the relevant stakeholders to encourage the security agents within the port, for them to give optimal performance as it is expected of them” he concluded.

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Idiroko Customs Uncovers 975 Rounds of  Ammunition Concealed In 5 Bags Of Rice 



The Ogun 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service uncovered the antics deployed by unscrupulous criminals to smuggle in live ammunition through a bush path along Palace/Ayetoro road, Imeko, Afon local Government area of Ogun State.

The perpetrators are however, yet to apprehend.

 Five bags of foreign parboiled rice containing 975 rounds of red star live cartridges were intercepted at 0005hrs on Monday 27, November 2023.

Disclosing this on Wednesday, the Acting Customs Area Controller of the Command, Bello Shuaibu, said that  efforts are underway to track the perpetrators of the illicit importation.

*Bello Shuaibu,…yet to apprehend the perpetrators

He expressed delight on how operatives of the Command thwarted the evil plans of the enemies of the State by preventing smuggling of live ammunition into the country.

His words: “Our presence here today depicts our unwavering commitment to safeguarding and strengthening the security architecture of our beloved nation against insecurity as we will be showcasing our most recent anti smuggling exploits. We are delighted to report that we have thwarted the evil plans of the enemies of the State by preventing the smuggling of live ammunition into the country.”

He added that arms and ammunition smuggling is a high-intelligence operation, as perpetrators often attempt to evade the watchful eyes of law enforcement agents.

 He stated that the war against illegal firearms requires concerted and collaborative efforts from law-abiding citizens of this country to checkmate such a nefarious activity.

 “Smuggling of arms and ammunition is a menace that knows no borders and feeds on the vulnerability of our society,” he said.

He warned that the consequences of unchecked smuggling of arms and ammunition are severe, ranging from the empowerment of criminal organizations to escalating crises and compromising national security. 

He reiterated that for these reasons, his command will not relent nor compromise in waging war against the smuggling of unlawful arms and ammunition in building a safe and stable nation.

Shuaibu explained that the operatives of the command uncovered the secret of the unscrupulous elements when  operatives  conducted a sessional and intelligence-based operation to unravel the tactics deployed by unscrupulous elements to bring in live ammunition through the Imeko axis of the State.

“We have been on the trail of the ammunition for about a week. Fortunately, at 00:05 hours of the day, we received an intel that the five bags of foreign parboiled rice, containing live cartridges of Red Star ammunition, had been carefully hidden in a bush path along the Palace-Ayetoro road, Imeko Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State.

“Our operatives went to the spot and evacuated the five bags of rice without any encounter. The bags of rice were suspected due to the unusual threading and sewing of the sacks. This quickly aroused the suspicion of our operatives, leading to their opening for proper examination at the Border station.

“During the examination, about 975 rounds of Red Star live cartridges were found to have been ingeniously concealed in the bags. We have intensified efforts to track down the perpetrators of this nefarious act for them to be brought to justice. We recognize the potential danger of arms and ammunition trafficking, which is life-threatening. We shall not renege on our efforts in combating smuggling activities in their entirety,” the Acting Controller said. 

He appreciated the officers and men of the Command for their bravery and commended the patriotism of their informant.

 “We call on well-meaning Nigerians with useful intel to collaborate with us in enhancing the security of our dear nation. You are assured of maximum security cover. Let me use this medium to reiterate that we remain resolute in promoting national security,” he assured.

He also expressed gratitude to the Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi for his support and enhancement of the Command’s operations. Shuaibu equally extended his appreciation to sister agencies for the synergy and collaboration the command has continuously enjoyed.

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$54,330: Comptroller Nnadi Again Hands Over Snatched Funds To EFCC



…Dera Nnadi Credits feat to Officers’ patriotic selflessness, and CGC’s Impactful Spirit

The Tin Can Island Port (TCIP) Customs Area Controller, Dera Nnadi this week handed over to the Federal Government, $54,330 bribe money snatched from those wanting the Command to clear Tramadol, falsely declared as electrical appliances, valued at over N856m.

While handing over the Dollars to the Lagos Zonal Commander of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) , Mr. Michael Wetkas, Comptroller Nnadi specifically emphasized the zero tolerance for corruption stance of the Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, MFR.

Twice as Strong: Comptroller Dera Nnadi after handing over snatched funds to the EFCC at the Tin Can Island Port, Lagos

The Maritime First learnt that this was not the first time Comptroller Dera Nnadi was actually handing over snatched funds to the Federal coffers. He similarly performed same act, while he headed the Seme Border Customs Command.

Ironically, it was through the same EFCC chieftain, Mr. Michael Wetkas that he had returned the snatched Dollars to the Federal coffers.

*Crispy $54,330 going into Federal coffers through the EFCC

Fielding questions on how truly a Nigerian he is, returning such hard currency, only few weeks to Christmas, the Tin Can Island Port Controller praised the selfless and patriotic commitment of the officers and men of the Command, while noting the huge and impactful, motivational influence of the Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi.

Comptroller Nnadi said the illegal importation of the Tramadol was in clear violation of Section 233 of Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCAA) 2023 and commended the officers who stood their grounds to work ethically and lawfully in the interest of national security.

He also called for continuous compliance on the part of port users and reminded them that the NCS with the collaboration of sister agencies like EFCC will continue to frustrate criminal activities in the port.

Nnadi specially thanked his predecessor, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede, under whose watch, this particular seizure was achieved, describing him as a noteworthy example of what the Service is preaching. He highlighted that two suspects who were arrested in connection with the two containers, were currently being investigated by the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control for possible prosecution.

In his reaction, the EFCC Lagos Zonal Boss, Mr. Michael Wekas while taking over the cash, described the feat as a victory for the country and to all the security agencies.

He delightfully celebrated the officers of the TCIP Command which achieved the feat. He also lauded the CGC, for the letter of commendation written, in appreciation of the six Customs officers who refused to bow to pressure and inducement, from the owners of the illicit drugs.

*The Command’s Special six

He promised continued collaboration between the EFCC, NCS and other sister agencies, stressing that, the era of working without collaboration is gone.

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