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Glowing Investment opportunities unfolds, as Ibom Deep SeaPort sets for procurement

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Federal Government and the Akwa Ibom State Government have attained a critical milestone in the implementation of the Ibom Deep Seaport (IDSP) project, throwing open, glowing investment opportunities, in one of the continent’s most promising Public Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure initiatives.

The IDSP is strategically located in a leading oil and gas producing state of Nigeria’s South east, with the approximate coordinates scaled from the British Admiralty Chart No. 1387 at Latitude 4° 32’ 35’’ N; Longitude 8° 14’ 7’’ E and UTM coordinates 415168 m E; 502,199 m N (UTM Zone 32N).

Mavis Abada of the Banwo & Ighodalo law firm who spoke on the IDSP reveals that actual procurement and physical buy-in would begin this January.

She also noted it’s investment  potentials, especially in terms of driving inclusive economic growth in Nigeria, as well as the West and Central African sub-region.

Governor Udom Emmanuel

She highlighted that the  Chairperson, Akwa Ibom Technical Committee, Mrs. Mfon Ekong Usoro would be genuinely happy to respond to all enquiries.

“The 2,565 hectares greenfield port area is designed for New Panamax Class vessels with channel (18.24m); turning basin and berth depth (16.72m) and quay length of about 7.5 km” she indicated in a statement, noting that the transhipment container market for the IDSP is estimated to positively grow from about 1.2 million TEUs in 2021, to about 4 million TEUs, by 2040.

“When fully developed, the container terminals will be able to accommodate up to 13 New Panamax Class container vessels and 2 very large feeder vessels.

“The IDSP is positioned to offer a value proposition superior to other seaports in the region.

“Available data indicates that the various seaports currently serving the West and Central African sub-region are reaching saturation and the need for viable alternatives has become critical for major shipping lines sailing these routes.

“With limited land to expand the existing seaports in Lagos and the inhibiting conditions against the development or expansion of other ports in neighbouring countries, the Ibom Deep Seaport offers an ultra-modern deep seaport with modern cargo handling equipment, facilities and systems that can address the capacity challenges constraining other seaports across the region.

Mrs. Mfon Ekong Usoro

“The greenfield site has substantial land available for future expansion.

Due to its proximity to target markets in West and Central Africa, neighbouring hinterland countries and major shipping lines calling West/Central Africa, large gateway market size to attract direct vessel services and sizeable transhipment cargo hinterland for feeder shipping network connection, as well as its capacity to handle post and New Panamax vessels at its specialized terminals, the IDSP is in an enviable position to emerge as the first major transhipment hub for the region”, she stated further.

Expatiating, she also drew attention to another defining feature of the IDSP as its location within the Ibom Industrial City, a designated Free Trade Zone replete with fiscal incentives.

“The Free Trade Zone status ensures that operations and investors in the Deep Seaport enjoy special regulatory/fiscal incentive regimes, including tax waivers and ease of repatriation of capital/investment proceeds, that will enhance competitiveness and allow for cost saving, with corresponding opportunities for investors to maximize returns on their investments.

“The project will optimize the synergies of the other businesses to be situated within the Industrial City that is being developed in parallel (such as agriculture, oil and gas, petrochemicals, marine-related industries, auto assembly plants, power plants, as well as real estate developments), and existing power plant and the industrial development at Ikot Abasi.

“The IDSP will leverage on and benefit from the various support/related infrastructure projects being implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Akwa Ibom State Government for the movement of goods within and outside the country from the Seaport. The existing naval facilities in the area addresses security concerns.

“It is within close proximity to Eket and Oron, among the largest urban developments in the State and oil and gas assets thereby creating an enabling environment for unlocking the full long-term potential of the investments in the IDSP for all stakeholders.

“The Project site is strategically located and accessible through major existing and planned transport infrastructure such as airport, railway lines and Federal and State road network.

“The ongoing support/related infrastructure projects such as major road network improvement/construction, the proposed Lagos-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo-Calabar railway line, and the expansion of the Akwa Ibom International Airport will enhance access to market.

“With the prevailing gap in functional seaports in West Africa coupled with the demonstrated commitment of both the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Akwa Ibom State Government to create an enabling environment for private sector investors to exploit the opportunities in the industry, the Ibom Deep Seaport presents a compelling investment case that cannot be ignored by investors.

“The procurement process for the IDSP Project is scheduled to commence in January 2018 with the advertisement of the Request for Qualification (RFQ) from reputable private sector port developer/operators for the development of the Deep Seaport in partnership with the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria”, she concluded.

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Sokoto Customs Auctions 11,270L Of Petrol, Intercepts Railway Tracks Vandals

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 The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Sokoto/ Zamfara Area Command on Monday auctioned 11,270 litres of petrol it apprehended from smugglers at N180 per litre.

The Command’s Comptroller, Mr Kamal Muhammad, said the petroleum products were seized by the intelligence-driven tactical team in the border areas in Sokoto State.

Muhammad said the team code-named ‘ Whirlwind Tactical Team’, was assigned to combat the smuggling of petroleum products to neighboring countries.

He explained that maritime and cross-border smuggling of petroleum products harms the overall supply chain of the product.

This is in addition to the possibility of funding of criminal activities with the proceeds.

”Even with the removal of subsidy, the smuggling of petrol brings about extra burden on the country both in terms of security of supply and securing of the scarce foreign exchange used to import the product.

”Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Mr Bashir Adewale, inaugurated the team on May 22, 2024 and swung into action, ” he said.

The comptroller said the command also apprehended a 20-foot container truck containing pieces of railway tracks along Kajiji road in the state.

According to him, three suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure who were suspected to be vandals of the nation’s railway lines.

He said the suspects could not offer valid explanations or tender documents on the consignment from the Federal Ministry of Transport.

Sokoto Customs Auctions 11,270L Of Petrol, Intercepts Railway Tracks Vandals

Muhammad said instead, the suspects made an overture to bribe the officers with N1.5 million and offered a partial payment of N300,000.

” Out of patriotism and integrity, the Officers chose the path of honour by detaining them at the Command Headquarters.

”NCS is poised to continue to protect Nigeria’s economic interest with dedication and integrity without fear or favour in tandem with the provision of the law, ” Muhammad added.

The Comptroller handed over the rail tracks, truck and graft money to the State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Mr Alkali Argungu. 

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Operation Whirlwind Hits Hard on PMS Smugglers, Records Significant Seizures

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Operation Whirlwind Hits Hard on PMS Smugglers, Records Significant Seizures

Barely two weeks after Nigeria Customs Service launched “Operation Whirlwind” – a decisive onslaught against illegal trade of petroleum products across Nigeria’s borders, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Adewale Adeniyi, says the Service has started recording massive turnout in curtailing the menace of PMS smuggling across the federation.

Addressing newsmen on Monday, 10 June 2024, in Yola, the Adamawa state capital, the CGC re-emphasised strategic efforts to address the critical issue of fuel smuggling. Stating that the exercise aimed at curtailing economic saboteurs has the solid support of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

He said the Service had, in response to the alarming increase in fuel smuggling, launched the initiative to defend the National currency, reduce pressures that may be attributed to the activities of smugglers and dismantle their cartels within the ecosystem, adding, “In the past 2 weeks

we have received credible intelligence on the relative stability of the

price of PMS around the Border States, this is easily attributed to disruptions in the operations of smugglers.” 

According to him, the operatives attached to the initiative had, within 7 days of non-stop task, intercepted a total of 150,950 litres of PMS, valued at N105,965,391, at various locations nationwide, highlighting, “On Friday 31 May 2024. A total of 45,000 litres of PMS in a tanker was seized at Mubi, Adamawa State.”

He stated that “On Saturday, 1 June 2024, a total of 45,000 litres of PMS

in a tanker was also seized at Mubi, Adamawa, while between Monday, 3 June 2024, and Friday, 7 June 2024, a total of 92,928 litres of PMS in 25 litres of different sizes of jerry cans at Mubi, Song-Wuroboki, Mubi-Sahuda road and Gidan Madara – Sahuda road, in Adamawa state and others in Illela, Sokoto and Agbaragba creek in Mfum border of Cross River State.

The CGC further stated that the Service has also recorded significant seizures of 129,185 litres of PMS from unpatriotic individuals attempting to deprive Nigerians of access to fuel and cause unnecessary hardship valued at N90,558,685, adding “A combined diversion of 280,135 litres of PMS of N196,524,075.50 raises serious economic concerns with broader implications on National Security.”

The CG lamented the unfortunate increase in smuggling of PMS across Borno, Kebbi, Sokoto, Taraba, and Katsina states borders between April and May 2024, and the Service deemed it necessary to collaborate with the NSA to come up with a lasting solution to ensure that Nigerians enjoy the full benefits of fuel price deregulation in line with the vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He said, “Between April and May 2024, Borno and Kebbi States recorded 76% and 59% increases in evacuations, ranking among the top three states. On a year-on-year basis (May 2023 and May 2024), Sokoto and Taraba States recorded the most substantial increases in evacuations, with 247% and 234% increases, respectively.”

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CGC Adeniyi’s Age ‘Scandal’: Before Falsehood Trumps Facts

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CGC Adeniyi's Age 'Scandal': Before Falsehood Trumps Facts

“Acquainted with its notorious antics, it is natural and incumbent that I objectively react each time Sahara Reporters, the United States-based newspaper owned by a frontline Nigerian human rights activist – Omoyele Sowore – publishes what is a falsehood. 

“When there are no objective analyses of events, issues and developments by experts and dispassionate commentators, the mischievous job of rumour peddlers and merchants of fake news, which is to hoodwink the general public, becomes much easier.

“In the early hours of today, Sunday, June 9, 2024, I stumbled across a story by Sahara Reporters about the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, allegedly falsifying his age to remain in customs service. In going to town with the story (perhaps to singularly indict Adeniyi), Sahara Reporters as usual threw objectivity, accuracy, truth and all other basic tenets of news reportage to the dogs.

“First, the US-based medium, it would appear had hastily arrived at a disturbing conclusion that the Customs helmsman indeed altered his age, when it failed to support its so-called report with credible document(s), to convince readers.

“To begin with, the Sahara Reporters’ story, with the title, “EXCLUSIVE: Nigeria Customs Boss, Adewale Adeniyi In Age Falsification Scandal As Documents Reveal He Has Spent 43 Years In Public Service,” can, at best, be regarded as a jaundice piece of news for many reasons.

“The first thing that gave the story away as a fabrication was the accompanying image used for illustrating the alleged falsification. While common sense would have dictated to media outlets worth their salts that a good picture should illustrate the ‘reported scandal’, it didn’t in the case of Sahara Reporters.

“Hence, what appeared to be a white paper with indiscernible writings, looking very blurred, was the best Sowore’s tabloid could use to ‘convince’ readers. Moving forward, the opening two paragraphs of the Sahara Reporters’ story in focus, said official documents were sighted, proving Adeniyi was culpable.

“Unfortunately, Sahara Reporters could not provide screenshots of the ‘official documents’ it obtained. Like a drunkard who is ‘intoxicated’ and confused, Sahara Reporters also contradicted itself in two paragraphs of its exclusive story. 

“In one part, it said: “However, his age falsification has enabled him to remain in service beyond 60 years of age,” while in another, it observed that, “As if that was not enough, the documents also revealed that Adeniyi altered his years of service to remain in customs service”. 

“Regrettably, no tangible evidence was presented. In other words, neither the document showing the age alteration nor the service period extension by the Customs boss was screenshotted and attached to the story. 

“Sahara Reporters also attempted to play a fast one on the public that it is a stickler for balance while carrying out its job of gathering news and information, as a media organisation, hence, reached out to the Customs spokesperson and Adeniyi himself to get their reactions. 

“But what Sahara Reporters failed to understand is that the Customs Chief, had penultimate Monday, offered clarifications on his official birth record and other credentials. In an exclusive chat with Daily Trust, Adeniyi maintained that he had nothing to hide.

 “It goes without saying that those sponsoring this scandal, at this particular moment, are up to something. Is it to distract….?” the stakeholder consequently asked.

Abdulsalam Mahmud is a revered industry watcher – Editor.

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