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HASSAN BELLO: Connection Between Nigerian Maritime Industry and Economy Is Inspiring



HASSAN BELLO: Connection Between Nigerian Maritime Industry and Economy Is Inspiring

… Insists Nigeria Has no Reason Begging IMO, to be in Category ‘C’***

A Maritime Expert and former Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), has expressed high hopes for the country’s Maritime Industry’s ability to take Nigeria’s economy out of the woods, stressing there is now a connection between the economy and the industry.

 “I think things are moving up now. We are getting there, more soon, now that there’s connection between the Nigerian Maritime industry and the economy” he stated in an exclusive interview with Maritime First, recently.

He posited that the Country’s economy would eventually have to depend on the Maritime industry, noting ironically, that this connection was hitherto, not there before.

“We were being abstract about the industry and the economy, but everything we do now, is about the GDP contribution; especially what the Maritime would contribute to the Economy”.

He highlighted that the Maritime industry must be seen as being a lot better off than the Crude Oil industry, particularly in terms of its being more credible and reliable in the long run.

Hassan Bello lauded the Minister of Transportation Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, for his huge efforts in the effective coordination of the Maritime industry and the Ministry, stressing: “I am happy with what the Minister is able to do within a short time, especially striving to make a link which had been missing”.

The Maritime expert highlighted the need for Stakeholders to Synergize in a bid to see how much employment the industry can generate, as well as the revenue prospects that can be attained.

He also wanted to know how transportation can be made to positively influence transport costs, pointing out that presently, the Nigerian Ports were made to concentrate on exports, which definitely wasn’t the case before; 

He was particularly happy that about five terminals were now licenced to focus on exports, which in the past, was not the case.

“Our strength actually lies on exports, because anyone can import; and we cannot be an import-dependent nation.

“We have to go down into crevices and explore our advantages; and processes.

“We cannot be a consuming nation”, he stated, adding that to escape the cul-de-sac, the port must be a key functional body.

He praised the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for taking the lead and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recent complementary roles in the same direction, as well as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, stressing that with all of them coming together on a non-oil synergy, the anticipated result will be both inspiring and exciting. 

“But to do that, we have to look at the logistics. The logistics must be efficient”, he indicated, stressing that whereas it takes only $10 to export ginger from Mexico to US; in Nigeria, it is actually about $100, as a result of the unpredictable and inefficient nature of the nation’s transportation industry.

“We spend about 40 percent of total cost of production on transport, and this is because the transport industry is not efficient”, he also said.

He however expressed great hope on things gradually picking up positively, stressing that the Lekki Deep-sea Port would soon ignite a revolution.

“I am very very happy with the Lekki Deep-sea Port. It is a game changer!”, Hassan Bello says, adding that the deep-sea port had already established the ambition of Nigeria to be the load centre or the hub of the Central and West African region, and there’s no way it can be stopped, despite the present challenges of non-availability of rail or good roads connection.

Bello emphasized that with a 16.5-metre draft, bigger ships would come, berthing more throughput, and a corresponding economic impact, alongside huge employment prospects for about 170,000 people.

Thus, the revenue would come and the Apapa, as well as the Tin Can Island Ports would more effectively play the role of efficient feeder ports. 

He lauded the Federal Government’s efforts on rail’s interconnectivity development, adding that such interconnection between the seaports and the hinterland would come with great multiplier benefits.

According to the Maritime guru, with such unfolding development, when added to the unique effect of reforms gains of ports terminal privatisation, which can no longer be truncated, the benefits can only be imagined.

He however stressed the need for NPA to democratize the Port’s Concession Agreement, saying that it is not supposed to be something to be hidden close to the chest.

He maintained that the Dockworkers should be made to understand the content to enable them, more effectively key into it, same as the Freight forwarders, the Shippers amongst other relevant key stakeholders to enable them also, more prudently key into it.

He however frowned on the way the International Maritime Organisation IMO is currently treating Nigeria, emphasizing that the country, following what the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron are doing.

He described the Nigerian Maritime Academy, Oron as a world-class institution, noting that some countries were already sending their cadets to Oron, to be trained.

Consequently, he inferred that with the yeoman’s efforts of NIMASA, which has successfully subdued piracy beyond the waters of the country, Nigeria has no reason, begging to be in IMO’s Category ‘C’.

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Customs Backs UN-Habitat’s Efforts To Combat Smuggling



…CGC Assigns DCG. Abba Kura to work closely with Dr Raymond Edoh***

The Acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, has said that the Service, under his watch, will implement every necessary action against saboteurs of Nigeria’s economy with a commitment to cripple their ‘illegitimate’ smuggling business.

UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action, towards creating sustainable cities and promoting viable urban development, and adequate shelter for all. 

The CGC restated this on Tuesday, 19 September 2023, when he received Ambassadors of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN—Habitat, led by Dr Raymond Edoh, at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, assuring him of enduring partnership.

*R- L: The CGC, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi while receiving the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN—Habitat, Ambassador, Dr. Raymond Edoh, at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday.

“On behalf of the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign — and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely,” the CGC, Adewale Adeniyi stated. 

He appreciated how they travelled from afar to intimate the Nigeria Customs Service of their campaign against smuggling, which, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has already started noticing the gains of its positive results in the suppression of smuggling. 

The CGC also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service has already started embracing technology to advance its Nigeria Customs Backs UN-Habitat’s Effort to Combat Smuggling.

*UN—Habitat Ambassador, Dr. Raymond Edoh

He appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN-Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future

The CGC said, “What we’re trying to do is to raise a modern Customs Service through partnering with stakeholders to achieve our goals because we value partnership, and I am happy that you extended your hands of collaboration to work with us.”

He also appreciated their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through a technological approach.

The CGC consequently underscored the importance of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.

On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”

According to him, they decided to visit the CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service.

*The hosts and the Guests in a group photograph

He commended the Service for being a credible “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.

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Anambra Rescues 3 Pregnant Girls Whose Babies Were Valued At N300,000 Each



Police arraign Lagos businessman for alleged theft of N3.5m phones

…As Lagos Court remands student Nduka Kalu, who allegedly defiled a teenager he met on Facebook***

Anambra has rescued three pregnant girls from a baby factory and child trafficking syndicate in Umunze, Orumba South Local Government Area of the state.

They are a 14-year-old from Arondizuogu (Imo), a 20-year-old from Bayelsa and a 19-year-old from Ihite Orumba in Anambra.

Their unborn babies were to be sold at N300,000 each, upon delivery.

Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs Ify Obinabo, told newsmen on Wednesday in Awka when she received the rescued girls and a suspect that the rescue followed a three-month investigation.

The investigation, she added, was conducted by operatives of the Anambra Vigilance Group (AVG) and the Transition Committee Chairman of Orumba South council area, Mr Neville Uchendu.

Obinabo said a suspect, one Oruchukwu Okoroafor of Arondizuogu in Anambra, who runs the syndicate, had been arrested.

“I commend the Orumba South Local Government Council chairman and the vigilance group for bursting the syndicate after a careful three-month investigation of the suspect.

“I assure you that the apprehended suspect will not go scot-free. We will hand him over to the police for further investigation. He must face the consequences of his crime.

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“I call on residents to emulate the Orumba South council chairman in making Anambra a liveable and prosperous homeland,’’ she said.

In exchanges with newsmen, the girls said the suspect was not responsible for their pregnancies but offered to shelter them in his house pending their delivery dates.

They said the suspect promised to get them jobs and offered to give each of them N300,000 after they had been delivered of their babies.

The suspect in his own case told newsmen that he had been in the business for two years and that the girls were his first set of clients in 2023.

“The intending buyers of the unborn children already promised to pay N300,000 per head, but I do not have their contacts,’’ Okoroafor said.

In another development, an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday remanded a 24-year-old student, Nduka Kalu, who allegedly lured a teenager to a hotel and defiled her.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Bola Osunsanmi, did not take the defendant’s plea, insisting that she needed advice of the state’s director of public prosecutions.

Osunsanmi ordered that Kalu should be kept at the Kirikiri custodial facility pending the advice.

The defendant, a resident of 4, Petidabo St., Shomolu, Lagos State, is charged with defilement.

The prosecutor, SP Raji Akeem, had told the court that Kalu committed the offence on Aug. 14 at Villa Hotel, Shasha, Lagos State.

According to Akeem, the defendant lured the 14- year-old who he met on Facebook, to the hotel in the guise of helping her to achieve her dream of becoming a fashion model and an actress.

The prosecutor alleged that the defendant defiled the minor in the process.

According to the prosecutor, the offence contravenes Section 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The chief magistrate adjourned the case until Oct. 19 for mention.

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Police Launch Manhunt For Killers Of 5 JTF Personnel In Imo



Gunmen Abduct NPC Commissioner, Aides At Rivers Section Of East-West Road

The Police Command in Imo says it has launched a manhunt to apprehend the killers of five Joint Task Force (JTF) personnel who were killed on Tuesday at Ehime Mbano area of the state.

The Command’s Spokesman, ASP Henry Okoye disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday.

Okoye said the Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Barde, had deployed the command’s Special Tactical Team and equipped them with operational assets to apprehend the hoodlums.

According to him, five security operatives of the state’s Joint Task Force (JTF) comprising of two NDLEA personnel, one Civil Defense officer, one Police officer and an Air Force Officer were ambushed.

He said the deceased operatives were responding to a decoy distress call at Oriagu in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area on Tuesday when they were attacked and killed.

Okoye said the Commissioner of Police with Gov. Hope Uzodimma and the heads of some security agencies in the state had visited the scene of crime for an on-the-spot assessment of the incident.

He explained that the confidence-building patrol carried out by the governor and security chiefs to the scene was aimed at assuring Imo residents, particularly those living in Ehime Mbano, of their maximum safety.

Emouha Assault: Police De'ranks Inspector, Reprimand Another

“CP Barde extends his heartfelt condolences to the families and relatives of the deceased officers and prays that the Almighty God grants them the fortitude to bear the sudden and irreplaceable loss.

“The Commissioner of Police appreciates the concerns of the general public and vows that no stone will be left unturned in ensuring that the perpetrators of the dastardly act are made to face the full wrath of the law.

“The CP reiterates the command’s commitment in collaborating with other sister security agencies in providing adequate security for all and sundry in Imo State,” he stated.

Okoye urged members of the public to report suspicious persons or clandestine activities observed within their vicinity via the emergency lines – 08034773600 or 08098880197. (NAN)(

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