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IKEJA: Customs FOU Zone ‘A’ intercepts N5.96bn goods in 2017



Customs arrest 15 suspects in Adamawa for re-bagging foreign rice

…As Jordan to replace bread subsidy with cash grants***

The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ , an anti-smuggling unit of the Nigeria Customs Service in Ikeja Lagos, intercepted contraband goods with a Duty Paid Valued (DPV) of N5.96 billion in 2017.

The Public Relations Officer of the Unit, Mr Jerry Attah, indicated this on Monday in a statement in Lagos, saying  the figure was arrived at from a summation of intercepted goods and interventions which led to duty payments and Demand Notices on  general goods that tried to beat the system from seaports, airports and border stations through wrong classifications.

“The transfer of value and shortchange in duty payment that are meant for the Federal Government of Nigeria made a cumulative  total of N5.96 billion in one year.

“In 2017, a total of 179 suspects were arrested in connection with these 1,046 different seizures, comprising foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, vegetable oil, smuggled vehicles, Indian hemp, arms, fake pharmaceutical/medicaments and various general merchandise,” Attah said.

The Controller of the Unit, Comptroller Mohammed Garba, said 2017 recorded the highest seizures and revenue so far in the history of the command in spite of the  challenges faced.

Garba attributed the feat to the leadership of the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali,  and the entire management of the Service for their efforts in recognising hard work.

According to him, without the management’s motivation and necessary logistic  support,  the Service  would not have achieved the  feat within the  period.

Garba also commended the commitment and diligence of the officers and men of the FOU Zone ‘A’ for thwarting the antics of some smugglers.

He further charged his officers to be professional and diligent in performing their statutory responsibilities in  2018.

Garba urged officers to be committed, especially in the area of anti-smuggling operations,  by making sure all revenue leakages were blocked.

The controller said that all hands should be on deck in the fight against economic saboteurs who meant no good for the economy, describing smuggling as a global malaise.

“Smuggling is a global phenomenon  which cannot be curbed entirely but can be brought to its barest minimum.

“We appreciate all security and sister agencies (Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, NDLEA, NAFDAC, SON) that rendered logistics support and cooperation toward winning the war against smuggling within the South West zone.

“I warn  all smugglers and their accomplices to desist from such illegality and invest their money in legitimate business  as the Unit has  devised other operational modalities that would give them a run for their money and count their losses, if not jailed.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the policy banning the importation of vehicles and rice through the land borders is still in force and we are ever ready and equipped to enforce these policy  to the letter,” Garba said.

The controller called for media’s continuous partnership with the Service, particularly in the advocacy campaign against smuggling.

In the meantime, Jordan has decided to replace the current bread subsidy to Jordanians who are in need of financial support with cash, Minister of Industry and Trade Yaroub Qudah said on Monday.

Qudah in a press conference said that the country woul increase the prices of bread by 67 per cent to 100 per cent starting from Feb. 1.

The minister said that 35 per cent of the country’s residents were non-Jordanians who consumed subsidised bread, adding that bread in Jordan was much cheaper than in several neighboring countries.

He said that the government would save around 50 million dinars (75 million dollars) after replacing the bread subsidy with cash assistance.

Jordan decided to end bread subsidy as part of the measures to be taken by the government in 2018 to increase revenues amidst decline in foreign grants.

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Inauguration: Nicole, Industry Expert Tasks Tinubu On Establishing Maritime Ministry  



Dredging of Onitsha River Port key to successful concession - SALS

A  Maritime industry expert,  Rev. Jonathan Nicole has urged President Bola Tinubu to pay more attention to the maritime sector by establishing a Ministry of Maritime from the Ministry of Transportation.

Nicole, a former president of the Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS) highlighted this in Lagos on Monday, adding that the Ministry of Transportation was overwhelmed with the maritime sector challenges and developments.

Tinubu was on May 29,  inaugurated as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

According to Nicole, the Ministry of Transportation should be broken into two. The maritime sector needs a ministry of maritime. It is too huge for the transport ministry to manage.

He noted that the sector would have achieved more and added to the Gross Domestic Product of the country if it was not ignored.

He added that the sector had not fared well in the past eight years, as adequate attention was not given to it, urging the Tinubu administration to focus on bringing in professionals in the sector but not for political compensation.

“On the way forward, all those involved in the management of the maritime sector, past or present, should not feature in the new dispensation.

“With the correct motive by government, the right power and personal will emerge to bring the required changes in the maritime sector,” he said.

He said the maritime sector did not contribute to the huge debt in the country,  neither was there any spectacular investments involved to upgrade the sector.

He cited an instance with the aprons at the Tin Can Island Port which was collapsing, adding that the Managing Director of  the Nigerian Ports Authority cried out but nothing had been done until lately, the last part of the past administration.

Nicole pointed out that unfortunately, the maritime sector faced neglect and abandonment in the past eight years,  with the exception of Port Manual which had a marginal result of reducing vessels’ waiting time.

“The maritime sector is gradually tilting to the para-military environment, as the controlling agency which is supposed to assist the government in trade policy has become a financier of a task force backed by various government security agencies.

Dredging of Onitsha River Port key to successful concession - SALS
Dr. Jonathan Nicole, Former President, Shippers Association of Lagos State (SALS),

“The trading is scared of intimidation. The Standard Operating Practice (SOP) is incomplete. Shipping lines and terminal operators are omitted. It’s like it was designed for the freight forwarders without any simplified method on process of movement of documents.

“Nothing has changed in that area. The SOP should be withdrawn and looked into for improvement,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria was not in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) membership, adding that things should be in order in our ports for that to come to pass.

“All the ports in Nigeria should be functional in their own rights, Warri Ports especially, Burutu and Focardos.,” he said.

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IOCs’ Level Of Compliance Now Very Remarkable – Adeyanju



Bello-Koko Lauds MWUN for Ensuring NPA Staff's Salary Increase

The President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria and NLC Deputy President, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju has observed that the level of compliance of International Oil Companies (IOCs) has remarkably improved.

He made this declaration at the  Maritime Roundtable organised by the Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN), in Lagos.

The President General also said that the issue of IOCs has been a burning issue in the mind of MWUN as a whole. “I can tell you the level of compliance is well remarkable unlike it was before when we are having sectional compliance. I can say here without mincing any word that some of those oil companies that believed in liquidity have started complying with the extant law of stevedoring act inline with NIMASA, in line with Nigerian Ports Authority”.

“sixty to seventy percent have complied for that IOC issue, but It’s unfortunate that the IOC people came to this country to come and invest in our resources but sometimes they believed in this impunity that has always been the order of the day. Where the government will give a directive and they are not going to obey the directive.  Where the law of this great county is not been respected” he stated.

 “You can see how we have been making noise in this country, minister will give a directive for seven, seven days can be one year or two years. It is a slap on us we are not going to accept that anymore. Thank God we are about to witness another government that I think any moment from now will take over from outgoing government. Those are the things we have put in place”.

“Yes, every leader has its own style of leadership. The man coming in, many are saying he knows how to do it best. He’ s been governor for eight years he is this, he is that but ruling the entire  thirty six state is not one state. Nigeria is a complex state but what we need to do is to give him an advice as maritime stakeholders including you Sir”.

He also said that the position of Deputy President of Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), will bring remarkable recognition to the maritime sector.

“the position of deputy president of Nigeria Labour Congress is like adding more feathers to the one i have gotten before. “Mine is to make sure that the people that elected me feel the impact of why they have elected me , to serve them and that is what I have been doing. Even in NLC, I was the National Trustee before  I was elected as the Deputy President of NLC”.

“We have been trying to see how we can encourage all the stakeholders in the maritime sector for proper recognition.

Coming on board now is going to give us more feathers, more exposure, more recognition that has not been given attention. Mostly the dockworkers, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the shipping, the seafarers and other related port operations that are stakeholders in the maritime sector, and whatever might have been a hindrance between any of the management within the maritime sector I think is my responsibility to cry out for all of them.

“The position is not only for maritime Workers of Nigeria alone. Its cuts across all the sector within the maritime sector. So you are going to see more recognition from Nigeria Labour Congress because over the years we were not been carried along in terms of exposure, but this time around when you see the number two citizen of Nigeria Labour Congress being a President of Maritime Worker’s Union of Nigeria nobody will cry that we are not been recognized. It is an opportunity for all the stakeholders so that we can rally round and support ourselves”.

The President General, MWUN  said creating another ministry for the maritime industry sometimes gives a lot of suspicions.

“What is important is efficiency. People creating another ministry if there is no efficiency coming from the management team, is still going to be the same old story”.

“Look at the new Lekki port. They fund Lekki port out of the old port. Tell me the magic that Lekki port will perform when the road leading to Lekki Port is nothing to write home about. So the government should focus on other ports too”.

 He urged the federal government not to  centralised development of port in one sector but extend it to other ports too.

Comrade Adeyanju urged the government to make appointment of heads of agencies in maritime sector based on experience and not the person that will learn from old hands.

“And when you want to bring somebody to manage port operations don’t bring a carpenter or somebody that read English or somebody that is into bakery, and you now appointed him to be the managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority. What do you expect? He will not perform, he will only learn from the old hands and the moment they graduated from learning from us, those people that helped them to learn they will subject them, they will asked them to get out. That is what is making the port not to be more efficient”.

MWUN congratulates women on International Women's Day
The MWUN President General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju

He applauded the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), for a job well done.

“Look at what is happening in NIMASA, the man at the helms of affairs in NIMASA today is a grassroots man. He started  from grass to grace. He knows all the problems of been a regulating agency, he knows the problems within. 

The MWUN boss stated further that the reason why there were no incessant strikes which has always been the order of the day by the past leaders was a result of training upon training, awareness upon awareness, and sensitising of dockworkers which has brought transformation to the dockworkers of today.

 “As a dockworker myself, I know what I passed through and I can tell you why we don’t have incessant strike that has always been the order of the day as a result of the transformation innovation coming from leaders. Training upon training, awareness upon awareness sensitising our members. But today a dockworker are professionals. 

He categorised the casualisation of dockworkers as a ‘virus”

“the Union has reached an agreement with relevant stakeholders and agreed on the three modes of operations that have taken care of this virus called casuals. We have permanent employment within the rank and file of the Dockworkers, there is what we call payment by tonnage which means that the tonnage will be shared amongst all the people that worked on board that vessel. 

“dockworkers are the engine room of operation in the industry,and should be accorded the respect  they deserve.”

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MT Heroic Idun:  FG Releases Seized Norwegian Oil Tanker After Plea Bargain



… Go and ‘thief’ no more

 The Nigerian Navy on Sunday returned a Norwegian-registered vessel, MT Heroic Idun, caught attempting to steal Nigeria’s crude oil in August 2022.

The navy arrested the oil tanker and its 26 Indian, Pilipino, Sri Lankan and Polish nationals in August 2022, and later convicted them in court and fined $15 million.

Capt. Mohammed Adamu, Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base, Bonny, handed over MT Heroic Idun to its owner, Idun Maritime Limited at Bonny, Rivers, after it met with the plea bargain conditions.

He said after the seizure of the merchant ship, its crew members were charged to the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt for trial in January.

“The Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC), MT Heroic Idun and its 26 foreign crew were arrested after entering Nigeria’s waters unauthorized with intent to lift crude oil.

Also Read: FG orders Security forces to end Oil theft before May 29

“Subsequently, they were charged to court and later pleaded guilty as well as elected voluntarily to enter into a plea bargain agreement with Nigeria.

“The vessel and its crew also agreed to make restitution to the Federal Government.

“The plea bargain was in the interest of justice, public and for public policy interest in line with Section 270 (5) (a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015,” he said.

Adamu said after the conviction and sentencing by the court that MT Heroic Idun and its owners were mandated to pay conviction fines and restitution.

“The owners also agreed to make an apology to the Federal Republic of Nigeria both in print and electronic media as well as Lloyd’s List.

“On its part, the Federal Government agreed not to further criminally prosecute and/or investigate the vessel, her owners, charterers or her crew in the matter of her crime against the state.

The MT Heroic Idun

“The owners of the vessel later apologized to the Federal Government on the Lloyd’s List on May 12 while the same apology was published in the Punch Newspaper of May 18.

“Subsequently, MT Heroic Idun, having fulfilled all the aforementioned conditions of the plea bargain to the satisfaction of the court, has been released to its owners, Idun Maritime Limited,” he added.

The navy officer said the vessel’s release had the consent of the Federal High Court as well as the approval of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

He said the prosecution of the seafarers demonstrated the navy’s commitment to ensure that only valid and authorized vessels were allowed into the country.

According to him, the navy will continue to ensure that only vessels that obtain permits and have security clearance are allowed to lift crude oil or gas from the country.

“Consequently, all maritime stakeholders, key players, and seafarers operating within the Nigeria waters are to carefully conduct their maritime operations within the extant regulations and observance of the law.

“We will bring to book those whose operation infringe on the provisions of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, 2019 and all maritime laws and conventions acceded to Nigeria,” he warned.

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