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Lockdown: Joint Border Drill seizes 674 bags of rice in Kwara

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Customs in Ogun generates N38.5m revenue in 3rd quarter

…As dwindling revenue forces Kwara Govt. to focus on high-impact projects***

The Nigeria Customs Service,  Joint Border Operations Drill (JBOD) Sector 3, has seized 674 bags of foreign rice within the lockdown order amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sector 3 of the Task Force covers Benue, Kogi, Kwara and Niger States of North Central Nigeria.

The Public Relation Officer of Customs Service, Kwara Command, Mr Zakari Chado stated this in Ilorin on Thursday, wondering why diehards still consider smuggling at a period everyone was concerned with safety from COVID-19.

“Despite the (lockdown) order, some die-hard smugglers defy the order and continued to carry out their nefarious activities.

“The Joint Border Operations Drill Sector 3 has intensified anti-smuggling operations in the zone with a view to curtail activities of economic saboteurs.

“The JBOD Sector 3, under the leadership of Compt. Garba Mohammed has continued to make the zone unfavorable for the smugglers, which led to some seizures,” he said.

The PRO said that the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Section 147, empowers Customs officers to search and raid any premises suspected to house smuggled goods.

“The Joint Task Force involved in this national assignment was recently drafted to a warehouse at Abayawo Area of Ilorin West Local Government of Kwara, suspected to stock foreign parboiled Rice.

“The store was raided and a total of 450 bags of foreign parboiled rice of 50kg was discovered to be smuggled into the state and stored in a residential apartment.

“It was immediately evacuated to Customs warehouse in Ilorin, while those involved in the criminal act are still under trail, and will soon be caught and prosecuted,” he said.

In another raid, Chado said that at the early hours of Thursday (April 30), the roving team stormed Ita-merin Area of Ilorin West Local Government of Kwara when the smugglers were about offloading the smuggled rice into a residential quarter.

“The  rice was evacuated to Customs warehouse in Ilorin, and after the examination 224 bags of foreign parboiled Rice was discovered,” he said.

The PRO said that the Sector has reiterated its stand that there will be no retreat on the fight against smuggling in whatever disguise.

“The Coordinator appealed to the general public to embrace legitimate means of livelihood and avoid smuggling in all its ramifications.

“The policy of the present administration on suppression of smuggling activities, blockage of revenue leakages and maximum revenue generation without compromising national interest and security of the country will be strictly adhered to,” he said.

Also read:  COVID-19: Customs Boss approves release of N3.2bn items as palliatives – Attah

In another development, the Kwara Commissioner for Finance, Florence Olayemi, says the state government will now focus on projects with immediate impacts on the well-being of the people, including social investment programmes, healthcare, and school rehabilitation.

Oyeyemi said this while speaking with newsmen in Ilorin on Thursday against the backdrop of the just concluded budget review sessions across the Ministries, Department, and Agencies, (MDAs) in the state.

According to her,  Kwara government is aligning its spendings with available resources in the face of dwindling federal allocation and internally generated revenue (IGR).

“The focus will now be on projects that would have instant impacts on the living standard of the masses.

“There will be cut in the cost of governance, especially overhead costs and some capital projects,” the Commissioner said.

She linked the revenue drop to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the recent oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia,

Oyeyemi added that the review means that there would be a sizeable cut in overhead cost and capital projects in line with the economic realities.

“We had a budget of N162.84billion for 2020. But it is clear now that our allocation and what we expected will no longer be feasible, it is better we cut our coat according to the available cloth.

“All we are doing now is preserving the state’s wealth to take care of major expenses of the state like first-line expenses – salaries and taking care of the poor and provide for the completion of the ongoing projects.

“The area that we will still look into is the education sector because we will be providing an alternative for classroom learning.

“Also, the present administration has embarked on several water projects, which must not stop because at such a time like this, our people need potable water.

“As a government, we have decided to reduce the cost of governance and there will be a sizeable reduction in our overhead cost to focus on other pressing areas,” she said.

The Commissioner said the report from the budget review is being collated to a whole document that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq will then forward to the House of Assembly for passage.

Oyeyemi said that the state government has resolved to release federal allocation figures and IGR on a quarterly basis to coincide with the statutory issuance of the quarterly budget implementation reports.

“In this wise, the $5million  (N1.8billion) that we have just received on Monday on account of our compliance with the World Bank-assisted State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability for Result (SFTAS), will be captured in the second quarter budget implementation report as required under the law,” she said.

She added that the budget implementation report for the first quarter of 2020 will be out next week

 

Maritime

NNPP: Clergyman Predicts Peace, Stronger Party

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NNPP: Clergyman Predicts Peace, Stronger Party

…As NAGAFF Members seek God’s Intervention over intractable party Crisis

A clergyman, Pastor Joel Uzor, has predicted a new era of peace and the emergence of a stronger New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) following divine intervention, sequel to bouts of selfless prayers by members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), on Thursday.

The faithful NAGAFF members on Thursday defied the heavy downpour, to sincerely seek the face of God, and pray that the crisis rocking their party will soon end, and the party should get stronger in the future.

Speaking during the prayer session organized by NAGAFF members for the survival of NNPP, Pastor Uzor stressed that enemies of the party will soon give way for genuine members, and this will lead to a stronger and better NNPP.

The clergyman, who presides over the Rock of Evidence Assembly, emphasized the importance of prayer in overcoming the crisis, citing relevant scriptures to support his message.

Dr. Boniface Aniebonam

He prophesied that NNPP would emerge stronger from the crisis, with those bent on destroying the party leaving peacefully without troubling genuine members.

Pastor Uzor described the controversy as a prolonged disagreement between two or more parties, citing examples from the Bible, including the story of Abraham and Lot.

 He also encouraged NAGAFF members to pray fervently for God’s intervention towards not only a peaceful political party. but even a peaceful Nigeria.

Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, Founder of NAGAFF and NNPP, also spoke at the event, describing the association as a prayerful group. He lamented the internal crisis in NNPP, saying it is uncalled for, and emphasized the need for God’s intervention to achieve the desired peace.

The crisis has brought together, concerned members of the business community with the political membership of the party, in going spiritual; and praying for peace and stability in the party.

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Maritime

NNPP Crisis: Freight Forwarders Defy Rain To Pray For Peace

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NNPP Crisis: Freight Forwarders Defy Rain To Pray For Peace

The grey line between Commerce and Politics further blurred on Thursday as Members of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) defied a heavy rain to offer prayers for peace in the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

Crisis hit the maritime people’s dominated party, the NNPP, following the alleged attempt by its former Presidential flag, Rabiu Kwankwaso, his alleged expulsion from the party, and the subsequent cacophony of allegations and counter allegations, plunging the freight forwarders’ pride into internal crisis.

The prayer session, led by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the association, Mr Chidiebere Enelaman, was held at the NAGAFF Headquarters in Apapa, Lagos.

Enelama said that the association decided to hold the prayers because of its close ties with the party, its brainchild which was founded in 2002 by NAGAFF’s founder, Dr Boniface Aniebonam.

“Almost all NAGAFF members are members of the NNPP. The party was formed not only to win elections in Nigeria but to propagate issues that would be favourable to the Maritime sector.

“It is sad to watch the ongoing internal wrangling and not intervene.

NNPP CRISIS: NAGAFF Goes Spiritual, Organizes Prayer Session To Entrench Peace

“We believe so much in the power of the Almighty and we believe He will restore peace to the NNPP,” he said.

The chairman said that the prayers were a response to the internal crisis brewing within NNPP, particularly concerning the expulsion of Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso, the party’s 2023 Presidential Candidate, due to alleged anti-party activities.

“NAGAFF as the parent body of the NNPP, under the leadership of Aniebonam, shall continue to appreciate and remember the role played by Kwankwaso in the last presidential elections.

“We hope that God shall intervene in the internal wranglings of the NNPP and also give Kwankwaso the wisdom to retrace his steps in the issues concerning NNPP and his role therein,” he added.

Also speaking, Aniebonam said that prayer remains the key to resolving issues.

He narrated how seeking divine intervention had worked for NNPP in the past during the challenging Kano State governorship election.

Aniebonam noted that the association remained hopeful that God would once again intervene and bring peace to NNPP during the period of internal discord.

“When the odds were against the party in the Kano State governorship election at the tribunal and appeal court, we ran to God for intervention at the Supreme Court and He answered.

“It is our hope and belief that God will answer us again at this trial period of internal crisis. We shall forge ahead to elect a great leader in Nigeria at God’s time.

“As founder and life member of the NNPP board, it is my greatest desire to see peace reign and for the splinter group to retrace its steps.

“I’m a father to all and I sincerely believe that God will hearken to our prayers,” he added.

The prayer session was officiated by Pastor Joel Ozor of the Rock of Evidence Assembly in Ojo, Lagos.

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Maritime

Ease of Smuggling Ends on Adamawa/ Taraba Axis, As Bashir Efforts Yield Fruits

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Ease of Smuggling Ends on Adamawa/ Taraba Axis, As Bashir Efforts Yield Fruits

The ease of smuggling on the Taraba axis may be temporarily over, as a drive by the Nigeria Customs Service NCS to thwart illicit trading has begun to yield outstanding results.

The new Adamawa/ Taraba Area Command Controller, Garba Bature Bashir confirmed this, highlighting that, only two weeks under his leadership, the Command had recorded five incidents of interception of over N10 million worth of petrol (Premium Motor Spirit PMS) snoozing its way, to the neighbouring Country, Cameroon Republic. 

 “In the past two weeks, our drive to thwart smuggling rings in this command has produced outstanding results. The success recorded so far could invariably predicated on the synergy, robust border management, intelligence sharing and unwavering efforts of our operatives”, Comptroller Garba Bashir stated, noting that a key item, petrol was on its way to Cameroon.

“The Command Officers while on anti-smuggling operations along the Command frontiers within two weeks under my leadership had recorded five (05) incidents of interception of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) on its way to the neighbouring Country, Cameroon Republic. 

“The intercepted and seized PMS plus the Means of Conveyance hereinafter are Valued at Ten   Million, eight hundred and seventy-one thousand, four hundred and ninety-six naira and twenty-five Kobo only (N10,871,496.25) as the Duty Paid Value (DPV)”, Bashir also said.

Pointing out that while no suspect was apprehended during the Operations because the suspects abandoned the items and absconded in an attempt to circumvent arrest, the Command remains undaunted and committed to its anti-smuggling mandate.

“The seized items include the following:

i.​12,435Litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) packed in 491x25L and 8 x 20L Jerry Cans.

ii.​one used Mitsubishi truck -Means of conveyance of the PMS and

iii.​One used Motor Cycle – the Means of Conveyance of the PMS.

“The seizure of these items is in line with sections 150 and 248 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and considering the facts that the Command’s territorial borders are officially closed. 

“However, due to the inflammable nature of these PMS, it will be auctioned immediately after this briefing following the standard operating procedure (SOP) and as enshrined in section 119 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and the proceeds accrued remitted into the Federation Account accordingly.

“Smuggling activities had done more harm than good to the nation. It hinders our national growth and strangles our trade policies concerning revenue, foreign investment, preservation of domestic trade and growth, food security and public security. 

“Smuggling networks are often connected to diverse illicit activities, such as money laundering, terrorism financing and human trafficking, which can disrupt national security and the rule of law.

“The Nigeria Customs Service, Adamawa/Taraba Area Command on this point, will never give up in its fight against the menace of smuggling until the command is purged of it. 

“We want to unwaveringly tell the smugglers that our operatives are strategically repositioned along the borderlines to fasten their exit out of this illicit business”, he further said, advising the illicit traders to renounce economic sabotage and illicit trade into and out of the Command’s territorial borders, and adopt legitimate business, as the Command Operatives will not rest on their oars until we stamp out smuggling across all the command borders.

“To the border Communities and the patriotic Nigerians, we solicit your partnership in the area of providing timely intelligence that can aid our operations in getting rid of this economic scourge from our nation. 

“To the transporters and oil marketers to be vigilant and patriotic to deny these smugglers a supply chain. And to the Media Personnel, please do increase awareness campaign to educate the general public on the dangers and negative impacts of smuggling on our socio-economic development.

“Finally, we attributed these huge successes recorded so far to the unwavering support and encouragement of the management of the Nigeria Customs Service under the tenacious leadership of Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, who has continued to give all the required backup and supply chain for our smooth anti-smuggling operations. 

“We wholeheartedly appreciate his unrelenting drive for service advancement”, Bashir stated, stressing the combined, cooperative advantage of all the Customs Units, which comprise the CIU, FOU, SIS, Valuation, ICT; and the synergy with other security agencies as well.

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