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NDLEA uncovers 340 million Tramadol tablets, in 12 containers

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…As BMO tells senate to face its core duties, not dabble into $8bn MTN Fine

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it has uncovered 340 million Tramadol tablets in 12 containers at the Apapa port in Lagos.

NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Mr Jonah Achema indicated this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, noting that the tablets which were in various dosages, ranging from 120 milligrams to 250 milligrams were recovered from 12 containers in the ongoing search in Apapa port.

He said the containers were on the watch-list of NDLEA since November, 2017 and were brought to Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for search based on the agency’s reasonable suspicion of the containers containing tramadol.

He stated that the NCS on Wednesday dropped 28 of 62 containers slated for search, among which 12 of them were found to contain tramadol.

“The search is still ongoing.

“Tramadol is a pharmaceutical drug which has been subject of abuse by the populace.

“In one single operation in November last year, the agency intercepted 160 million tablets of tramadol at the Apapa port which ranged from 220 to 250 milligrams.

“They were imported from India using false documents in the name of an unregistered company,” Achema said.

According to Col. Muhammad Abdallah (retd), Chairman, NDLEA, it is doubtful that this influx of Tramadol is for legitimate use.

“Tramadol, which is a derivative of Opiate is for post-surgery application but even if everybody in Nigeria undergoes surgery every year, we do not need the quantity that enters our country.

“It only suggests their diversion for illicit use,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has strongly advised the Senate to desist from distracting the executive, in the running of state affairs, but to concentrate more on its duties of providing adequate legislation for the growth of the nation.

The group gave the advice in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke on Thursday in Abuja, in a swift reaction to Senate’s resolution on the fine imposed on communication company, MTN.

The group therefore cautioned Nigerian Senate to pay more attention to its legislative duties and ensure that it always formed a quorum, rather than dabble into issues that were strictly within the purview of the executive arm of government.

It noted that any company which was found to have violated extant laws must abide by the consequence of its actions, as “MTN violated currency regulations by sending $8.1 billion abroad illegally”.

The CBN had imposed heavy fines totalling N5.87bn on four banks under its regulatory purview for alleged illegal funds repatriation.

It also directed both the banks and MTN Nigeria Communications Limited to immediately refund to the apex bank $8,134,312,397.63, which was said to have been illegally repatriated by the company.

A statement from the CBN has said it asked the banks and MTN to refund money for what it described as ‘flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006’.

The four banks that came under the sledge hammer of the CBN for the violations were Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank.

BMO, therefore cautioned the Senate to refrain from assuming executive powers in the management of state affairs.

It also advised the senate to focus on forming more quorum so that members could attend to key national issues and give value for money being spent on them.

“The Senate is reminded that, not only will MTN pay its fine as ascribed by the CBN, banks involved in this illegal repatriation have been fined and sums debited at source.”

BMO noted that “the issue in contention is not a fine but repatriation of foreign exchange initially thought to have been fraudulently secured through local banks

“The derivation arising from that is that MTN would have been made to pay back the $8.1 billion while the local equivalent value would have been refunded to MTN.

“Now it would seem that the matter of repatriation had been resolved by the CBN so the suggestion of the $800 million is a surcharge on the transaction rather than a repatriation,” it said.

 

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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