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OPEIFA: Prioritise Social Distancing or force Government into total lockdown

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OPEIFA: Prioritise Social Distancing or force Government into total lockdown

…Cautions Nigerians against seeing ‘COVID 19’ as the rich man’s disease!***

The Vice-Chairman, Presidential Committee on Apapa Port Access Roads Decongestion, Comrade Kayode Opeifa on Saturday identified the transport sector as a major economic sector that the Government must necessarily work on if the task of curbing COVID- 19 spread would not remain a mirage.

The former Lagos Commissioner of Transportation,  made the observation while contributing at the Channels Television Sunrise programme, on efforts at curbing the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria.

Specifically, Opeifa said the battle must begin with everyone’s compliance with the social distancing stipulations, warning that if need be, government must also be prepared to enforce compliance.

“This is real, and what we may need to do is to step up enforcement, and it is not a punishment, it is to encourage compliance”, Opeifa highlighted.

Pointing out his dissatisfaction with the way most people had treated the issue of social distancing, Comrade Opeifa also cautioned against perceiving COVID-19 as the rich man’s disease.

“Some still see this disease as a rich man’s disease. But they have forgotten that the guy in Ekiti happened to be a driver; and we have also heard recently, that there were some people, like six men on a vessel”, he further noted.

But he was optimistic that a lot could be easily achieved, under the right handling, because the stakeholders in the transport sector, particularly the corporate stakeholders, are well informed and ready to comply, mentioning the Unions, the Police and Transport owners.

If there would be any problem in the chain, he believes it would be from the individual operator’s level.

Opeifa at the Channels Television Sunrise Programme on Saturday

 

“But, be that as it may, we need to get these guys to understand that this thing definitely affects everybody. So, the issue of monetary benefit is not totally crossed.

“This morning, I saw a vehicle with two passengers and those with one (in front), so you see those complying and those who are not; and this is where you must commend the Police Command in Lagos.

“I have also interacted with them and I can say that they are making efforts to put policemen at every possible point and I was also privy to the radio communication of the commissioner of police to all the DPOs, especially, where he was telling them what to do.

He also mentioned the efforts presently being worked out at the seaports level, adding that the present focus was on obtaining relevant operators’ inputs, all of which would be encapsulated into a vital document at the Seaports level.

Stressing the need for Government proactiveness, Kayode Opeifa warned against allowing inter-community transfer or spread of COVID-19, explaining that while other preventive measures are being implemented, social distancing must not be compromised.

“If we don’t want a lockdown, we must respect the Social distance issue!

“You need to see the way the Lagos State Government holds its media briefing, with social distancing observed, even in his compound.

“I came in here and nobody is ready to get closer to me; everybody is keeping far away, but in the transportation sector, whether we like it or not, that is a medium of a must push”, he stated further.

Opeifa stressed the need to totally prevent community to community transfer of Coronavirus, saying that if it would occur, it would be through mobility and transportation, hence the need to focus on that sector now, if total lockdown must be avoided.

Lagosians understood what he was saying. Many believe it is more pronounced in Lekki and Ikeja, at the moment.

He does not envisage resistance at the corporate level. But the same response may not be forthcoming at the individual’s level.

“For this sector, the leaderships are well informed.

Also read:  NAGAFF wants FG declare 21-day force majeure at ports

“For the individual operators, they are not as educated and where they are, their means of survival is daily income. So, sometimes survival overrides their (other) instinct. So, they need a little bit of push for them to take the appropriate action.

“The Individual is key, but you don’t know his mind. Yet, that one individual can be the major problem.

“We will come to that. So, rather than focusing on that individual, I think we should focus on the corporate implementation of this directive”, he posited, recalling how the motor parks proactively reacted during the dreaded forage of Ebola, even as he noted the timely provisions of soap and washing hand bowls at parks now.

“The next stage at the motor park is the passenger, that is, the individual must be made to understand that after he has washed his hands and he enters the vehicle and there are more than two people on a row or more than one person in front, he still stands the risk of contracting the virus because there is no way he would not.

“So he should get down and if he doesn’t, and if he gets to the next stop and people see him, he will be forced to get down and be forced to trek.

“So, it is better for him to wait. There are enough buses now because the number of people on the road has reduced.

“The best place to curtail it is at the motor park where they take off, there is always a point of take-off and the final point of destination, whether you like it or not, you will be at one of these points. For the in-between, the unions are there, the enforcement officers are there. There is no bus-stop in Lagos that has no LASMA. All we need to do is to tell them, in a polite way, you educate the drivers. Once you educate Nigerians on an issue… that the thing you want to go and chop can kill you, people will obey.

 

“The transport sector has a well-organized union, and the members listen to the unions. I will still emphasize it that we get the unions more involved and assure them that it is better to keep safe. I know it will be difficult. You know the road is free now, so where you were making two to three trips before, you are likely to make as much as eight to ten trips now; so you will still make the money at the long run. And one of the good ways to do that is to use the motor park, use the unions and the enforcement agents!”

“I know the issue of losing revenue is an issue to those operators; and this is where we need to focus and educate them that ‘you will not lose anything, you will still make your gains’; because it is better for them to comply and then, we may maintain what we have, rather than they drive us to the point of lock-down!

“And, if we are not careful, the transport sector will drive us to lock-down, earlier than government anticipates!”, Opeifa further explained.

 

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BORDER: FG, Benin Republic Meet in Segbana, To Fast-track Kebbi’s Tsamiya Border Reopening

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BORDER: FG, Benin Republic Meet in Segbana, To Fast-track Kebbi's Tsamiya Border Reopening

… CGC Adeniyi eyes strengthening ties with Benin Customs, to enhance trade facilitation 

A high-level delegation from the Federal Government of Nigeria has engaged its counterparts from the Benin Republic in an inter-ministerial meeting, to discuss the reopening of the Segbana-Tsamiya border post in Kebbi State. 

The meeting which was held on May 21, 2024, aimed at fast-tracking the operationalisation of the border post, in a bid to enhance regional integration and boost economic activities,

Among the Nigerian delegation are the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Dr. Nasir Idris,  Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, Director of Home Finance at the Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Ali Mohammed, and Dr. Dakorinama Alabo George, Director General Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), among other dignitaries.  

The discussions delved into comprehensive issues surrounding the border post’s opening, focusing on logistics, security measures, and the economic impact. Feasibility studies were presented, outlining expected benefits such as increased trade and potential challenges that might arise. 

The deliberation also included setting timelines and identifying necessary infrastructure to ensure a smooth operation.

During the visit, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, affirmed that engagement between the two countries will foster their efforts to enhance the economy. According to him, the aim was to improve the free flow of trade and commercial activities between the two countries, primarily through Northern Borders.

He said, “To ensure closer working and economic relations between Nigeria and the Benin Republic. Over the last six months, within this collaboration framework, we have been working with our colleagues from the Beninese Customs Administration to ensure that we bring the economy together through easy border crossing with goods.” 

On her part, the Director General of the Benin Customs Administration, Adidjatou Hassan, appreciated the move to reopen the border, which, according to her, will strengthen the trade activities between citizens of the two countries.

She said, “This development is expected to increase economic cooperation and strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations. We are committed to sustaining our seamless collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service while enhancing security at our borders and trade activities.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, said the decision to form the forum was based on Presidents Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s and Patrice Talon’s directives to strengthen social and economic interaction as well as expanding trade and commercial ties between the citizens of the two nations.

The Kebbi State Governor, Nasir Idris, who was part of the delegation, thanked the two countries’ presidents for making moves to reinvigorate the free trade and transportation of goods to various destinations within the two countries.

Governor Nasir, however, emphasised that “the state has maintained good neighbourliness with the Republic of Benin on economic activities and social interaction as both beneficial of the border.” 

Further deliberations involved addressing disputes and agreeing on the operational framework. Reinvigoration of a joint commission between Nigeria and Benin took centre stage in the discussion. 

Also, a significant step towards resolving issues and ensuring the necessary infrastructure forms part of the discussion. 

The meeting concluded with a summary of key points discussed and a formal statement of commitment from both sides. Also, an agreement was reached on scheduling a follow-up meeting in June 2024 to monitor progress and address any outstanding issues. 

The delegation agreed to hold a bi-national committee meeting with a defined commitment for subcommittees to submit their reports within two weeks to streamline seamless efforts towards border reopening.

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CUSTOMS Former CG Mustapha Lauds CGC Adeniyi On Overwhelming Transformation In Service

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CUSTOMS Former CG Mustapha Lauds CGC Adeniyi On Overwhelming Transformation In Service

… Adeniyi says he considers Mustapha’s visit a huge honour

A revered former Comptroller General of Customs, Ahmed Mustapha gave Kudos on Tuesday, over the overwhelming transformation that has taken place in the Nigeria Customs Service since he left the Service.

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 Ahmed Mustapha who served from 1999 to 2004 specifically commended the CGC, Adewale Adeniyi, as he expressed his gratitude and admiration for the extensive innovations, particularly, on IT advancements the service had undergone.

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, received the former Comptroller-General of Customs, Ahmed Mustapha, on Tuesday, 20 May 2024 at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Headquarters in Abuja.

“I am deeply impressed by the transformations that have taken place within the Nigeria Customs Service since I left office in 2004. The advancements in technology, infrastructure, and overall efficiency are commendable and reflect the dedication of the current leadership and staff,” Mustapha remarked, during his visit,

 I am grateful that he found the time to visit and see firsthand the developments at the NCS headquarters.”

CGC Adewale Adeniyi while warmly welcoming the retired CGC, sincerely appreciated Mustapha’,, stressing that he considers the visit a great honour.  The CGC was once, a Service national spokesman and image maker, under the former CGC, Mustapha’, during which time, the former CG loved Adeniyi like his own eyes!

“It is an honour to receive former CGC Ahmed Mustapha today. His contributions laid a solid foundation for the progress we are building upon. I am grateful that he found the time to visit and see firsthand the developments at the NCS headquarters.”

Adeniyi also requested the management team to join in the pleasure of hosting Mustapha, highlighting the importance of recognising the efforts of past leaders in shaping the future of the service. 

“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” Adeniyi noted, adding: “Their legacy and hard work have paved the way for the innovations and improvements we are implementing today.”

The visit was marked by a tour of the headquarters, where Mustapha was shown the latest technological advancements of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) centre, which have enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of the NCS. 

The meeting concluded with both leaders emphasising the importance of continuity and the sharing of knowledge across different eras of leadership.

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NNPP: Founder, Board of Trustees Take Over, To End Leadership Crisis

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NNPP: Founder, Board of Trustees Take Over, To End Leadership Crisis

The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has taken a significant step towards resolving its prolonged leadership dispute, as the party’s founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, and members of the Board of Trustees have assumed control of the party’s affairs. 

This move decisively aims to address the internal strife and multiple court cases that have plagued the party since the general elections.

In a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmoud, dated April 3, 2024, Dr Aniebonam announced their decision to take over the party’s affairs, citing the need to preserve the NNPP’s integrity and maintain party cohesion amidst multiple court cases and internal strife. 

The leadership crisis, which escalated after the expulsion of the presidential candidate, Alh. Musa Kwankwaso, and the dissolution of the Abba Kawu-led executive, have left potential members uncertain about which faction to align with.

 However, Article 12.3.4 (a) of the NNPP’s 2022 constitution empowers the founder and the board to step in during such crises. “Our party has a rich history and a commitment to serving the Nigerian people,” Dr. Aniebonam emphasized. 

“We cannot allow internal divisions to weaken our resolve. By assuming responsibility, we aim to keep the NNPP intact and ready for the challenges ahead.” 

With this move, Dr Aniebonam and the Board of Trustees are taking a crucial step towards restoring stability and unity within the NNPP, ensuring that the party remains a strong and viable force in Nigerian politics.

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