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PIRACY: Maritime Organisation records Of significant reduction In Gulf of Guinea excites FOC



PIRACY: Maritime Organisation records Of significant reduction In Gulf of Guinea excites FOC
PIRACY: Maritime Organisation records Of significant reduction In Gulf of Guinea excites FOC

Rear Adm. Habila Zakaria presenting a plaque of honour to the Consul General of Brazil to Nigeria.

The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Jason Gbassa on Thursday expressed satisfaction with a recent report of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), showing significant reduction in pirates’ activities within the Gulf of Guinea.

Gbassa said this through the Command’s Chief Staff Officer, Rear Adm. Habila Zakaria who represented him when the Consul General of Brazil to Nigeria, Mr Francisco Luz paid a courtesy call to the Command.

He said that the recorded achievement was possible because of Nigerian Navy’s collaboration with other foreign navys’ in conducting sea exercises that ultimately improved security at the Gulf of Guinea.

According to the FOC, the Brazilian Naval Ship (BNS) INDEPENDENCIA also visited the country for a maritime interdiction mission code named ‘GUNEX’ in the Gulf of Guinea.

“By and large the Nigerian Navy has done much to ensure that the maritime environment is deprived of any form of illegalities.

“A recent report from IMO shows that there are little or no report of piracy within our waters.

“Therefore, BNS visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between Nigeria and Brazil as well as enhancing maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.

Gbassa said that Nigeria and Brazil had come a long way and that both countries had a lot of bilateral agreement, one of which was in defence.

“We have had exchanged programmes within the militaries which is quite commendable and we will explore further way of doing so.

“The presence of the BNS in Lagos is also part of our strategic directive to collaborate with foreign navies to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

“Once in a while they come around to pay port calls and we also participate in sea exercises with them,” he said.

The FOC said that the visit of the Brazilian vessel would enable maritime exercises which would improve maritime security within our waters and by extension the Gulf of Guniea.

“The Gulf of Guniea is of interest to the Nigerian Navy because it spans from Senegal down to Angola which is a very wide expanse of land.

“If we allow all maritime legalities to continue to thrive within these waters, it will have a ripple effect on cost of items especially within the landlocked countries and of course Nigeria,” Gbassa said.

Rear Adm. Habila Zakaria presenting a plaque of honour to the Taskforce Commander, Brazilian Navy Ship, Capt. André Martins.

Also speaking, Luz said that Brazil and Nigeria are the biggest countries in Latin America and Africa respectively therefore, it was important to ensure security of the maritime environment.

“So, we have the biggest economies, the biggest population. Therefore, we have so much in common and our relationship must reflect this situation in all realms especially in defence.

“This visit should happen more often and we should be exchanging officers in all levels,” he said.

The Consul said that both countries had a big responsibility of keeping the Atlantic safe from piracy and other illicit maritime activities.

“Brazil and Nigeria share the Atlantic Ocean as a border so having our borders safe is important for everyone therefore, no cost is too expensive to keep the Atlantic ocean safe.

“It is only through this kind of operation that we can build trust between our military which is essential to keeping the peace in the region.

“It is quite important for both navies to work together and I believe that this will bring our country together and strengthen bilateral relations,” Luz said.



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Sokoto Customs Auctions 11,270L Of Petrol, Intercepts Railway Tracks Vandals



 The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Sokoto/ Zamfara Area Command on Monday auctioned 11,270 litres of petrol it apprehended from smugglers at N180 per litre.

The Command’s Comptroller, Mr Kamal Muhammad, said the petroleum products were seized by the intelligence-driven tactical team in the border areas in Sokoto State.

Muhammad said the team code-named ‘ Whirlwind Tactical Team’, was assigned to combat the smuggling of petroleum products to neighboring countries.

He explained that maritime and cross-border smuggling of petroleum products harms the overall supply chain of the product.

This is in addition to the possibility of funding of criminal activities with the proceeds.

”Even with the removal of subsidy, the smuggling of petrol brings about extra burden on the country both in terms of security of supply and securing of the scarce foreign exchange used to import the product.

”Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Mr Bashir Adewale, inaugurated the team on May 22, 2024 and swung into action, ” he said.

The comptroller said the command also apprehended a 20-foot container truck containing pieces of railway tracks along Kajiji road in the state.

According to him, three suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure who were suspected to be vandals of the nation’s railway lines.

He said the suspects could not offer valid explanations or tender documents on the consignment from the Federal Ministry of Transport.

Sokoto Customs Auctions 11,270L Of Petrol, Intercepts Railway Tracks Vandals

Muhammad said instead, the suspects made an overture to bribe the officers with N1.5 million and offered a partial payment of N300,000.

” Out of patriotism and integrity, the Officers chose the path of honour by detaining them at the Command Headquarters.

”NCS is poised to continue to protect Nigeria’s economic interest with dedication and integrity without fear or favour in tandem with the provision of the law, ” Muhammad added.

The Comptroller handed over the rail tracks, truck and graft money to the State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Mr Alkali Argungu. 

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Operation Whirlwind Hits Hard on PMS Smugglers, Records Significant Seizures



Operation Whirlwind Hits Hard on PMS Smugglers, Records Significant Seizures

Barely two weeks after Nigeria Customs Service launched “Operation Whirlwind” – a decisive onslaught against illegal trade of petroleum products across Nigeria’s borders, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Adewale Adeniyi, says the Service has started recording massive turnout in curtailing the menace of PMS smuggling across the federation.

Addressing newsmen on Monday, 10 June 2024, in Yola, the Adamawa state capital, the CGC re-emphasised strategic efforts to address the critical issue of fuel smuggling. Stating that the exercise aimed at curtailing economic saboteurs has the solid support of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

He said the Service had, in response to the alarming increase in fuel smuggling, launched the initiative to defend the National currency, reduce pressures that may be attributed to the activities of smugglers and dismantle their cartels within the ecosystem, adding, “In the past 2 weeks

we have received credible intelligence on the relative stability of the

price of PMS around the Border States, this is easily attributed to disruptions in the operations of smugglers.” 

According to him, the operatives attached to the initiative had, within 7 days of non-stop task, intercepted a total of 150,950 litres of PMS, valued at N105,965,391, at various locations nationwide, highlighting, “On Friday 31 May 2024. A total of 45,000 litres of PMS in a tanker was seized at Mubi, Adamawa State.”

He stated that “On Saturday, 1 June 2024, a total of 45,000 litres of PMS

in a tanker was also seized at Mubi, Adamawa, while between Monday, 3 June 2024, and Friday, 7 June 2024, a total of 92,928 litres of PMS in 25 litres of different sizes of jerry cans at Mubi, Song-Wuroboki, Mubi-Sahuda road and Gidan Madara – Sahuda road, in Adamawa state and others in Illela, Sokoto and Agbaragba creek in Mfum border of Cross River State.

The CGC further stated that the Service has also recorded significant seizures of 129,185 litres of PMS from unpatriotic individuals attempting to deprive Nigerians of access to fuel and cause unnecessary hardship valued at N90,558,685, adding “A combined diversion of 280,135 litres of PMS of N196,524,075.50 raises serious economic concerns with broader implications on National Security.”

The CG lamented the unfortunate increase in smuggling of PMS across Borno, Kebbi, Sokoto, Taraba, and Katsina states borders between April and May 2024, and the Service deemed it necessary to collaborate with the NSA to come up with a lasting solution to ensure that Nigerians enjoy the full benefits of fuel price deregulation in line with the vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He said, “Between April and May 2024, Borno and Kebbi States recorded 76% and 59% increases in evacuations, ranking among the top three states. On a year-on-year basis (May 2023 and May 2024), Sokoto and Taraba States recorded the most substantial increases in evacuations, with 247% and 234% increases, respectively.”

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CGC Adeniyi’s Age ‘Scandal’: Before Falsehood Trumps Facts



CGC Adeniyi's Age 'Scandal': Before Falsehood Trumps Facts

“Acquainted with its notorious antics, it is natural and incumbent that I objectively react each time Sahara Reporters, the United States-based newspaper owned by a frontline Nigerian human rights activist – Omoyele Sowore – publishes what is a falsehood. 

“When there are no objective analyses of events, issues and developments by experts and dispassionate commentators, the mischievous job of rumour peddlers and merchants of fake news, which is to hoodwink the general public, becomes much easier.

“In the early hours of today, Sunday, June 9, 2024, I stumbled across a story by Sahara Reporters about the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, allegedly falsifying his age to remain in customs service. In going to town with the story (perhaps to singularly indict Adeniyi), Sahara Reporters as usual threw objectivity, accuracy, truth and all other basic tenets of news reportage to the dogs.

“First, the US-based medium, it would appear had hastily arrived at a disturbing conclusion that the Customs helmsman indeed altered his age, when it failed to support its so-called report with credible document(s), to convince readers.

“To begin with, the Sahara Reporters’ story, with the title, “EXCLUSIVE: Nigeria Customs Boss, Adewale Adeniyi In Age Falsification Scandal As Documents Reveal He Has Spent 43 Years In Public Service,” can, at best, be regarded as a jaundice piece of news for many reasons.

“The first thing that gave the story away as a fabrication was the accompanying image used for illustrating the alleged falsification. While common sense would have dictated to media outlets worth their salts that a good picture should illustrate the ‘reported scandal’, it didn’t in the case of Sahara Reporters.

“Hence, what appeared to be a white paper with indiscernible writings, looking very blurred, was the best Sowore’s tabloid could use to ‘convince’ readers. Moving forward, the opening two paragraphs of the Sahara Reporters’ story in focus, said official documents were sighted, proving Adeniyi was culpable.

“Unfortunately, Sahara Reporters could not provide screenshots of the ‘official documents’ it obtained. Like a drunkard who is ‘intoxicated’ and confused, Sahara Reporters also contradicted itself in two paragraphs of its exclusive story. 

“In one part, it said: “However, his age falsification has enabled him to remain in service beyond 60 years of age,” while in another, it observed that, “As if that was not enough, the documents also revealed that Adeniyi altered his years of service to remain in customs service”. 

“Regrettably, no tangible evidence was presented. In other words, neither the document showing the age alteration nor the service period extension by the Customs boss was screenshotted and attached to the story. 

“Sahara Reporters also attempted to play a fast one on the public that it is a stickler for balance while carrying out its job of gathering news and information, as a media organisation, hence, reached out to the Customs spokesperson and Adeniyi himself to get their reactions. 

“But what Sahara Reporters failed to understand is that the Customs Chief, had penultimate Monday, offered clarifications on his official birth record and other credentials. In an exclusive chat with Daily Trust, Adeniyi maintained that he had nothing to hide.

 “It goes without saying that those sponsoring this scandal, at this particular moment, are up to something. Is it to distract….?” the stakeholder consequently asked.

Abdulsalam Mahmud is a revered industry watcher – Editor.

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