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‘Prioritise equipment provision at dry ports’



Amaechi unhappy over CCECC slow pace of work on Lagos -Ibadan Rail project

…As Air Force Helicopter crashes***

Importers, exporters and the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) have urged the Federal Government to prioritise the provision of scanners and other equipment at the new Inland Dry Port (IDP) in Kakuri, Kaduna State.

They said this became necessary because of the rise in illegal arms import and insecurity in the North.

Speaking with The Nation after the inauguration of the IDP by President Muhammadu Buhari, ANLCA National Publicity Secretary Dr Kayode Farito gave kudos to the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) for championing the establishment of IDPs across the country.

He, however, said the Federal Government and the concession-aire of the dry port must  be fast in providing scanners and  cargo delivery equipment, adding that non-availability of such equipment would result in the 100 per cent physical examination of cargoes by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Subjecting containers to 100 per cent examination by the Customs at the IDPS, he said, could compromise national security.

Besides, he said the non-provision of scanners and other equipment would affect the government’s Ease of Doing Business policy.

Operators of the Kaduna IDP and others, ANLCA said, must ensure that their equipment were  ‘’automated” to meet the requirements of the Executive Order on Ease of doing Business.

He said automation was necessary to drive the reform in the sector to attract more cargoes to the IDPs.

According to him, automation would enhance efficiency and reduce waste. He added that openness would help the system and process of cargo clearance.

The ANLCA chief said people would be attracted to the inland dry ports with increased volumes of cargo, which would then enhance revenue generation.

The group gave kudos to NSC for introducing initiatives that were in tandem with global best practices to ensure that both sea and inland dry ports remain efficient, transparent and accountable.

NSC, he said, should create a platform that would accommodate all government agencies at the port for easy transaction and assist other agencies and terminal operators to fashion a robust template for operations at the inland ports and the sea ports. Under the new arrangement, revenue leakages, must be blocked while improving operational revenue.

He commended the facility at the Kaduna dry port and urged both the importers and exporters in the north to patronise the dry port.

At the opening of the dry port, President Buhari said the dry port was the first.

He lauded the management of the Shippers Council for initiating the project, urging importers, exporters, seaport terminal operators, clearing agents, haulage drivers and other stakeholders to make use of its world-class facilities.

The dry port is an inland intermodal terminal connected by road, rail and air to a seaport and operate as a centre for trans-shipment of sea cargo to inland destinations.

President Buhari said he was delighted to be at the forum because the port will serve as port of origin for exporters and destination for importers, generate employment, decongest the Lagos port, contribute to the easy of doing business and boost the economy.

With the inauguration of the dry port, the President said, the congestion and gridlock at the Lagos port would be eliminated.

While also commending the Shippers Council for promoting the dry port, Amaechi said the Kaduna dry port was gazetted on May 26, 2015 by the Federal Governmental as  a port of origin and port of destination.

The port, he said, was the first port to be licensed to receive cargo from Lagos seaports.

The idea to establish the dry port, he said, was informed by the need to decongest the Lagos ports and provide relief for the busy Apapa road.

He urged shippers from the north  to do business at the port, rather of  travelling to Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar to receive their cargo.

He urged the shippers from Kaduna and other parts of the North to take advantage of the merits at the port for revenue generation and wealth creation.

The port, according to Amaechi, will facilitate delivery of cargo from importers and exporters;  fast-track transport development through the hinterland, improves transport infrastructure and decongest the seaports, facilitate cargo delivery to hinterlands and other landlocked Nigeria’s neighbours, such as Chad, Niger, Northern Camerou, and Bukina Faso.

Amaechi said the dry port project was conceived as part of a solution to the problem of hinterland shipers’inadequate access to seaports and frequent congestion.

The minister also said frequent congestion at seaports led to loss of cargo in transit on land mode, urging stakeholders to make use of the facility.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru el Rufai, thanked the President for taken off time to open the port,  assuring Nigerians that the facility at the port would be put into good use.

The project, he said, was a tripartite arrangement between the Federal, the state and the concession- aire.

In an interview with The Nation, NSC Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Hassan Bello said he was happy that President Buhari was in Kaduna to open the world-class project. He lauded the the Kaduna government for the successful upgrading of the bonded terminal to a Inland Dry Port with full status of Port of Origin and final destination.

Another stakeholder, Mr Abulwaheed Onigbanjo, praised the standard of work at the terminal. He called on importers, exporters and other stakeholders to patronise the port.

Also, an importer Sadiq Salau  commended the promoters of the dry port.

“In China or Hong Kong, you can have your container released to you in two hours once it arrives the port and this is at a cost equivalent of between N5,000 and N10,000 whereas in our seaports, for your container to be released, it takes several days to weeks and costs several hundreds of thousands of naira or more than a million naira in some cases, despite the government’s effort at reformation.

“In Asia, everything works systematically and you can plan successfully. But here, there are lots of policy somersaults; things are not organised for sustainable growth and most importers in Nigeria find it difficult to cope with this kind of system after experiencing the best way things are done in other countries and that is why we are clamoring that the tariffs at the inland dry ports be made attractive through the deployment of all necessary equipment to facilitate trade,” he said.

One of the promoters of the dry port, Tope Borishade, said the port can handle 29,000 TEU of containers yearly in the first phase and may double it when fully completed.

“It is also estimated to generate 5000 direct employment at the commencement of operation,” Borishade said.

In the meantime, the Nigerian Air Force has announced the crash of one of its helicopters while on a mission in the ongoing counter insurgency operations in the Northeast.

The Director of Public Relations and Information of the NAF, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya however said no live was lost in the mishap.

AVM Adesanya said in a statement: “​A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Mi-17 Helicopter has suffered a mishap while undertaking a mission in the ongoing counterinsurgency operation in the North East.

“The incident, which occurred today, 8 January 2018, resulted in significant damage to the helicopter. There was, however, no loss of lives as a result of the incident.

“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has immediately directed the constitution of a board of inquiry to determine the exact cause of the incident, in line with global best practices.

“The NAF continues to solicit the understanding and support of the general populace as it daily strives to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians”.

Meanwhile a new Acting Director Defence Information Brig. General John Agim has resumed work at the Defence Headquareters. He replaced Major General John Enenche who is now Commandant Army War College, Nigeria.

According to a statement signed by Wing Commander Ademosu on behalf of the Director of Defence Information, Brig General Agim until his appointment was Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Public Relations.



NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim’s Families Over Boat Mishap



NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim's Families Over Boat Mishap

…As Ali Nuhu says recent deaths in movie industry rob the nation of legendary filmmakers

 The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), has conveyed its deepest regret over the unfortunate boat mishap which claimed four lives on Wednesday.

It could not yet be established whether or not, all the passengers wore lifejackets at the time of the incident.

A condolence message by Dakio Horsfall, the Acting General Manager (Marine) of the authority, on Thursday in Lokoja, said the management of the authority condoled with the Actors Guild of Nigeria and the victims’ families over the losses.

The mishap reportedly involved two boars on the River Niger en route to Asaba in Delta State at about 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday.

The accident, which involved an unregistered fibreglass boat with 12 persons on board and a privately owned wooden boat with a lone driver, left four persons dead, while seven others were rescued.

Horsfall said: “Preliminary reports indicated that the accident resulted from a frontal collision between the two boats due to overspeeding.

“Sadly, two people died at the scene of the accident, two more bodies were recovered 24 hours later off-site, while 7 persons were rescued.

“Consequently, the Authority commiserates with the families of the deceased persons and pray that the good Lord will repose the souls of the departed”.

He said that upon the receipt of the report of the accident through its community-based structure, the NIWA deployed its search and rescue team to the scene for immediate rescue activities.

NIWA Condoles Actors Guild Of Nigeria, Victim's Families Over Boat Mishap

According to him, the team and other stakeholders including the local divers, swung into action and have continued the search and rescue effort since Wednesday.

“As of the last count, one person is still unaccounted for.

“Also, the Marine Department of NIWA has activated its accident investigation mechanism to determine the cause(s) of the accident and make appropriate recommendations,” he said

The manager stressed the need for all users of the inland waterways to, mandatorily, adhere to all the established safety protocols, including the completion of passenger manifest at the loading and offloading points.

“The usage of life jackets on the waterways is mandatory, avoiding over speeding, and yielding to weather dictates, at all times,” he said.

Horsfall commended the Marine Police, local divers/ fishermen, Maritime Unions and other good-hearted Nigerians who rose to support the Authority in its rescue efforts.

“Nevertheless, NIWA hereby assures all Nigerians of its continuous efforts aimed at promoting safer inland waterways for the use of all”.

In another development, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Mr Ali Nuhu has said that recent deaths in the movie industry have robbed the nation of legendary filmmakers.

This is contained in a statement signed by Brian Etuk,  the Director of Public Affairs of the NFC in Abuja.

Nuhu described the death of Saratu Gidado (aka Daso) and John Odonwodo,  known as Junior Pope, as heart-wrenching for colleagues and film industry stakeholders.

”Their deaths, which occurred within the week has left  Nigeria’s movie industry in a state of mourning.

”Stakeholders have been pained by the frequent recent losses robbing the country of legendary filmmakers,  who have impacted and contributed greatly to the growth of Nigeria’s film industry.

“Their footprints within the development of the Nigerian film industry will not be forgotten,” he said.

Speaking about the late Gidado, the NFC boss said she caught the fancy and interest of Nigerians, particularly as a lead character in several of Kannywood films,  such as ‘Linzami Da Wuta’ and ‘Gidauniya’.

”She was a Zuma Film Festival(ZUFF)  2023 Life Time Achievers Awardee but sadly succumbed to death in the early hours of Tuesday, April 9.

“Odonwodo’s role in showcasing the professional competencies and screen delivery by actors is remarkable,  as can be found in ‘Honey Money’, ‘Blood Affair’ and ‘Wrong Initiation’ movies in which the late actor acted.

 “While Mr Ibu delivered that evoked laughter and comic relief,  leaving behind a gap to be filled, the refined gentlemen shall be greatly missed,” he added.

Nuhu pledged that the NFC would continue to support the film industry policy initiatives that promoted friendly and safe working conditions,  including medical, health and life insurance schemes for stakeholders.

Nuhu also sympathised with the immediate families, friends and associates of the deceased, as well as the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and prayed that Almighty God grant them rest.

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5  Die In Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Accident



19 die, 26 injured in Kano auto crash — FRSC

Five persons were confirmed dead in an accident at NASFAT turning on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Wednesday.

Ten others sustained injuries in the accident.

Mrs Florence Okpe, the spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ogun, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abeokuta.

Okpe noted that the incident occurred at 9:56a.m and it involved a Daf truck marked KUT 561 ZZ, a Toyota Hiace bus marked GGE 84 YF, and a Man diesel truck without a registration number.

She said that the likely cause of the accident was dangerous driving on the part of one of the trucks.

”A total of 15 persons were involved, which comprised 11 men and four women.

” Ten were injured (six men and four women) while five persons were killed from the multiple crash,” she said.

The FRSC spokesperson said that the injured victims were taken to Famobis Hospital, Mowe, while the deceased were deposited at Idera Hospital morgue, Sagamu.

The Sector Commander, Anthony Uga, cautioned motorists on speed and reckless driving, advising them to drive defensively for safety. 

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Customs Suspends Noble Intention To Sell Rice At Rock-bottom Price



Nigeria Customs Service’s noble intention to sell impounded rice to the masses at the rock-bottom price of N10,000 per half-bag has been suspended.

It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on the directive of Mr. President, announced the commencement of a noble intervention aimed at alleviating the hardships faced by Nigerians and improving access to essential food items through direct disposal of seized edible goods condemned in competent courts of law and certified fit for consumption by relevant government agencies. 

Consequently, according to the Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, a pilot exercise was conducted on Friday, 23 February 2024, at NCS Old Zonal Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos state. 

Stated Maiwada: “The exercise was conducted following meticulous planning to address all potential risks that may emerge during the exercise. As part of our process and control measures, we had Nigeria Police and military personnel to ensure crowd control. We also fully equipped a medical team on the ground in anticipation of potential risks during an exercise of that magnitude. Their presence was part of our proactive approach to ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants.

“The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise. This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5000 beneficiaries and members of the press. 


“However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome. The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded”, the Service Spokesman stated, stressing that the Nigeria Customs Service extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families during this challenging time, and we assure them of our unwavering support. 

“We are working with Hospital Authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps. Following this incident, an internal investigation was initiated to understand the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event. 

“As a service deeply committed to the welfare and safety of Nigerians, we recognize the need for heightened sensitivity and preventive measures in all our operations. 

“Considering the recent unfortunate event, we regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, 23 February 2024. 

“This should help us to properly articulate more robust and comprehensive action that will not defeat the noble intention. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians as we work towards addressing the challenges facing our nation’s food security”, the Imgemaker said further. 

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