The Nigeria customs service, Tin can Island command has intercepted and seized army camouflage uniforms suspected to have been brought into the port illegally.
The camouflage uniforms, according to comptroller of the Tin can Island command, Nuhu Isa Mammud came into the port from the United States of America, on march 20, 2012, in a 40ft container, initially declared as carrying cars but upon joint examination by the customs and other Agencies in the boot of the three cars were discovered to have 10 pieces of Nigerian Army colour camouflage uniforms (shirts), 6 trousers, 10 pairs of slippers (army colour), 7 army face caps and 10 pairs of shoes.
Speaking with journalists, Nuhu posited that the role of customs goes beyond revenue collection which is very important, but extends to securing the Nigerian borders and by extension, the Nation.
According to him, because of the security implications, you have to have security clearance from the NSA to bring this kind of import
Apart from the security implication, the uniforms, he siad, were seized due largely to the manner in which they were brought in, adding that if there were appropriate documentation on the consignment, it couldn’t have been seized.
The owners of the consignment we learned, have claimed ownership of the said uniforms but have not given any genuine reasons why they included these in their import. Preliminary investigations, he said, would be carried out before the case will be handed over to the appropriate quarters for further investigations.
On his first two months in office at the Tin Can Island Command, Compt. Nuhu said the collection of revenue has increased from N15bn in January to over N19bn in February and its expected to hit N22bn target in March.
According to him, the first quarter of every year is always the most difficult one because of expectations from the budget. Importers, he said, tend to slow down in anticipation and this affects the customs revenue drive.
On anti smuggling activities, the command, he said, is blocking all identified loopholes assuring that those caught engaging in similar nefarious activities will be punished.
From February to March a wide range of consignments ranging from furniture, new fridges, electronics, shoes, ladies bags and vehicles which were declared with false documentations were seized and are still under detention according to the command’s boss.
Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Five Abducted MWUN Members, Three Others Regain Freedom
The five kidnapped members of the Nigeria Maritime Workers Union, (MWUN) in Rivers State have regained their freedom from their captors.
The five maritime workers were released along with three other passengers that were kidnapped along Kula-Abonema waterway in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, last Monday.
.Their release was secured on Saturday evening sequel to the intervention of the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, and other stakeholders.
Jamoh broke the news of their unconditional release in a statement to newsmen on Saturday night.
The NIMASA boss, shortly after the release of the abducted five, informed the President-General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, at about 8:15 pm through a telephone conversation.
The abductees, Jamoh said, were all in good physical condition, saying the MWUN President General would provide a detailed report on the incidents surrounding the abduction early last week.
Jamoh did not, however, disclose if any ransom was paid to the abductors before securing their release.
The Tide recalls that the eight victims, including five MWUN members, were whisked away by gunmen suspected to be sea robbers while travelling from Kula in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State to Port Harcourt for a meeting.
The hoodlums were said to have demanded for N10 million ransom to free their victims.
But the MWUN leadership in Rivers State vowed not to pay any ransom to the abductors of its five staff, and instead demanded for their unconditional release.
The union chairman, Comrade Jonah Jumbo, had given a 30-day ultimatum to the kidnappers to free its members, failure of which, the union would shut down all maritime operations in the state.
“In one month, if they are not released, we will shut down all maritime operations in the state”, he had threatened.
By: Chinedu Wosu
IMO Vows To Stop Piracy In GoG
A global agency, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has vowed to stop the menace of piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
The organisation noted that the continuous activities of piracy and armed robbery along the Gulf of Guinea were capable of crippling international shipping in the region.
According to IMO, piracy and other criminal activities along GoG damage the world economy and trade.
The Secretary-General of IMO, Kitack Lim, who stated this during the inaugural meeting of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum and Shared Awareness and De-confliction conference (GoG-MCF/SHADE, said, he was encouraged by the establishment of the forum.
“This situation has continued for several years and these illegal acts must be stopped. Now is the time to make real progress”, he said
Lim said IMO would continue to support training and other capacity-building activities for Gulf of Guinea states as well as assist cooperative regional efforts under the framework of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.
The Yaounde Code of Conduct is an agreement signed by countries in the region that commit to working to repress piracy and armed robbery against shipping activities.
The secretary insisted that the security situation in the GoG remains at the top of the organisation.
He said that the GoG-MCF/SHADE was aimed at facilitating shared awareness and de-conflicting activities in the region by linking all relevant stakeholders to advanced and coordinated maritime security activities.
Lim acknowledged the positive strides in the area of inter-agency cooperation and response on a regional and international level, especially the anti-piracy legislation passed by Ghana, recent convictions of pirates in Togo, and Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project.
“At the request of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, IMO continues to work with the ICC Yaoundé, including supporting a series of regional expert level online meetings aiming to assess the implementation and sustainability of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and to provide recommendations to the three organisations”, he said.
Seafarers Lament Effects Of Covid-19
The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) says the impact of Coronavirus pandemic, also known as Covid-19, in the country is negatively affecting the welfare of seafarers in the sector.
The union noted that the pandemic had created huge unemployment and forced investors to abandon the maritime sector.
The newly elected treasurer of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in Rivers State, Comrade Jonah Jumbo, disclosed this during an interview with The Tide.
Comrade Jonah regretted that the pandemic had crippled maritime activities globally, saying most ship owners and management have abandoned shipping activities, thereby affecting the welfare of seafarers.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic had created unemployment amongst crew members in the sector as ship owners refused to engage certified seafarers on board vessels.
According to him, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many investors in the marine sector to abandon their business as most sea vessels were stranded on the sea for months without discharging their cargoes.
“The impact of the pandemic is hitting harder on the welfare of the seafarers and their families.
“Investors in the marine sectors are no longer coming into the country to invest due to the global pandemic”, he said.
Jonah whose maritime activities span through eight states including Lagos, Kogi, Ondo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta, called for prayers to salvage the maritime sector.
By: Chinedu Wosu
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