The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has intercepted various smuggled items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N10.67 billion in the first quarter of 2019.
The Controller of the unit, Comptroller Aliyu Mohammed, made this known in Lagos yesterday.
Mohammed said that the items were seized within a space of 90 days.
According to him, the smuggled items include 25 assorted vehicles with a DPV of N111.06 million.
“The command intercepted 16,117 bags of 50kg parboiled rice; 447 cartons of frozen poultry products; 594 vehicles; 42,412 kg of seven pallets of raw hide and skin as well as 2,471 cartons of alcoholic wine.
“The intercepted goods also include 710 cartons of Tramadol capsules; 510 cartons of various medications, including Chaka pain, Codeine and Rally Extra.
“Others are 111 bags of used clothing; three sacks of footwear; 210 kegs of 25 litres of vegetable oil; and 106 cartons of 5 litres vegetable oil,’’ he said.
The controller said that 16 suspects were arrested in connection with the total of 254 seizures recorded between January and March.
He advised intending car buyers to verify the authenticity of the import and clearance documents with the appropriate Customs Area Controllers (CACs) at various ports in the country, saying that buyers should avoid buying smuggled vehicles.
Mohammed however, commended the efforts of the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali and his management team for providing the unit with necessary incentives and logistics.
He also called on the public to join the service in the fight against smuggling, considering its economic consequences to the nation.
MWUN Berates NIMASA For Not Empowering Riverine Communities
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State branch has berated the leadership of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA for not empowering riverine communities in the State.
MWUN also accused the agency of not securing the creeks and waterways across the riverine communities in the state.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers State, Comrade Jonah Jumbo made the accusations during a telephone interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt. yesterday.
Jonah noted that NIMASA led by Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside has failed to train Rivers youths as a seafarers after many years in office.
He appealed to NIMASA to provide security for riverine communities to safeguard them from acts of piracy.
Comrade Jonah said communities like Bonny, Bille, Andoni, Kula and Bakana were terrorised by pirates without any effort by NIMASA to provide them security.
The union called on NIMASA to train youths as riverine communities on river marshals so as to secure the creeks and waterways across the state.
He also urged the agency to deploy gunboats and the Nigerian Navy to provide security in the affected riverine communities
“MWUN and other stakeholders want the agency to secure the waterways and train marshals to guide our creeks”
He lamented the rate at which fishermen, boat drivers and passengers were no longer safe along the waterways as pirates kidnapped them and carted away their property valued at millions of Naira.
The chairman insisted that inaugurating the marshals by NIMASA should be seen as a way of providing safety to the helpless rural communities.
Maritime Crimes: Two Warships Arrive Nigeria
Two special mission vessels to tackle maritime crimes have arrived the country, along with 10 fast interceptor boats.
The vessels, codenamed DB Lagos and DB Abuja, arrived the country on Tuesday and were received by officials of the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The world class vessels are equipped with sophisticated intelligence gathering capability for timely detection and response to illegal activities in the maritime domain.
This was contained in a statement by NIMASA’s Executive Director of Operations, Rotimi Fashakin.
Fashakin insisted that criminals in the country’s waterways up to the Gulf of Guinea would soon meet their waterloo with the arrival and installation of the warships.
He said aside the two vessels, 10 fast interceptor boats have also arrived the country and seven more are expected later in the year.
He noted that each of the interceptor boats has an engine capacity of 900HP and can do up to 55 knots.
“Today marks a new dawn for a more secure and stable maritime environment in Nigeria. This milestone in asset delivery inches us closer to full operational take-off of the deep blue project, hence it marks a huge victory for the Nigerian maritime sector in the fight against maritime insecurity”, he said.
He added that each of the vessels would be commanded by a Navy captain with full complement of naval personnel.
Also speaking, the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ete- Ibas said the officers that will man the vessels would be given adequate training.
“Piracy is an act inimical to the growth of the Nigerian maritime sector and we are prepared, more than ever before, to give it all it takes to end this nefarious act”, he said.
Mariner Wants FG To Revamp Abonnema Seaport
A mariner in the maritime industry, Comrade Harry Waite, has called on the Federal Government to revamp the abandoned Abonnema Seaport in Rivers State.
Waite who frowned at the neglect and abandonment of the port said Abonnema Seaport in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area was a functional port during the colonial era used by the British.
He spoke with The Tide in Port Harcourt during an interview on critical issues bordering on the nation’s seaports.
Comrade Waite who is the Trustee, Dockworkers branch of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN, Rivers State, said the revamping of the ports would enhance industrialisation in the region.
He said Abonnema Seaport was established to complement the maritime activities in the two ports in Rivers State and Warri Port in Delta State, but was allowed to die without reasons.
He regretted that the abandonment of the port has bred unemployment and restiveness in the area and called for its immediate resuscitation.
Comrade Waite wondered why the two existing ports in the state are not functioning optimally, even as Lagos ports are over congested with maritime activities.
He appealed to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other relevant agencies to fix Abonnema Seaport for immediate use so as to reduce unemployment in the region.
According to him, the Abonnema Seaport, if put to use, would drive maritime activities to full utilisation and attract investors to the region.
If the port is put into use again by the government, the state and the Niger Delta communities would be transformed into a maritime hub in Africa, he said.
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