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Navy Nabs Six Rice Smugglers In A’Ibom

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The Nigerian Navy Command has arrested six suspected rice smugglers in Akwa Ibom State.
The  Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) also impounded 1,439 bags of smuggled rice between December 2019 and January 2020.
This was made known by the Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base, in  Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Peter Yilme, in a statement last Wednesday.
Yilme said the suspects and the items impounded had been handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service in Mbo Local Government Area of the State.
The commanding officer, however, said some of the suspects escaped on sighting the Navy gunboats.
He said the command would remain steadfast in fighting illegalities on the waterways in line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ibas.
Yilme said the arrests were made along the Unyenge, Effiat, and Mendoro creeks between December 2019 and January by Navy officers and men on routine patrol in their gunboats.
“I handed over 1,439 bags of rice and six suspects to the Superintendent of Customs, Garuba Hassan, in line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff.
“We are committed to rid the waterways of all forms of illegalities.
“I commend the untiring efforts of the officers and ratings in ensuring the mandate and tasks of the Base are achieved.
“I also appreciate the immense efforts of the Chief of Naval Staff, for providing the necessary platform and logistics support for the Base to carry out its operations,” Yilme said.
Confessing to the crime, a suspect from Bayelsa, Wede John, said that he usually transported fish and was carrying rice for the first time when he was arrested.
“I don’t know the owner of the rice and didn’t know that rice was loaded into the boat. This is my first time of carrying rice.
“I usually transport crayfish and dry fish to Oron Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom. I was carrying rice from Bakassi to Unyenge when I was arrested,” he said.
Also speaking, a suspect and boat driver, Awagoyi Philip,  said the owner of the rice promised to pay him N20,000 for carrying the rice but that he was yet to collect the money.
“I drive boats and I was paid to drive the boat that carried the rice. This is my first time. The owner of the rice promised to pay me N 20,000 and is aware that I have been arrested”, he said.

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PTOL Wants  NPA To Repair Port Access Roads

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The Ports Terminal Operators of Nigeria Limited (PTOL) has called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex, to repair access roads leading to the port to enhance easy flow of traffics.
The operators said the bad condition of the roads had negative impacts on its operations and internally generated revenues.
Company Secretary, PTOL, Chroma Okwuanyi, stated this during a facility  tour of the terminal by the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation led by Hon. Victor Kolade Akinjo with officials of Rivers Port Complex, Port Harcourt.
Okwuanyi said that due to bad access roads, heavy trucks cannot access the terminals and the complex.
He appealed to the House Committee and the Management of NPA, Rivers Port Complex, to reconstruct the access roads to enhance its operations and safety.
Okwuanyi lamented that truck drivers accessing the terminals find it difficult to do business in the complex due to bad access roads. 
“Many investors and truck owners doing business in the Port had relocated to other ports due to the bad roads as it hugely affects the trucks”.
“We are appealing to the House Committee and NPA management to assist the operators reconstruct the access roads to standard so as to enable us carry out our operations”, he said. 
He also appealed to NPA management to  provide modern navigational aids to enable the operators carry out their operations effectively.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Nigeria Partners Denmark On Fight Against Piracy In GOG

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The Federal Government has expressed its willingness and readiness to collaborate with the Danish government to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Foreign Minister of Denmark, Jeppe Kofod, made this known at the ongoing 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States. 
Onyeama said the renewed effort by both governments took place during a bilateral meeting between him and   Minister of Denmark.
He said apart from the Gulf of Guinea, Denmark has been very supportive in the area of humanitarian assistance in the North-East regarding the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The Foreign Affairs Minister described the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Denmark as a win-win situation, even as he said Nigeria was looking for more investment into the country.
He said that Nigeria is trying to diversify and attract more investment. 
Collaborating on the renewed efforts, Kofod said Denmark was strengthening its cooperation with all of the countries around the Gulf of Guinea and deploying resources to the Gulf of Guinea to fight piracy.
Kofod also said Denmark wanted to cooperate with all the countries around the Gulf of Guinea to fight the root cause of piracy.
He said Denmark was occupied with safe travel for its seafarers and its ships.
“As a maritime nation like Nigeria, we are very occupied with safe travel at sea for our seafarers, for our ships. So, that is why we are investing heavily in this”, he said.

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NCS To Deploy Drones At Borders To Check Smuggling

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), says it will soon deploy drones at the Seme border to check smuggling activities.
Coordinator of Customs, Zone A, Lagos, Assistant Comptroller I, General Modupe Aremu, disclosed this during a visit to the Seme Area command.
Aremu said border management surveillance would be done electronically through the use of drones to ensure that there is aerial overview of the border.
“Seme command visit is the end of my tour in zone A, and I must commend all the commands. They account for over 80 percent revenue collection by the NCS and so they should keep up the good work.
“With the tour of all commands, I have seen that all the officers are doing well but they can do better. And I am telling them that they should expect impromptu visits from the zonal coordinator. So, they should not relax on the job.
“E-customs N300 billion contract, that is, end-to-end automation that is about to kick-off, is about information and communication technology connectivity. When it comes on board, we are going to have electronic signature, drones patrolling the border”, Aremu said.
She said the service was trying to minimise person-to-person contact to reduce human interaction and make the work faster and more efficient.
Aremu urged officers to keep abreast of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol in order to understand procedures.
On enforcement activities, she urged the command to keep up the work done as the country needs the service to properly secure its borders.
Aremu expressed hope that the scanner at the border would start functioning to help simplify processes as much as possible.
She also urged the command to ensure proper compilation of case files and prosecution of arrested suspects to show the seriousness of the service in fighting smuggling.
Also speaking, Customs Area Controller, Seme Area Command, Bello Jibo, said enforcement activities were not affected by the border closure as the command intercepted 1,244 suspected smuggled goods with duty paid value of over N856 million.
“The command has a very good understanding with the host community and in cementing this relationship. The command built and handed over a modern toilet facility to the Badagry West Development Area and partnered with an NGO to equip the Badagry United Football Club.
“The challenges faced has to do with ICT interconnectivity at the joint border patrol, signing of bilateral agreement, connection of the barracks to the national grid, and inadequate junior staff,” he said.

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