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Customs Seize N300m Worth Of Contraband

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The Eastern Marine Command of the Customs Service has seized second- hand clothings valued at over N300 million naira from smugglers. Our Correspondent reports that the contraband goods are now secured at the Customs warehouse in Calabar.  Addressing newsmen at the Calabar port, the Comptroller of Customs, Eastern Marine Command, Abdulkarim Husseni, said that seizure was made as a result of intelligent report that two locally-made boats carrying contraband goods were sighted at Ibaka Creek along Oron in Akwa Ibom state.  According to him, “immediately I mobilized my team to swoop the area on October 30, 2009, which resulted to the impoundment of the two boats loaded with second hand clothing which is contraband in Nigeria.”

He said that the two ceased boats with the goods inside were brought to Calabar port for safe keeping in the Customs warehouse.

The Comptroller however regretted that the occupants of the two boats on sighting his men dived into the way and escaped inside the creeks.  While commending the Comptroller-General of Customs for providing facilities which had aided his team, he said, “we are going to make sure that smugglers will never have their way again.”  He regretted that the activities of the militants was contributory to the inability of his men to function effectively, but declared, “now that the President has granted them amnesty, we are prepared to track them down at all cost.”  Alhaji Abdulkarim advised the smugglers to look for another business as Custom officers will no longer allow them to thrive in the smuggling activities.

According to him, ”now that we have enough boats and other facilities to work, we are prepared and committed to do our job more than before.”  Also speaking, the Comptroller, Federal Operations Zone  C, Mr. Kane E. Dede, said the achievement was recorded because of the support from the Comptroller-General of Customs.

The encouragement we have gotten from the Comptroller-General since his assumption of office cannot be measured, hence these successes, he said.

He described the seizure as the biggest in recent times due to the activities of the militants which had affected their operations, adding that, “but today,  now that the water ways are safe for us to operate, we are ready for smugglers.”

Mr. Kane announced that another seizure has been made in Benin which is an indication that the officers and men of the Custom services are alive to their responsibilities.

On what will become of the goods ceased, he said, the Federal Government will decide after judgment would been passed against the items in the law court.

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Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.

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RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku

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The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.

John Bibor

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Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”

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