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LG Boss Wants Navy To Tackle Piracy On Bonny Waterways

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The Chairman of Bonny Local Government Area, David Irimagha has appealed to the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies in the area to step up the fight against sea piracy and other acts of criminality on the Bonny waterways.
Irimagha gave this charge at a one-day sensitisation lecture organised by the Nigerian Navy in the locality with the theme “Illegal Oil Refining (“Kpo-Fire”): Issues, Challenges and Way Forward”.
In a statement made available to The Tide on Wednesday by the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Chairman, Williams Ogbah-Agwu, the chairman called for inter-agency collaboration and intelligence sharing among the security agencies in the area to enhance their capacity to nip emerging security challenges in the bud.
The Chairman who was represented by his Vice, Anengi Barasua lauded the Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Bonny, Navy Capt. Kola Oguntuga, for conceptualising such sensitisation programme, noting that it creates the necessary awareness and co-operation from the people of the area.
Also speaking, Chairman of the Bonny Council of Chiefs, Chief Dagogo Claude-Wilcox described the event as “a very important day for Bonny Kingdom as this marks the beginning of a new dawn for the community”.
He said that the sensitisation programme was “of monumental importance as it would enlighten us on the hazards of illegal oil refining,”
“This devil in our community called ‘kpo fire’ will be eradicated for the betterment of us all”.
Earlier, Navy Capt. Oguntuga while   welcoming  the participants had said that the sensitisation programme was aimed at creating the right awareness about issues affecting the security situation in the area.
He said the event was to enhance the synergy between the Nigerian Navy and the civilian populace in the area in its efforts at addressing security challenges.
In his keynote address, Professor of Animal and Environmental Biology/Benthic Ecology, University of Port Harcourt, Professor Ibitoru Hart warned that illegal or artisanal refining of crude oil across the Niger Delta region was destructive to the environment as it poses a threat to aquatic and wild life in the region.
He blamed the debilitating incidents of soot across Rivers State on illegal refining.
“Soot that falls on water is oil that prevents oxygen from dissolving into the water thus endangering the fishes and other animals in the water, including plants and other sea organisms”, he said.

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Marina Tasks Port Officers On Maritime Corruption Check

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Renowned marina in Nigeria’s maritime sector, Capt Sunday Umoren, has called on port officers to strengthen their capacity to combat corruption in the sector.
Umoren, who doubles as Secretary General of the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for the West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU), noted that substandard ships pose threats to human life, the marine environment, and the livelihoods of people.
He made this call during a training on Ethics and Integrity Leadership for port state control officers from 22 countries in West and Central Africa in Lagos.
The training was organised by the Abuja MoU in collaboration with the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN)
According to him, addressing corruption starts with understanding the Abuja MoU’s key mandate to eliminate substandard ships.
Recognising the crucial role of PSCOs, the Abuja MoU collaborated with MACN for this training, marking the first such collaboration with a regional MoU or flag state.
Umoren noted that unethical and corrupt practices exacerbate risks to maritime facilities and cargo, undermining the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) initiative for “safer seas and cleaner oceans”.
He categorised corrupt practices into three, saying it include accepting bribes, offering bribes, and failing to report known corruption.
Umoren  highlighted IMO’s Code of Ethics, which sets the standards for ethical conduct among its staff.
The marina suggested that similar standards should be applied by Port State Control Officers (PSCOs).
“The phrase ‘no more favourable treatment’, which has been severally debated in some of the meetings of the IMO, may also hold good in the context of ethics and integrity.
“This is because gratuitous offers are usually aimed at favourable and skewed treatment”, he stated.
He noted the need for PSCOs to maintain an attitude of innocence and purity in line with the Code of Good Conduct for PSCOs
Also Speaking, Associate Director for Global Operations and Industry Engagement at MACN, Vivek Menon, underscored the importance of implementing training to improve transparency and efficiency in port operations.
He noted that corruption not only affects societies, but  impacts trade volumes entering West and Central Africa.
Earlier, the Chairman of Abuja MoU, Mr Ebrimo Sillah, called for collaboration and transparency to enhance the technical standards of shipping operations.

He emphasised the importance of understanding port operation mechanisms and maintaining maximum integrity.

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‘Maritime Corruption Gulps $182.3 Per Shipment In Nigeria’

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A report by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) has disclosed that corruption adds about 15percent to the cost of importing food and bulk products into Nigeria.
The report details the results of a study developed by socio-economic impact assessment firm, QBIS, which applies a dollar value to direct and indirect costs of maritime corruption across the private sector, government, and society in Nigeria.
The MACN report says government officials extracting bribes for routine tasks, or ‘coercive’ corruption, causes economic damage through ship delays and higher trade costs,
The report said the act endangers the wellbeing of seafarers, exposing them and others to the risk of criminal prosecution.
The study revealed that corruption adds $147,000 per import shipment of grain and more than $187,000 per shipment of petrol and food, accounting for around a third of Nigeria’s imports.
“With 63percent of Nigerians or 133m people classified as multidimensionally poor, most Nigerian families do not have a budget surplus.
“Increased import costs due to corruption are therefore likely to reduce their household demand and make essential goods less affordable to the average Nigerian family.
“The  business-as-usual scenario adds 1-2percent to retail prices for grain and petrol.
“Maritime corruption results in an annual reduction in GDP of $204m, an annual reduction in revenue collected by Customs of $42m, and 235,000 fewer Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs due to less sales and economic activity”, the report said.
A zero-tolerance approach to bribery during vessel clearance cuts the damages caused by corruption by around 62%, the study found.
By slashing around $114,000 per shipment in corruption costs, the bill for marine corruption falls by around $100m per year, and its economic impact drops by $230m.
“By ‘Saying No’ to maritime corruption, GDP increases by about $130m annually, Customs revenue from tariffs increases by $28m annually, and more than 147,000 FTE jobs are created due to more sales and economic activity across the supply chain in Nigeria”, it stated further.
MACN said the combined efforts of industry and government have reduced corruption in Nigeria.
According to MACN, over 90percent of corruption incidents are now resolved within 24 hours, whereas a single case took between seven and 10 days before 2019. The average resolution time is now one to eight hours.
“Impressively, 98percent of escalated incidents have been successfully resolved, and the remaining 2% have been escalated to authorities to clarify protocols”, MACN concluded.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Customs Rakes In N4.49trn In One Year

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it generated N4.49trillion in one year.
Comptroller-General, NCS, Adewale Adeniyi, disclosed this to newsmen recently while presenting his scorecard of one year in office.
He said NCS’s revenue increased by 74 per cent to N4.49trillion between June 2023 and May 2024, when compared to what the service collected during the same period in the previous year.
“Exactly one year ago, today, and approximately three weeks into the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu, I was appointed by Mr President as the Comptroller-General of this strategic agency, the NCS”, he recalled.
Outlining some of the key milestones recorded by the service under its core statutory responsibilities, Adeniyi said, “The NCS reported a remarkable 74 percent growth in revenue collection over the past year, recording a total revenue collection of N 4.49trillion between June 2023 and May 2024, compared to the N2.58trillion collected during the corresponding period of the previous year”.
This feat, according to him, was “underpinned by a sustained increase of 70.13 per cent in average monthly revenue collection compared to the previous year. NCS recorded an average monthly revenue collection of N343billion, compared to the N202billion monthly average.
“Notably, there was a substantial 122.35 per cent rise in revenue collection during the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year. These gains were attributed to various strategic initiatives”.
Adeniyi said the initiatives include the N15billion recovery by the Revenue Review Performance Recovery Exercise; N2.79billion recovered from the 90-day window for the regularisation of the documents of uncustomed vehicles and the N1.5billion recovered from the decongestion of 1,705 overtime containers and 981 vehicles from the port.
“Initially handling 317 Single Goods Declarations in transactions, the terminal now manages 7,464 SGDs, accounting for 19.49 per cent of the total 38,294 export transactions recorded in 2023.

“By the first quarter of 2024, the service has processed a total of 10,786 transactions, with 3,162 (29.32 per cent) of these processed through the dedicated export terminal”, Adeniyi stated.

Speaking on the protection of society, he said the agency’s anti-smuggling efforts in the past year were intensified, resulting in significant interceptions, high-value seizures, and numerous arrests.

“Notably, the service recorded 63 seizures related to animal and wildlife products valued at ¦ 566m. Additionally, seven seizures of arms and ammunition were made through our ports and borders.

“In terms of illicit drugs, a combined total of 127 cases involving narcotics and pharmaceutical products were seized, valued at over ¦ 6bn.

The service also recorded 724 seizures of 2.93 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) that were attempted to be smuggled out of the country.

The illegal dealings in petroleum evacuation have garnered the interest of relevant stakeholders, and the ongoing Operation Whirlwind will continue to intercept and disrupt the activities of smugglers in this regard.

“In a bid to guarantee food security and suppress the smuggling of food in and out of the country, the service recorded 1,744 cases of rice and grain seizures valued at ¦ 4.4bn. These concerted efforts underscore the NCS’s commitment to protecting society and ensuring national security”, Adeniyi stated.

On exchange rate issues, he said, “With the support of the Minister of Finance, NCS is working in close collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN to achieve a stable rate for import of goods to enable businesses to plan their activities.

“On compliance with Customs laws, the Service is constantly reviewing its processes in line with the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2024 to ensure that leakages are blocked and offenders of Customs laws are made to face the full penalty and the wrath of the law.

“On Customs modernisation, the NCS is engaging relevant stakeholders to ensure that the deliverable of the customs modernisations are met as the service continues to phase out manual processes with automation”.

As regards trade agreements, Adeniyi said the Service is working closely with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the implementation of trade agreements like the African Continental Free Trade Area yields the desired benefits to Nigerians.

“Moreover, the Service has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with strategic trade partners like China Customs and recently is working with the Benin Customs to facilitate the creation of a new joint border post along the Segbana-Tsamia border with the Republic of Benin at Kebbi”, he stated.

On National security, he said the Nigeria Customs Service would continue to work with relevant national and international agencies to share intelligence and develop structured frameworks to ensure that those seeking to disrupt the peace and stability of the nation do not go unpunished.

He also said the service would continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the business of food hoarders is unprofitable to tackle food inflation.

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