Operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, zone “A” of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos has intercepted about 20 drums of carbide, a chemical substance used in manufacturing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Disclosing this to newsmen in Ikeja, Lagos, Acting Controller of the Unit, Deputy Comptroller Hussein Ejibunu, said the chemicals were hidden under a truck that was intercepted in Ijebu Ode area of Ogun State.
He said the unit also made seizures worth over N579.412 million in August 2022, and arrested a total of ten suspects in connection with some of the seizures.
On the seized 20 drums of carbide, he said: ”It is instructive to emphasise that such importation raises concerns of national security.
“This is because it is a chemical used in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and could cause danger to life and property.
“Allowing things like this chemical into the society uncontrollably could create serious security challenge for the country.
“Carbide is flammable, reactive and can cause explosion hazards when mixed with other chemicals and exposed to water or moisture.
“It forms flammable acetylene gas that could be used to endanger lives by lawless persons. This is aside other health hazards: the chemical on exposure can irritate the mouth, nose and throat if not properly handled; inhaling Calcium Carbide can irritate the lungs.
He disclosed that such importation requires approval of the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) where an End User Certificate (EUC) ought to have been issued to authorise such Importation.
He stated further that higher exposures may cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs and could lead to emergency medical situation.
“Its importation is, therefore, strictly controlled from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
“Other seizures made last month from smugglers and importers who falsely declared their consignments include 1 x 40ft containing flavour seasoning, falsely declared as auto spare parts; and 1 x 40ft containing auto interior accessories, falsely declared as filters/pneumatic transmission.
It also include, “1 X 40ft containing vegetable oil and foreign parboiled rice, falsely declared as used vehicles; 1 x 20ft containing 21 pallets of tiles, falsely declared as PVC floor tiles/floor bricks; 1 x 20ft containing Padi Bitters, falsely declared as olive nuts;1 x 20ft containing unprocessed wood, falsely declared as aluminum ingots; and 1 x 20ft containing bales of used clothes and shoes, with a used fake seal/Dangote Truck.
“Other seizures include 5,593 (50kg) bags of foreign parboiled rice, equivalent to 9 trailers truck load; 56,725 litres of premium motor spirit ; 375 bales of used clothes; 242 parcels of Indian Hemp; and 41 pieces of military camouflage bags”.
He concluded that in “efforts to prevent loss of government revenue to duty underpayments, undervaluation of imported items and wrong harmonised system (HS) code classification, we recovered a total N46.298 million”.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
MWUN Threatens To Down Tools Over Failed Quay Aprons
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Friday threatened to shutdown port operations over the dilapidated quay aprons at some of the nation’s seaports.
Speaking in Lagos during a joint press conference put together by the union and Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), President General, MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, reiterated that the lives of labour workers at the affected terminals was at risk, saying that “injury to one is tantamount to injury to all.”
Adeyanju lamented that the union cannot allow the situation consume some dockworkers before protesting against the trend, noting that as a responsible and proactive group, there was the need to down tools for government to do the needful.
Our correspondent gathered that two port terminal, at Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos, and another at Port Harcourt, Rivers Port Quay wells have been in dilapidated condition for over five years without any sign of repair works from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Recall that Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azu Sambo, who also inspected the dilapidated portion of the Tin Can Island Port quay apron recently, asked Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the engineers to forward the ‘as-built’ plan of the jetty, alongside other documents to his office for immediate action.
While reacting to questions from the journalists, Adeyanju said the union will also engage management of the NPA in furtherance to address the menacing failed infrastructure of the terminals.
On the recently inked Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NARTO, the President General noted that the collaboration has been in existence for a long while with the aims to cater for drivers’ welfare and support projects of the NPA in port terminals operations.
He also warned members of the dockworkers branch to cooperate and embrace the agreement with the trucking association, noting that any attempt by the dockers to flout the MoU reached so far would result to sanctions from the national executive of MWUN.
He assured the leadership of NARTO, led by its National President, Alhaji Yusuf Othman, of the Union’s commitment towards ensuring that progress and success is achieved in the agreement.
According to him, the MoU is binding for members of the dockworkers branch, stressing that the Lagos ports was a test run with plans ahead to extend the agreement to other seaports, including, Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt ports.
Earlier, President of NARTO, Alhaji Othman, lauded the MoU reached with MWUN, adding that success will be achieved in the merger. Othman said in line with port operations, the merger will bring about free flow of vehicular movement in and out of the ports calling on the parties involved to embrace sincerity and transparency for the benefit of the industry and Nigeria.
He said, “We wish to draw the attention of the general public to the decision for MWUN and NARTO to synergise and collaborate on a basis of common desire to ensure seamless environment to do business in the maritime sub sector of the nation’s economy”.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
PenCom Approves Use Of Pensions For Mortgage
National Pension Commission (PenCom), has commenced approval for workers to use 25 per cent of their Retirement Savings Accounts for mortgage.
PenCom in a press statement released on Friday, titled ‘PenCom approves guidelines on accessing Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders’, noted that the approval was in line with the Pension Reform Act of 2014.
It stated in part, “PenCom is pleased to inform all stakeholders and the general public, particularly RSA holders, that the commission has approved the issuance and immediate implementation of the guidelines on accessing RSA balance towards payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.
“The approval is in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage”.
According to the PenCom, the guidelines cover pension contributors in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.
It added that the maximum amount to be withdrawn is 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as of the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.
It further stated that where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, that RSA holders may utilize the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).
To qualify as a mortgage lender for the purpose, it stated, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate.
“The RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years).
“A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application, and the RSA Holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.
“Married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.
“RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.
“Application for equity contribution for residential mortgage shall be in person and not by proxy.” it stated.
By: Corlins Walter
Car Hires Operators, Bolt Driver Flex Muscles In PH Airport
There was pandemonium at the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, Friday, as the Accredited Car Hires operators clashed with a Bolt taxi operator over passengers.
The scenario that played out got to the extent that everyone scampered for safety, as the Bolt driver went wild with his vehicle, and defied everything put in place to stop him, determined to crush anything, including humans, that stool on his way.
Problem started when the suspected Bolt driver was stopped by the Car Hires. After a heated argument, characterized by abuses, the bolt driver decided to enter his vehicle in anger, after he sensed that his car was in danger of being confiscated.
In the commotion that ensued, the car hires, as usual, used their iron piercing instruments to block the tyres of the vehicle to keep it within their custody, and the uproar attracted the attention of other airport users.
The Car hires and their allies at the airport had always insisted that no other taxi operator must carry passengers at the airport, since they do not pay any levy to the airport authority.
Consequently, they use every force necessary to stop other outside taxis from carrying passengers from the airport.
Friday’s incident took a new twist, as the Bolt driver over. Powered the forces used by the car hires, and went on a suicide mission, which made people to scamper for safety, including the car hires.
The driver went on a speed spree away from the airport. Even when the piercing instruments cut his tyre, he drove in such reckless manner capable of pulling down a building, thereby setting the entire environment on panic.
Some security agents present had to clear the way for the Bolt driver who drove out of the Airport with the iron piercing instrument obstructing his car, defiling all attempts to stop him.
By: Corlins Walter
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