NCS Laments Threatening Border Crimes
As border crimes persist in the nations boundaries, the Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) says emerging border crimes were threatening Customs operations.
The Comptroller stated this while briefing newsmen in his office to mark the end of a Three-day Global Conference on Fragile Borders, organised by the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
The WCO was established in 1952 as the Customs Co-Operation Council (CCC), specifically as an independent, intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.
Ali said although the primary function of Customs was to generate revenue and facilitate trade, heightened insecurity around the borders had made it imperative to be adequately equipped to work effectively.
Ali, who is the Vice Chairman of the West and Central Africa (WCA) region of WCO, thanked the Organisation for giving Nigeria the opportunity to host the conference, describing it as an honour.
Noting that the dangerous trends around the borders were increasing by the day, he said: “We are inundated by this fragile border issue in the gulf of Guinea and other neighbouring countries.
“Unfortunately, Customs is a hard hit because of the quest to rid our borders of smugglers and other border criminals”, Ali said.
He stated further that “smugglers, for instance, have become very deadly and some of our gallant officers have lost their lives in the process of trying to stop their nefarious activities.
“We have also lost properties over time and this is because these smugglers use dangerous weapons to try to deter our officers from carrying out their responsibilities.
“So, it will be foolhardy to confront such a dangerous group of people without being adequately equipped”.
Hammed Ali said the development had become dire in some border areas adding that Customs was forced to suspend operations in those places they had been declared “fragile”.
“This is a critical matter that requires needed attention and this is because if there is no security, there will be no movement of goods and services and that will affect revenue generation.
“There is a need, therefore, for total overhaul of the service in some countries because Customs officers do not carry arms in those countries.
“That ought to change now that there is so much insecurity around us.
“One of the ways we are working to ensure that Customs stays ahead of these criminals is the e-Customs platform”, he said.
Also Speaking, Secretary-General, WCO, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, said there was a need for relevant stakeholders to collaborate for better performance.
Mikuriya said WCO is a 184-member worldwide organisation in which Nigeria plays an active role, was concerned about the spate of insecurity.
He said the time had come for Customs to go beyond mere revenue generation to paying attention to security matters, adding that “without security at the borders we cannot effectively collect revenue”.
He also said there was a need for data sharing, research and development, intelligence gathering and deployment of technology in the whole exercise.
The Secretary said WCO was working out an action plan to help tackle the issue of insecurity, particularly as it affects Customs.
Today, the WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.
As the global centre of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organisation with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community”.
The Theme of the conference was, “Enabling Customs in Fragile and Conflict Affected Situations”.
MOWCA Seeks Korean Govt Support To Establish Regional Shipping Line
Secretary General of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Mr. Paul Adalikwu, has sought the support of the Korean government towards establishing a regional shipping line to serve the interest of West and Central African countries.
Adalikwu, who made this request in Abidjan during a visit to the Korean Embassy in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, also highlighted the long standing working relationship between MOWCA and the Korean government through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
A statement made available to The Tide in Lagos stated that the MOWCA Scribe told Lee Jinmoon, First Secretary and Consul, Republic of South Korea Embassy in Abidjan, that a regional shipping line will be of collective benefits to the 25 member countries and partner institutions like KOICA.
He said such initiative can serve expansion of maritime business opportunities and create employment for the thousands of skilled youths who have undergone training within and outside the continent
He highlighted the importance of South Korea as a maritime powerhouse that emphasizes sharing its experience with developing countries and international organisations like MOWCA.
In addition to the shipping line, Adalikwu said MOWCA is looking at developing capacity in areas of dry docking- ship repairs and maintenance and local manufacturing of ancillary equipment and working gears like life jackets.
Adalikwu disclosed that under his watch measures have been taken to engage with international partners and Agencies to develop cooperation, particularly with International Maritime Organisation (IMO), African Development Bank (AfDB), and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He reiterated MOWCA’s drive to promote cost-effective maritime transport services, maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, ensuring the training of maritime personnel, sustainable funding of the shipping industry, and facilitating transit of cargoes to landlocked member countries.
He reiterated that MOWCA is committed to actualise the completion of its ongoing projects, such as the Coast Guard Function Network, improving the Centre for Information and Communication, and the Regional Maritime Development Bank.
While seeking support of the Korean government, the SG recalled that between 2005 and 2008, MOWCA received support from KOICA in the form of training of experts, donation of vehicles, computers/servers as contained in the report of its 13th Session of the General Assembly held in Dakar from 29th to 30th July 2008
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Britain Trains 35 NDLEA Officers On Maritime Patrol
In a bid to improve Nigeria’s Maritime sector operations and encourage marine investment, the British government has embarked on training 35 officers of National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Marine Command and Seaports Operations
Organised by the United Kingdom Home Office International Operations (HOIO), the training, which lasted for two weeks, was anchored on Maritime Patrol and Tactical Coxswain training by the UK Central Maritime, Training Unit based in Southampton.
This was contained in a statement by NDLEA Spokesman, Femi Babafemi at the weekend.
“The training is to enhance the border control capabilities of the NDLEA by providing specialised training, mentoring and advanced drug detection equipment.
“Key areas covered so far include: boat handling, weapons handling, riverine operations, boarding and vessel search.
“Some of the trainings have been facilitated by the British Military, Nigerian Navy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP)”, he said.
Babafemi continued that the training will enable them to plan maritime deployments, pursue, stop and board vessels on the high seas.
The Agency Spokesman thanked the UK government for its continued support and commitment in helping the NDLEA to enhance its capacity and capabilities to tackle drug trafficking
He urged the officers to remain steadfast in their professional calling and ensure they bring to bear the essence of the training on their formations and colleagues.
Babafemi assured them that NDLEA will continue to prioritise training and retraining for all officers, men and women of the Agency
Earlier, HOIO Regional Manager for West Africa, Kris Hawksfield, said the UK remains committed to strengthening the mutually beneficial work of the Agency to interdict, seize and destroy illicit substances and drugs which would otherwise harm Nigeria and the UK.
Hawksfield also said he was proud and honoured to work and support the work of NDLEA.
By: Chinedu Wosu
FG Approves N510m Fire Service Equipment For Rivers Port, Others
The Federal government through the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N510,934,600 for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for construction and supply of customised fire service search and rescue vans for Rivers Ports, Lagos Port Complex, Tin-Can Island Port, and the NPA headquarters in Lagos.
Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, disclosed this while briefing journalists after the FEC meeting chaired by Mr President in Abuja.
“The Federal Ministry of Transportation this afternoon (midweek) presented two memoranda to council on behalf of two of its agencies.
“The first agency was the Nigerian Ports Authority, which sought to provide for the award of a contract for the construction and supply of customised fire service search and rescue vans for extrication of accident victims for Rivers Ports in Port Harcourt, Lagos Port Complex, Tin-Can Island Port, and the Marina headquarters, all in Lagos.
“Council considered the memorandum and approved the award of the contract as recommended and reviewed by the Bureau of Public Procurement and the sum of N510,934,600 inclusive of seven and a half per cent VAT, and with a completion period of nine months in favour of Messrs All Works Commercial Company Limited”, he said.
Sambo noted that the second memorandum presented by the ministry was on behalf of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
“The memorandum sought the council’s consideration and approval for the award of contract for the procurement of rolling stock, operation or maintenance equipment for the Kano-Maradi standard gauge rail line that is currently under construction.
“The contract was awarded to MSSRs Mota Engineering Nigeria Limited, who are the contractors handling this particular project in the sum of $984,722,302.5 inclusive of seven and a half per cent VAT with a completion period of four years”, he said.
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