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Joint Task Force (JTF), Shell Deny Coercing Bayelsa Community on Spill Report

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Joint Task Force

The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta and oil major, Shell on Monday denied allegations of coercing the leadership of Aghoro 1 community in Bayelsa to sign a disputed report on oil spillage.

A disagreement in the areas impacted by an oil leak on the Trans Ramos Pipeline within Shell’s oilfield at Aghoro communities in Bayelsa has stalled the release of a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report of the oil spill.

Community leaders, who participated in the JIV to determine the cause of the spill reportedly refused to sign the report.

The refusal was attributed to wide disparity between the impacted areas claimed by Shell and the community.

Mr Victor Akamu, Chairman of the Community Development Committee of Aghoro 1, had alleged that Shell connived with the Joint Task Force, JTF to force and intimidation, to compel the community to sign the report.

Joint Task Force

Shell

Akamu told reporters on Monday in Yenagoa that Joint Task Force JTF summoned the community’s leadership to Yenagoa on Aug. 23 to force them to sign the JIV report but that the leaders refused to sign.

He said the team from Aghoro were labelled pipeline vandals and were profiled into the database of the Joint Task Force JTF.

We were taken to a room where detailed profiles of all of us were taken, including our finger prints, biometric details and our photographs.

We were temporarily held down for almost three hours profiling before we were eventually told to go.

I wanted to ask if it is part of JTF’s job to force a community to sign a JIV report.

Shell should stop using JTF to intimidate our community. For the past 20 years, there is no history of pipeline vandalism.

This leak was due to a ruptured pipeline, due to corrosion yet they call us vandals, it is unacceptable, Akamu said.

However, reacting to the allegation of intimidation, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations Manager of Shell, denied use of force to compel the company’s host communities to sign the JIV report.

Yes, there are issues with the JIV report. The representative of Aghoro 1 community did not agree with a portion of the JIV report but we have not used force.

SPDC does not coerce parties to sign JIV reports, Odugbesan said.

Similarly, the Commander of the JTF, Rear Adm. Apochi Suleiman, dismissed the allegations of intimidation made by Aghoro community.

He said that the military waded into the crisis to encourage both parties to adopt dialogue to resolve their differences to avert breach of peace.

We conduct our duties in compliance with our rules of engagement. We invited the parties to mediate and encourage them to dialogue and use the established channels of resolving conflicts.

I told them to resolve their differences on the negotiating table so that the operation is not disrupted. Our mandate is to safeguard oil facilities and we do not want the disagreement to degenerate further.

We got reports that some persons were disrupting ongoing repairs of the ruptured pipelines and that was why some people were profiled.

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I was emphatic that we cannot tolerate anyone taking the law into his hands, Suleiman said.

Investigations showed that the leak, which occurred on May 17 this year, discharged about 1,114 barrels of crude oil into the environment and polluted the Ramos River and farmlands.

The draft JIV report said the 1,114 barrels of crude impacted a total land area of 113.3 hectares in Aghoro 1 but the community claimed that the impacted area was 1825 hectares.

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Customs Corner

Customs Ogun II Area Command Generates N12.8 Billion in 6 Months

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Customs Ogun II Area Command Generates N12.8 Billion in 6 Months

By Abass Quadri

The Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun II Area Command, says it has generated the sum of N12,830,493,630.06 in the 1st half of the year, January to June 2024.

In a press briefing held at the Command on Friday, 5 July 2024, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) Comptroller Bisi Alade explained that the revenue generated represents a 51 percent increase when compared to N8,505,038,818.30 generated in the corresponding period last year.

According to him, “The attainment is evidence of the diligence, professionalism and commitment of our officers and men who worked tirelessly to ensure that we met and exceeded the revenue target given to our command.

“It is also indicative of our steadfast commitment to the growth of our national economy.” The CAC noted.

Speaking on the improved activities in the Free Trade Zone (FTZ), the CAC stated that N3,486,961,186.71, N2,801,833,739.40 and N3,663,776,499.07 were collected in April, May, and June respectively.

He assured of his commitment to ensuring continuous stakeholder engagement and adopting necessary measures to improve revenue collections while upholding the discharge of their statutory responsibilities of enforcing compliance with government fiscal policies.

Comptroller Alade noted that the continuous deployment of intelligence and surveillance by the Command’s monitoring unit has led to the discovery of some factories now under different registration stages for excise control.

“They include Sygen Pharmaceutical Limited, Sprout and Kingsberg Nigeria Limited, Adesouthern Nigeria Limited, Abraham & Sarah Beverages Nigeria Limited, Oyinloye Honey Double Crown, Oluyemi Akintan Nigeria Enterprises, Lorna Nigeria Limited, Makindez Multi-business Ventures, DSigo Herbal Remedy Limited, Broadway Food & Beverages Limited, Beezun Flavoured Drinks, and Nellyvan Global Limited (Bonded terminal),” the CAC stated.

He solicited the cooperation of various factories on timely payment of their appropriate Excise Duty, among other notable charges, adding that the Command remains faithful in its commitment to fulfilling its mandate under the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCS Act 2023).

The CAC appreciated the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) Adewale Adeniyi’s visionary leadership and enabling support, which has yielded spectacular results.

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Customs Corner

Customs CG Performs Groundbreaking Ceremony of 30-Bed Ultra-modern Reference Hospital in Bauchi

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Customs CG Performs Groundbreaking Ceremony of 30-Bed Ultra-modern Reference Hospital in Bauchi

By Folusho Adeogun and Abra Iruoghene

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, on Monday, 8 July 2024, performs a groundbreaking ceremony for a 30-bed ultra-modern reference hospital donated by Abdul Samad Rabiu (ASR) Initiative for Africa in Bauchi.

Speaking at the event, CGC Adewale Adeniyi expressed profound gratitude to the ASR Initiative for their generous contribution, emphasising the project’s significance in enhancing the welfare of customs officers and the local community. “We are happy to be a recipient of this great project. It will immensely help our officers and the entire community,” he stated.

Dr. Ubong Udoh, CEO of the ASR Initiative for Africa, extended his appreciation to CGC Adeniyi for honouring his commitment by attending the ceremony. He highlighted the enduring nature of the partnership between the ASR Initiative and the NCS, noting the limitless potential of their collaborative efforts. “I believe the potential of what we can achieve as partners is limitless,” Dr. Udoh remarked.

Hon. Tanko Dutse, representing the local community, thanked the CGC for supporting the NCS office in Bauchi. He acknowledged the office’s positive impact on security and other local issues. “The community and state at large appreciate the presence of the NCS. This hospital will allow our people who lack the means to access other medical facilities to receive necessary healthcare. We appeal for more of such Corporate Social Responsibilities,” he said.

Architect Muktar Aliyu, the project manager, assured attendees of the hospital’s potential to revolutionise healthcare services in the area. “This 30-bed ultra-modern hospital is a commitment to healthcare and the community’s future. Together, we can build a legacy of resilience and quality healthcare,” he stated.

The groundbreaking ceremony marks a significant milestone in the NCS’s efforts to enhance the welfare of its personnel and contribute to the community’s well-being, reflecting the strong partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service and the ASR Initiative for Africa.

In a separate engagement, the CGC addressed the officers and men serving in Zone D Headquarters, Bauchi/Gombe Area Command and Federal Operations Unit Zone D, “I am here to encourage you to do more by effectively discharging the statutory functions of NCS in this Zone. Make sure you utilise the opportunity at your disposal to improve yourselves intellectually in preparation for future challenges. “

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Agriculture

TMP Presents Equipments to CGC Adeniyi, Strengthens Collaboration

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Author: Abra Iruoghene.

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, received a customised generator and a bus on behalf of the Service from the Chairman of the Trade Modernization Project (TMP), Saleh Ahmadu, on 5 July 2024, at the Project Management Office domiciled at the
Nigeria Customs Service Management Quarters in Abuja.

CGC Adeniyi expressed appreciation to TMP for the equipment presented to the Service. He said, “On behalf of all officers and men, I appreciate this gesture that TMP has done for us through the presentation of the 250KVA generator and the 13-seater 2024 Toyota Hiace bus.”

Adeniyi disclosed that the Service is aware of TMP’s efforts in providing tools and equipment needed to drive the modernisation program. He said, “We know that computers alone will not work by themselves; they will not effect the desired modernisation that we need.”

He added, “It will require human input, and the working environment of these elements is very important as well as those tools. So, we therefore appreciate these efforts you put in place to help us enhance the working environment and also improve the welfare of these officers.”

Furthermore, he applauded the Trade Modernization Project for being a worthy and dependable partner in their modernisation drive. He noted that the equipment delivered would be put to good use to bring added value to NCS operations.

Additionally, Adeniyi encouraged the officers, from the rank of Assistant Comptroller and Deputy Comptroller, undergoing special training by the TMP in preparation for the management duties of the Service, to be attentive and acquire the necessary knowledge to discharge their responsibilities and take up the task ahead of them professionally.

Mr Saleh Ahmadu, the Chairman of the Trade Modernization Project (TMP), who handed over the equipment, said the bus was for the effective movement of personnel between the headquarters and the TMP office, while the generator was for constant power supply to the management quarters of the NCS. He acknowledged the CG for his continuous support and collaboration.

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