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That which Surgeon General gets mistaken about African Americans and Covid19-Bakari Sellers



Americans African Covid 19

That which Surgeon General gets mistaken about African Americans and Covid19-Bakari Sellers

Bakari Sellers is a former Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives and a CNN commentator. He is the author of the forthcoming book “My Vanishing Country.” The views expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN)“When America catches cold, black folks catch pneumonia.”

In his words, he said Growing up in Denmark, South Carolina, my father, Cleveland Sellers Jr., would regularly repeat this notion to offer much-needed perspective in different policy discussions throughout the years. Continually, my father’s evergreen sentiments have proven to be correct.

The destructive impact brought on by the COVID-19 is being felt in every corner of America. Each day, our lives and livelihoods hang in the balance as millions of Americans file for unemployment and friends and loved ones die by the hour.

Based on my father’s logic, we should not be at all surprised that in some cities, the overwhelming majority of those who are losing their lives are African American. In ChicagoMilwaukee and New Orleans, African Americans represent 70-80% of the coronavirus deaths. And in St. Louis, according to the Associated Press, African Americans comprise all but three of the coronavirus deaths, as of Monday.

What Covid-19 is showing us about the South

It is impossible to overlook the obvious racial disparities that have made surviving the coronavirus so difficult for African Americans. Asthma, according to federal data analyzed by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, kills African Americans three times more than any other race and increases the risk of complications.

We also cannot ignore the black families who are forced to breathe pollutants from nearby brownfields, oil refineries and freeways and what that can do to the respiratory system, particularly when this new virus can attack your respiratory tract.

We cannot disregard the lack of preventative care and communities of color tucked within food deserts — with little to no access to nutritious options — and with lack of health care access, ultimately adding to frightening rates of high blood pressure and diabetes.

The racial disparities that persist in America are clear and comprehensible, but leaders like Dr. Jerome Michael Adams fail to see the picture.

As surgeon general, Adams is the lead spokesperson on public health matters for the United States government. Yet, last week Adams urged African Americans to stop drinking, smoking or doing drugs to protect those who are most vulnerable.

Adams’ remarks not only perpetuate harmful narratives about black communities, but he blames African Americans for getting sick. When asked about his remarks, Adams said that his remarks were not meant to be offensive and that the guidelines are meant for all communities.

The story of this pandemic cannot be told by simply looking at the numbers. For example, national news outlets have drawn attention to Alabama for some of the highest coronavirus-related death rates and hospitalizations in the country, with African Americans comprising 35.7% of confirmed cases and 53.2% of deaths, despite only representing 27% of state’s population.

But we must also consider the story behind these figures.

Let’s discuss the numerous rural hospital closures in the state, lack of preventative care and distrust of health care in  general stemming from the Tuskegee experiments that commenced over four decades ago.

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Moreover, I imagine it would be emotionally difficult for any African American who had to endure the dark legacy of Tuskegee to take advice from health professionals that don’t look like them, especially on an unknown virus like COVID-19.

At a time like this, our leaders cannot afford to ignore racial disparities that have led to the crisis we have today. Now that we have data on the impact of coronavirus, we must focus recovery efforts on the distressed communities that need our assistance the most.

We must applaud the efforts of governors like Gretchen Whitmer, Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo for taking the necessary steps to save lives in their respective states and state legislators like Nick Mosby, who is leading the charge in Maryland to release more COVID-19 case data based on race and ZIP code.

As we continue to tackle the public health impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the efforts by way of the CARES Act — the federal government’s economic response to the current fiscal crisis — we must approach recovery efforts with a racial lens that takes into account the disparities that put us in this situation.

Failing to address the persisting racial disparities is not only perpetuating racism, but also a surefire way for history to repeat itself years from now.


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FOU Zone ‘B’ Customs Arrests Fake Customs Officer for Impersonation



Author: Cynthia Ikebudu

In a significant breakthrough, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘B’ has apprehended a notorious individual for impersonating a Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) officer as part of a broader crackdown on fraudulent activities within the agency.

Abubakar Ibrahim, a 28-year-old male, was arrested on 29 April 2024 at the Next Level hotel in Sokoto State, where he was found wearing an NCS uniform.

According to the Unit Public Relations Officer, Isah Sulaiman, the arrest followed a diligent investigation and collaboration between FOU ‘B’ operatives and the Nigerian Police Force, Sokoto State Command.

Sulaiman confirmed that Ibrahim had been impersonating and defrauding unsuspecting citizens under the guise of representing the NCS. “The suspect was promptly handed over to the Customs Police Unit, Sokoto/Zamfara Command, for further investigation and subsequent legal action”, he stated.

Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu, the Comptroller of the Unit, expressed appreciation to the Sokoto State Command of the Nigerian Police for their cooperation and swift response in facilitating the arrest of the impersonator. Comptroller Shuaibu reiterated the commitment of his unit to combat such fraudulent activities within the service.

In light of this incident, Comptroller Shuaibu issued a cautionary advisory to the public, urging them to be vigilant against social media accounts soliciting money for recruitment or auctions purportedly on behalf of the NCS. He emphasised that the NCS does not engage in such practices and reaffirmed its determination to prosecute individuals involved in such deceitful acts.

To enhance transparency and credibility, Comptroller Shuaibu advised the public to follow only verified NCS social media accounts, such as “Nigeria Customs Service’ on Facebook, ‘@CustomsNG’ on Twitter, and other authenticated platforms, including a newly established WhatsApp Channel”. He emphasised

Additionally, members of the public were encouraged to seek clarification on any NCS-related matters by visiting the nearest Public Relations Unit of any Customs Command.

The arrest of Abubakar Ibrahim underscores FOU ‘B’ ongoing efforts to safeguard the integrity of the Nigeria Customs Service and maintain public trust in its operations. Ibrahim is expected to face legal consequences as part of the unit’s rigorous enforcement against impersonators and fraudulent activities targeting the NCS.

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Customs Corner

Customs Graduates 300 Cadets from Training College Ikeja



… as 335 Recruits Pass Out From Kano Training College

Author: Lucy Nyambi.

300 Cadets from the Nigeria Customs Training College Ikeja
have passed out after a three months intensive program.

The Passing out Parade which took place on Thursday 22nd June 2023 at the training college, Ikeja had in attendance DCG Saidu Galadima as Special Guest of Honor and reviewing officer.

Commandant of CTC Ikeja Lagos

Also present at Passing Out were Customs Area Controllers in Zone ‘A’, Senior Officers from sister agencies; the 9th Brigade of the Nigerian Army, officers from the Nigerian Navy, the officers from Nigeria Immigration Service, the Director of State Security Service, Economic and Financial Crime Commission, the Nigerian Police Force and prominent traditional rulers.

While addressing the young Officers, the Special Guest of Honor, DCG Galadima Saidu, admonished the Officers to always keep their integrity wherever they find themselves.

DCG Saidu Galadima, Special Guest of Honor and reviewing officer

In his words, “The service is going through transformation. Based on your areas of specialization, so much is expected of you, and the key is that you must enhance your level of integrity to excel in this service”.

Graduands of CTC Ikeja Lagos

The Commandant of the Training College, Deputy Comptroller Haniel Hadison expressed appreciation to the entire management of the Nigeria Customs Service for the support and the provision of enabling conducive academic environment. He also thanked officers of sister agencies for their immense support in lectures and capacity building.

DC Hadison noted that the aspiration of the management has remained to build a well-trained, efficient, and very effective system to serve as a reference point for generations to come.

“The training of our Cadets has been in line with the objectives of our management team for capacity building”. He said.

“It is befitting to specially note that in the course of the training, guest lecturers were invited from the Military, Para-Military and Law firms to deliver and share their vast wealth of experiences with the Cadets. This is to enable the Cadets to tap from the wealth of knowledge, equip them with moral and professional values and as well, prepare them physically and mentally, especially on inter-agency collaborations for successful service delivery” he emphasized.

The Passing Out Parade also witnessed the presentation of Awards of Excellence and rewards for outstanding performance to some of the young officers and key staff who worked so hard to make the course a success.

Similarly, the Passing out Parade ceremony of 335 recruits at Customs Training College, Kano, was graced by DCG Muhammad Abba Kura in Charge of Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, along with other high-ranking officials and dignitaries from Nigeria Customs Service and various sister agencies.

The Passing Out Parade commenced with the arrival of the DCG, who was received with a guard of honour.

The parade showcased the newly trained recruits’ discipline, precision and physical prowess, demonstrating their skills in drills, weapon handling, physical fitness, and blind stripping of arms.

Speaking at the event, DCG Mohammed Abba-Kura acknowledged the recruits’ hard work, dedication and sacrifices made during their training period while also urging them to be good ambassadors of the service.

DCG Mohammed Abba-Kura in company of CTC Kano commandant, Comptroller Rasheed Adahunse and other senior Officers.

“As you go out to the field to work, you are an ambassador and a representative of the service, so please, be of good behaviour and character” he advised.

The Commandant of the Training College, Comptroller Rasheed Adahunse, noted that the recruits have distinguished themselves in training and academic excellence.

“Today, we are witnessing the passing out of Support Staff, who have distinguished themselves in training, academics and character,” he said.

“Most of these graduands have displayed excellent skill and they were able to acquire this within 3 months, I believe that when they are leaving this college, they will be able to excel wherever they find themselves” he added.

Fifteen outstanding recruits were recognized and honoured with Awards for their exceptional performance in various categories.

The Passing Out Parade for Basic Course 1 2023 was a resounding success, signifying the culmination of rigorous training and the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the young Officers.

The remaining cadets and recruits enlisted under the general duty category at both training colleges will continue with their basic training to complete the six months requirement before their graduation as proper Customs Officers and Men.

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Customs Foils Smugglers’ Attempt, Recovers Illicit Items Worth Over N71m in Kebbi



Customs Foils Smugglers' Attempt, Recovers Illicit Items Worth Over N71m in Kebbi

By Muhammad Bashir

Operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service in Kebbi Area Command, have successfully thwarted the subversive plan of smugglers and recovered items worth ₦71,287,056 between 15th April and 15th May 2023.

The Customs Area Controller in charge of Kebbi Command, Comptroller Ben Oramalugo, disclosed Birnin-Kebbi, during an interactive session with newsmen on Friday.

According to CC Oramalugo, the prompt response by the men and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service in the Command was possible, after receiving an intelligence report from individuals.

“On Sunday, 14th May 2023, following an intelligence report on prohibited items about to be smuggled out of the country through Bunza down to Maje Axis, we detailed our officers to increase surveillance along the routes.” CC Oramalugo said.

He highlighted how officers in charge of the anti-smuggling unit succeeded in recording 17 seizures through stop-and-search, and intercepted a truck laden with donkey skins and meat along Bunza-Kamba Axis.

It was learned that the Comptroller was also dismayed by the unfortunate attack on some officers, who were conveying the seized items to the Command for further investigation, by some unscrupulous elements from the Village of Bunza.

He reiterated that the perpetrators will soon be identified and made to face the wrath of the law.

“These bad elements broke the windscreen of two patrol vehicles belonging to the Command, forcing our officers to retreat. We later called for reinforcement from the Army. Before the arrival of the Army, the mob managed to whisk away the truck to the surrounding bushes.” He said.

“The Command officers and the Army waited patiently until late hours before they continued with their operation. The truck and its content were eventually found at about 01:00Hrs at different locations and had since been brought to the Command’s Headquarters for further investigation.” He added.

Recall that the Federal Government has empowered the Service to confiscate goods about to be exported in contravention of any law such as illegal trade of endangered species such as donkeys, and pangolin, among others.

According to him, the items seized during the period under review were: 1 Volvo Truck fully loaded with 212 big-sized sacks and 202 small-sized sacks of donkey meat/skins, 4 used vehicles comprising 2 Toyota Camry 2013, 2 used Honda Jazz 2005 and 55 bales of second-hand clothes.

Others were; 4,925 litres of petroleum, 13 bags of foreign parboiled rice and 5 kegs of vegetable oil, 1 blue Volvo truck and 1 toyota corolla ash as means of conveyance, among others.

“The Duty Paid Value of the seized items is ₦71,287,056. All these successes have been achieved through constant vigilance and intelligence gathering by the officers and men of the Command.” He said.

Speaking further, the Comptroller also said that the Command has not been left behind, as it recorded a giant stride in the area of revenue generation.

Comptroller Mustapha Hashim Takes Over Leadership of Customs Kaduna Command From Ag. ACG Yakubu Salihu

“The Command has steadily continued to record a boost in one of our core mandates of revenue generation. In April we were able to generate a sum of ₦127,364,100.” He said.

“This is as a result of the efforts we put in place through routine stakeholders engagement and application of advice received from community leaders and indigenous retired and serving security personnel DCGs with whom we are in contact and who help us with useful advice as we pay homage to them.” CC Oramalugo added.

Comptroller Mustapha Hashim Takes Over Leadership of Customs Kaduna Command From Ag. ACG Yakubu Salihu

He appreciated the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) CFR and the entire Management Team of the Service for their usual support towards uplifting the values of the NCS.

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