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Bayelsa State Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo has donated the sum of N1 million for the upkeep of separated conjoined twins, Grace and Mercy Ayebaiyeni who returned home during the weekend after a successful surgery.

Ewhrudjakpo, while receiving them at the state’s airport yesterday, said it was his contribution to their upkeep pending a reception by Governor Douye Diri.

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Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre (FMC)at Yenagoa Dr Dennis Alagoa said the four-hour surgery was performed at FMC at Yola in Adamawa.

He noted that paediatric surgeons and health experts from both centres collaborated to achieve the feat, while the Nigerian Air Force provided logistics for travel.

Meanwhile, Mother of the twins, Mrs Ayebaekipreye Ebinyefa, said the successful separation of the conjoined twins has saved her from being ridiculed and tagged  a witch by her people in Nembe area of Bayelsa State.

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Customs Corner

FOU ‘C’ Customs Intercepts Goods Worth Over 722 Million in Seven Weeks



Author: Gift Wada.

Comptroller Michael Ugbagu of the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ Owerri, on Tuesday, 11 June 2024, said the unit had intercepted items with a Duty Paid Value of N722,947,200.0 within seven weeks of his assumption of duty.

He stated this at the maiden press briefing
held at Owerri, the headquarters of Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘C’ while highlighting the recent strides made by the Unit in its anti-smuggling operations.

Compt. Ugbagu, who resumed on 19 April 2024, highlighted the critical objectives set forth by the Customs management: the blockage of revenue leakages, trade facilitation, and the intensification of anti-smuggling operations across seaports, land borders, and airports within the South/South-South/East zone. These directives, he noted, have already yielded substantial results.

“In just seven weeks, we have intercepted various contrabands with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N722,947,200.00,” Ugbagu stated.

He also reported the recovery of N22,131,274.00 from Demand Notices issued due to identified infractions, bringing the cumulative total to N745,078,474.00 for the period under review.

The seizures included a diverse array of contraband goods: 21 cartons of unregistered medicaments such as Rohypnol Flunitrazepam, 325 jumbo bales of second-hand clothing, 49 parcels of cannabis sativa, 42 used pneumatic tyres, and 13 logs of unprocessed wood.

He said the items were intercepted at various points. Ugbagu attributed these successful operations to credible intelligence and diligent surveillance by his team. He also stated that seven suspects were apprehended in connection with these seizures.

Ugbagu underscored the Nigeria Customs Service’s commitment to enforcing laws governing the importation and exportation of goods, directly contributing to Nigeria’s economy, security, and overall well-being.

Addressing the public, Comptroller Ugbagu called for cooperation with Customs officers, especially during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations. He urged citizens to comply with searches and treat field officers with respect, assuring that officers would perform their duties professionally and humanely.

Ugbagu commended the leadership of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, and the entire management team for their support and recognition of hard work and dedication within the service. He also commended his colleagues in the Customs Intelligence Unit and Customs Police for their resilience and prompt intelligence sharing.

He urged the media and the public to support the fight against smuggling, stressing that collective effort is crucial to overcoming this challenge.

He also issued a stern warning to economic saboteurs planning to exploit the festive period for illegal activities, promising that new tactical strategies are in place to thwart such attempts.

“The fight against smuggling can only be won if all hands are on deck,” Ugbagu stated.

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Customs Corner

Customs Boss Meets With Nigeria Olympic Committee President, Pledges Collaboration



Author: Ruth Akata.

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adeniyi, had on Monday, 27 May 2024, received in audience the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) led by Habu Gumel at the service’s Headquarters in Abuja.

According to Gumel, the meeting with the CGC aimed at portraying opportunities and scholarships for young athletes to showcase their skills and talents.

The CGC, while addressing the delegation from the Nigeria Olympic Committee, recognises the importance and worth of the committee and its role in promoting the Olympic spirit both nationally and internationally. He further acknowledged their contributions to fostering a collaborative and supportive sports community.

Customs Boss emphasised Nigeria Customs Service as an organisation that takes sports very seriously because of the values it instils, particularly self-discipline, saying, “Sports can serve as a powerful tool for promoting discipline and teamwork, essential qualities for success in any organisation, especially in the paramilitary”.

He added that fitness is paramount, not only in sports but also in paramilitary organisations like the NCS. “Being physically fit enhances performance, resilience, and overall health, which are all crucial for carrying out duties effectively. It is not difficult for service members to identify as members of the sports fraternity in different forms”.

“As a responsive organisation, we believe that sports management is about talent management, identifying talents, nurturing them, giving them the right exposure because they do not only represent and win but also bring values to the community that produces them”, he added.

Speaking earlier, the NOC President, Habu Gumel, expressed his gratitude, counted it a great privilege to be part of the delegation and applauded the NCS’s commitment to supporting and collaborating with the international Olympic community to ensure that talents are identified in Nigeria, qualified persons are being prepared, trained and pushed on the global grounds.

The NOC boss said, “The National Olympic Committee for Nigeria is responsible for coordinating and supporting Nigerian competitors in the Olympic Games. It is also the body responsible for Nigeria’s representation at the Commonwealth Games.”

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Customs Corner

COWA National President Celebrates Children’s Day



Urges Parents to Protect Kids from Dangers of Social Media

Author: Muhammad Bashir.

The National President of the Customs Officers’ Wives Association (COWA) and wife of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Mrs Kikelomo Adewale Adeniyi, on Monday, 27 May 2024, in Abuja hosted over 200 children to a party to mark the 2024 Children’s Day celebration.

Speaking to newsmen at the Corporate Headquarters of COWA in Abuja, Mrs Adeniyi revealed that the occasion was aimed at setting a lifetime agenda that will guide the children in the future, adding, “As mothers, it is our duty to nurture our children and pray for them to succeed in life.”

She said, “You can see, it is a beautiful day; it’s the Children’s Day, and COWA is organising this event to celebrate the day with the children because they are special to us – and we are concerned about their future.

The COWA National President, who expressed confidence in the ability of Nigerian children to excel and become good ambassadors of Nigeria in the future, urged them to heed what their parents and teachers teach them and to avoid using social media platforms negatively.

Speaking about this year’s theme: “Protecting the Nigerian Child from the Dangers of Online Technology”, Mrs Adeniyi said, “At COWA, we believe that it is our responsibility to speak to the minds of our children to protect them and educate them to understand the dangers of online stuff.”

The National President also urged parents and guardians to be extra vigilant about their children’s activities at home and to watch how they operate online technological gadgets “because there are so many people on social media; thus, we all must be watchful towards what our children are doing.” She added.

Mrs Adeniyi, who emphasised the significance of raising children with the awareness that they represent their families and the larger community, said, “In my opinion, children who are within the age of 8–16 must not be allowed to use social media platforms.”

She also used the occasion to urge the Children to be obedient to their parents and remain disciplined, adding that “Discipline is the key to achieving greatness in life and that COWA will continue to support them.”

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