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Friendlies: Super Eagles Ready for Big Games

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Friendlies: Super Eagles ready for big games

The camp of the Super Eagles at the Hotel die Zeit an der Glan in Austria is brimming with excitement following the arrival of all invited players, and stout confidence that the the mixture of old boys and new acts are capable of turning back African champions Algeria and the continent’s second-ranked team Tunisia in two friendlies between Friday and Tuesday.

Heartwarming news came on Monday evening when former Germany U20 captain Kevin Akpoguma, who arrived camp only to bond with Nigeria’s international train ahead of his switch to fatherland, was cleared by FIFA’s single judge to dorn the green-white-green henceforth. His clearance solidifies a dependable backline of Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun, Chidozie Awaziem, William Ekong, Olaoluwa Aina, Jamilu Collins, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi and first-time invitee Zaidu Sanusi.

Algeria, who have a second game against Mexico in The Netherlands on Tuesday, come into Friday’s game not only as the champions of Africa, but also on the back of an 18-match unbeaten run. They have not lost on the pitch since they were bumped by the odd goal in an AFCON 2019 qualifier away in Benin Republic in October 2018.

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Two years earlier, they were bounced 3-1 by the Super Eagles in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Uyo. Both teams ended the return leg in Constantine 1-1, though the Eagles had already picked the only World Cup ticket from the group ahead of that final encounter.

Tunisia, who play the Super Eagles on Tuesday at the same venue, will host Sudan’s Falcons at the Stade Olympique in Rades on Friday at the same time the Eagles are taking to the pitch against the Fennecs in Austria.

Djamel Belmadi, the former Algerian international who coached his country to a second continental title in Egypt last year, has included standout names Riyad Mahrez, Yassine Brahimi, Sofiane Feghouli and Baghdad Bounedjah in his 24-man squad to confront the three-time African champions.

Coach Gernot Rohr also has in his team Captain Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze and Kenneth Omeruo, but he has to do without electrifying forward Victor Osimhen and midfield lynchpin Wilfred Ndidi. New birds Frank Onyeka and Chidera Ejuke, and former U17 captain Samson Tijani have the opportunity to impress.

Friday’s game, like Tuesday’s, will kick off at 8.30pm Austria time (7.30pm)

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Customs Corner

Oyo/Osun Customs Area Command Records Over Six Billion Naira in May 2024

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Oyo/Osun Customs Area Command Records Over Six Billion Naira in May 2024.

Oyo/Osun Customs Area Command Records Over Six Billion Naira in May 2024.

…Makes Seizures with Duty Paid Value of ₦129,854,100.00

By Vivian Daniel

In a demonstration of resilience, the Oyo/Osun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, on 13 June 2024, at the operational headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State, announced significant milestones in revenue generation and anti-smuggling activities.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Command, Comptroller Ben Oramalugo, during a press briefing, stated that the Command generated ₦6,335,842,600 for May 2024.

According to the CAC, cumulatively, when added to the revenue generated from January to April 2024, the sum of ₦30,664,247,939.15 has been generated from January to May 2024. This represents a 5.2% increase compared to the ₦29,154,853,722.73 generated during the same period in 2023.

He noted that in its anti-smuggling operations, the Command witnessed numerous successful operations from April to June 2024, resulting in the seizure of several contraband items with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) worth ₦129,854,100.00. These items include 504 wraps of Cannabis Sativa weighing 391.9 kg valued at ₦15,814,600.00, 600 bags (50 kg each) of foreign parboiled rice (1 trailer load) valued at ₦50,280,000.00, 274 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) of 25 litres each (6,850 litres in total) valued at ₦5,521,500.00, 123 pieces of used tyres valued at ₦15,648,000.00, one used Mercedes-Benz truck valued at ₦30,000,000.00, and one used Nissan caravan valued at ₦12,590,000.00.

Furthermore, he informed the public that, in line with the policy thrust of the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Adewale Adeniyi and the spirit of interagency collaboration, the Command had received approval to hand over the 546 wraps and 33 sacks of Cannabis Sativa confiscated to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Oyo State Command. He also stated that the Command plans to auction seized PMS due to its flammability.

Comptroller Oramalugo reiterated his stance against the worsening illegitimate trade activities plaguing the nation, appreciating the officers and men of the Oyo/Osun Area Command for their unwavering support, efforts, and proactiveness in hunting down perpetrators. He acknowledged their valuable contributions to the command’s success.

“In tandem with our revenue generation efforts, the Oyo/Osun Area Command has maintained a robust stance against smuggling activities within our jurisdiction. Despite the economic hardships that often exacerbate smuggling tendencies, the officers have remained vigilant and proactive in intercepting illicit goods and apprehending perpetrators,” he said. He also commended the officers for their commitment to duty and professionalism.

He highlighted the awareness campaigns the Command has been conducting for its stakeholders, which have yielded significant results, and the introduction of advanced technology solutions in its operations.

“Our efforts to educate various stakeholders within the Command’s Area of Responsibility (AoR) on the importance of adhering to customs regulations have paid off. We have seen a significant reduction in under-declarations, contributing to the overall increase in revenue. The introduction of advanced technology solutions, such as the Nigeria Customs Service Modernisation Project, has streamlined our processes and enhanced transparency, further boosting our revenue collection capabilities,” he said.

The CAC expressed profound gratitude to the CGC Bashir Adeniyi and his management team for their continuous support, ensuring the core mandates of the service are achieved within Oyo and Osun States.

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Customs Corner

Customs Wildlife Unit Engages Stakeholders on Import/Export Regulations

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Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Special Wildlife Unit has engaged stakeholders on the need to understand Government policies on wildlife.

The meeting, which was held at the Customs Training College in Lagos on Friday, 07 June 2024, had in attendance freight forwarders within the Murtala Mohammed Airport Environs.

Declaring the event open, the Commandant of the Training College, DC Haniel Hadison, stated that the meeting aligns with the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi’s directive to ensure that the NCS continues to collaborate with relevant stakeholders.

“This is in line with the Comptroller-General of Customs’s clarion call for collaboration and synergy, “we have stakeholders coming from the airport to the wildlife unit domiciled here at the Customs Training College to deliberate on the way forward. It’s a continuous exercise; this is just the beginning, but it’s a work in progress, “the commandant stated.

The National Coordinator of the Special Wildlife Unit, AC Abimbola Isafiade, highlighted the importance of the meeting, saying, “The freight forwarders have some misconceptions about the activities of the customs; a lot of them think we’re trying to stop their businesses from flowing, and so they wanted to know why there has been a lot of restrictions and their consignments being put on hold”.

“So we have been able to explain to them that some laws have to be complied with before any export or import of wildlife product will be carried out, what the procedures are, as it relates to the shipment, the legal trade in wildlife product and where it is illegal trade, how and why we will not allow it”, Isafiade explained.

She noted that help desk officers have been assigned to their business locations to help make enquiries and lodge their complaints, which will be addressed at the national stakeholders forum, where customs will participate.

The National Coordinator appreciated the CGC and his management team for supporting and encouraging the Special Wildlife Unit of the service.

Stakeholders commended the service for working tirelessly to ensure that things are correctly done and regulations followed.

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Customs Corner

Customs plans to Set-up Technical Working Group to Ease Healthcare Cross-Border Movement

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Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service is set to establish a technical working group to implement the Memorandum of Understanding of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and World Health Organization (WHO) on clearance of medical goods.

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, made this known at a Round-table dialogue on the healthcare sector on Friday, 14 June 2024, at the Customs Training College, Ikeja, Lagos.

The CGC acknowledged the importance of the healthcare sector in Nigeria, especially its role in ensuring national security.

He said, “We are here at the instance of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN) to discuss mutual concerns, issues that have bothered the HFN regarding the problems that they encounter in the clearance of medical equipment, particularly life-saving equipment”.

“One of the things we have said is that we need to implement the WCO and WHO’s Memorandum of Understanding on clearance of medical goods, which will involve creating special corridors for those goods; we are not strangers to that. We already have schemes targeted at such sectors”, the CGC explained.

CGC Adeniyi highlighted some of the agreements reached at the meeting, saying, “We will take the first step towards establishing the technical working group, and virtually all the members of the proposed working group are here, so they are already aware”.

“Some of these are things that we can deliver almost immediately if we are talking about processes and procedures, yes, we can deliver those almost immediately, but if we are talking about changing codes and classification, it requires a wider level of consultations, a more robust engagement with the Ministry of Finance and other agencies that are involved”, he emphasised.

The CGC explained that the technical working group will comprise Customs, HFN and other critical stakeholders like the Ministry of Finance, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, office of the National Security Adviser and other stakeholders.

He restated President Bola Tinubu’s vision and passion for ensuring the delivery of a sound healthcare system to Nigerians, “we have a listening ear in government, and we will articulate this position, and hopefully by the next quarter, we could be having some of these delivered”.

The President of HFN, Dr Pamela Ajayi, expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the meeting. She appreciated the service for its quick response to issues affecting the healthcare sector.

“It shows that customs has a listening ear, the willingness to cooperate, to collaborate, to listen to the pains that we have as a healthcare sector”, she said, and the engagement of CGC in terms of quickly setting up this technical working group to work with us, to provide the solution that we need, we are indeed happy. We are grateful to the Customs Service for this”, she concluded.

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