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Customs Corner

Customs Engages Stakeholders on E-Manifest Hitches

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Author: Cynthia Idowu; Lagos.

The Nigeria Customs Service has engaged stakeholders on E – manifest transmission process and the need to protect its server from unauthorised access, attacks and abuse.

Addressing a cross-section of stakeholders representing shipping companies and airlines at the Apapa Customs Command, the Assistant Comptroller General Of Customs, ICT/ Modernisation, Saidu Galadima said, the engagement aimed at addressing the challenges faced in the transmission of the E-manifest, highlighting what is obtainable and what is expected of stakeholders.

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He further emphasised the need for implementing the three-level protocol, that will further consolidate security, and allow access only to authorised personnel carrying out legitimate businesses on behalf of their organisations.

“The breaches on the server are becoming very alarming, which put the integrity of the system at risk. Hence, the need for the management’s resolve to come together, brainstorm and agree on the way forward”, ACG explained.

Lanre Balogun, a representative of the Customs ICT partner from Webb Fontaine Group disclosed that the reason for the issues being faced is that a lot of the concerned companies failed to follow due process and implement the right security architecture as instructed from the onset.

Furthermore, failure to build a front-end page as expected and allow easy access to back-end credentials pose serious server security concerns hence the britches being experienced.

Lanre stated that “We have three security levels on the E-manifest application; a virtual private network (VPN) which is the network layer security, all shipping lines were provided for that, the second level is the server authentication credentials which shipping lines were also provided with and the last, the carrier code.”

He further stated that the idea was for the shipping lines and airlines to design a front-end application where their staff using the manifest will not have access to any of these back-end credentials. Giving every day front-end users the wrong access to our servers posed major threats to our system.

“The idea is to have a separate administration where server VPN and the carrier code are not exposed to any shipping line user because employees come and go, their profile can easily be deactivated from the front end and they don’t have access anymore. This is why all must follow the standard of implementation to avoid security breaches. An angry employee relieved from his duties can change the password and shut the company down” he added.

Reacting to his submission, some of the stakeholders complained about the use of one password for over a decade. They submitted that it is very risky to have a password for so long, as it is open to both internal and external risks which can crash the whole system.

Also, multi-factor authentication where one user on the company’s side is not the only custodian, but is granted access when two other people authorise was proposed.

In view of this, Webb Fontaine advised the companies to build their front-end application and improve in-house security to enable easy tracking of issues, noting that too many people having access to the VPN server will cause a lot of problems.

The Nigeria Customs Service notified the shipping companies and airlines of the deadline given for the building of their front-end infrastructure which elapsed on the 30th of September, 2022.

The Nigeria Customs Service said it has sent out circulars to all concerned companies as there will be checks and balances on the level of adherence and non-compliant companies will be sanctioned.

The resolution reached was to drive the process forward while Webb Fontaine was urged to go back to the drawing board to implement some of the concerns raised.

The meeting had in attendance, Malanta Yusuf The Apapa Customs Area Controller, PTML Comptroller Suleiman Bomai, CAC MMIA Command Sambo Dangaladima and a host of others.

The E- manifest Transmission is a platform developed by the Nigeria Customs Service to help Shipping lines, Airlines and strategic stakeholders with ease of business transactions.

Customs Corner

Customs Kickstarts 2-Day ICT/Modernization Retreat for Management Team

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Author: Muhammad Bashir.

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, marked Friday, 1 March 2024, as a pivotal moment for his administration, heralding an era of digital transformation within the Service.

Addressing attendees at the 2-day NCS 2024 ICT—Modernization Management Retreat in Abuja, CGC Bashir Adewale reiterated his commitment to leveraging technology to streamline customs operations. He emphasized the importance of engaging stakeholders to ensure the seamless execution of this ambitious project.

“In 2024, we cannot afford to remain entrenched in outdated practices. Stakeholders are demanding a Customs Service that embraces technology to enhance efficiency and transparency.” CGC Adeniyi remarked.

Encouraging his Management Team, particularly in ICT, to champion the digitalization efforts, he urged them to harness internal resources to expedite the implementation of the electronic cargo tracking system.

He, however, emphasized that “It is imperative that we modernize every facet of the Customs Enforcement Ecosystem. We must also integrate technology to fortify our operations.”

Welcoming the CGC to the retreat, the Chairman of Trade Modernization Project Limited, Alhaji Saleh Ahmadu, lauded the CGC’s resolve, highlighting the pivotal role of trade in national development. He underscored that the modernization initiative would revolutionize the NCS’s operations, fostering a conducive environment for trade across Nigeria and the African continent.

Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of ICT/Modernisation, ACG Kikelomo Adeola, commended the CGC’s unwavering commitment to the project. She highlighted its significance in reshaping, digitizing, and modernizing the Service’s activities.

“Welcome to this landmark retreat, where we embark on a journey to recalibrate and modernize the Service, aligning it with international standards.” ACG Adeola stated.

The NCS 2024 ICT-Modernization Management Retreat sets the stage for a transformative era in the Nigeria Customs Service, signaling its readiness to embrace technological advancements in pursuit of operational excellence.

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Customs Corner

Customs Oyo/Osun Command Intercepts Fake Drugs, Others, Worth Over N1.8B

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…As Comptroller Ben Expresses Dedication to Protect Well-being of Citizens

Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service, Oyo/Osun Area Command, has intercepted sacks of fake Pharmaceutical drugs worth over N1.8billion.

Customs Area Controller Comptroller Ben Oramalugo disclosed this to reporters during a press briefing at the Command headquarters on Thursday, February 29, 2024.

Comptroller Ben stated that the Commands anti-smuggling activities have been strategically positioned to ensure the Federal Government’s policy on border closure is totally enforced by preventing the importation of prohibited items harmful to the great citizens of Nigeria. He also expressed the effort to prevent the exportation of essential food resources for individual economic gains by some economic saboteurs.

“We have successfully intercepted and seized contraband goods, including items that pose threats to economic stability and lives of citizens in the country,” He added.

Highlights of the seizures include 53 sacks of fake Pharmaceutical drugs with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of ₦1,739,000,000.00, 1,309 pieces of used tyres with a DPV of ₦70,140,000.00.

Others are; 345 × 50kg bags of Foreign Parboiled Rice, 344 × 25 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 4 Wraps (4 Kilogram) of Indian Hemp, 45 Sacks, 8 Sacks (9 Bales) of Used Clothings and Shoes, 34 Cartons of Foreign Wine, and 40 Bottles (5 litres), 21 Bottles (1 litres) of Foreign Vegetable Oil, all with a Total DPV of N1,890,022,931.00.

The CAC stated that, despite the prevailing economic challenges, the Command demonstrated resilience and efficiency in revenue generation by collecting the sum of N5,664,295,751.15 in February 2024. When added to the sum of N6,824,954,338.96, already collected for January 2024, the cumulative sum of N12,489,250,090.11 was collected so far for the fiscal year of 2024.

Comptroller Ben reiterated that all Borders within the Commands Area of Responsibility are still closed due to the Federal Government policy on Border closure and as such, “Command Officers remain vigilant and dedicated to preventing the smuggling of items that could compromise the health and well-being of our citizens.”

He appreciated the efforts of all Traditional Rulers, Local Government Chairmen and Key Stakeholders in both Oyo and Osun States, who have continued to enlighten their people about the negative effect of smuggling on the economy.

The CAC expressed the Nigeria Customs Service’s unwavering commitment to transparency, accountability, and the nation’s overall well-being. “We are confident that, through collective efforts, we can overcome the challenges we face and contribute to a more secure and prosperous future for Nigeria.”

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Customs Corner

COWA Collaborates with Youths, Women to Combat Drug Abuse

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Author: Iruoghene Abra, Muhammad Bashir.

The National President of the Customs Officers’ Wives Association (COWA), Mrs. Kikelomo Adeniyi, has expressed readiness to partner with the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria as part of her plans to empower women through various ‘progressive’ programs aimed at improving their economic status.

Mrs. Kikelomo made this declaration during a meeting with members of the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria, led by Ambassador Ibrahim Ibrahim, at the COWA National Secretariat on Thursday, 29 February 2024. She also emphasized her dedication to supporting women through educational initiatives.

In an address, Mrs. Kikelomo commended the organization’s executives for their tireless efforts in achieving the organization’s goals and objectives. She urged the young executives to continue their exemplary work in serving humanity.

Highlighting COWA’s activities, the President outlined initiatives such as providing support for women and children, empowering them with new skills and startup kits, and serving as the voice for the voiceless in society.

She emphasized that COWA stands as a pillar of support for wives and children during times of need, advocating for the rights of women who face similar challenges and discrimination in society.

Addressing the importance of mutual support, the COWA National President stressed the significance of women supporting each other to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential.

She remarked, “The strength of a woman should not be measured by the challenges she faces but by her resilience in overcoming them.”

Continuing, she emphasized, “A healthy wife brings a wealthy life, as the well-being of women is crucial for the prosperity of households and communities.”

Mrs. Adeniyi highlighted the transformative power of education for women, stating, “When women are empowered, they contribute significantly to the economy, health, education, and all sectors of society, leading to positive change.”

She advocated for women to hold significant societal positions, citing their consistent ability to surpass expectations.

Mrs. Adeniyi reiterated COWA’s commitment to empowering women and children, expressing willingness to collaborate with the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria to achieve shared objectives.

In response, the National Coordinator of the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria, Ambassador Ibrahim Ibrahim, briefed COWA on the organization’s activities, which include encouraging women to embrace education and advocating against child abuse and domestic violence.

He highlighted the organization’s focus on supporting widows and children, facilitating skill acquisition, and caring for the elderly, praising Mrs. Adeniyi’s leadership and integrity expressing confidence in her ability to lead COWA to greater heights.

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