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Customs Corner

President Buhari Commissions Lekki Deep Seaport

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Author: Lucy Ulugbe; Lagos.

President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned the deepest and most modern Lekki deep seaport.

While Commissioning the project in Lagos on Monday, President Buhari applauded the promoter of the Lekki port for achieving the feat which he described as a significant game-changer for the Nation’s Maritime Economy.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who described the project as the biggest infrastructure in the whole of West Africa, stated that the multi-billion naira project is a collaboration between the Federal, Lagos State government, and private stakeholders.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd) who was present at the commissioning said automating all processes and procedures to ensure seamless operations at the seaport is a priority.

In his words, “This is a new port and we are getting in young men, we believe that what we need to do is continue to infuse IT systems and then automate all our processes, very soon, we will get to a stage whereby the entire process of Customs will be fully automated”.

The CGC took a tour of the new Lagos Free Trade Zone Area Command and expressed delight at the level of work done so far.

“I am highly impressed with the steps taken so far to settle, I believe that with time, with proper manning, it will certainly meet the substantial part of its responsibility.

“It’s my first time coming here and I commend the zone for providing accommodation, especially the office accommodation which has given them the chance to settle, so we will continue to build on that”. He added.

“We on our side will continue to do what is required to get them to settle and work assiduously”. He emphasized.

The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Dorathy Yisa-Omogbehin appreciated the CGC for his visit while also noting some of the challenges of the Command.

“Sir, accommodation is our problem, the kind of accommodation I’m seeking sir, is long-term accommodation and immediate”. She said

The CGC also paid a courtesy visit to the Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos Free Zone Mr. Dinesh Rathi and had a closed-door meeting with him

Customs Corner

Customs Forges Collaboration with Nigerian Navy to Combat Smuggling

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Author: Folusho Adeogun.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, to strengthen collaboration between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Navy (NN).

During the visit on Tuesday, 19 February 2024, at the Nigerian Navy Headquarters Abuja, the CGC reassured his commitment to enhancing the relationship between the two agencies for effective anti-smuggling strategies across Nigerian waterways.

He stated, “It is important for us to participate in joint operations to combat smuggling activities. We also need to tap on the experience of the Nigerian Navy to enhance the capacity of personnel serving within the Customs Marine Units.”

The CGC further highlighted the NCS’s possession of ocean-going and creek-going vessels in its fleets while stating the plan underway to transport the two ocean-going vessels to the Nigerian Navy Dockyard for maintenance.

“It is necessary for us to prioritize intelligence-driven operations. This could be achieved through intelligence sharing between the two agencies,” He emphasized.

Reacting to the Comptroller General of Customs, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, expressed gratitude for the visit and underscored the Nigerian Navy’s commitment to assisting in enforcing Customs laws. He stressed the importance of reciprocal collaboration and assured that Nigerian Navy training facilities would be made available to the NCS at no cost.

Vice Admiral Ogalla also addressed the need for deeper collaboration with an outfit of the Nigerian Navy meant for clearing items imported by the agency to mitigate all incumbrances.

He also shared a five-year-old Harmonized Standard Operating Procedure (HSOP) for monitoring maritime crimes and advocated for review considering the prevailing situation.

The meeting signifies a significant step towards enhancing maritime security and curbing smuggling activities along Nigeria’s coastal waters. The commitment to collaboration and mutual support sets a promising precedent for future joint efforts in safeguarding the nation’s territorial integrity.

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Customs Corner

Customs Implements Measures to Mitigate Food Security Challenges

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By Muhammad Bashir

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, reaffirmed his commitment to advancing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s food security agenda by implementing proactive measures to safeguard food availability within the nation.

According to a Press Release signed on Tuesday, 20 February 2024, by Chief Superintendent of Customs (CSC), Abdullahi Maiwada, the National Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, the measure aims to mitigate the adverse effects of scarcity on citizens, responding to the pressing concerns surrounding food scarcity and the escalating costs of essential food items in the country.

CSC Maiwada affirmed that the Service has embarked on a strategic anti-smuggling operation and proactive public engagement to curb the unlawful exportation of essential food resources for individual economic gains.

“This imperative underscores the urgent need for a proactive approach to safeguarding food availability within the nation and mitigating the adverse effects of scarcity on citizens.” CSC Maiwada mentioned in the statement.

The statement expressed optimism that the measure will alleviate the hardships faced by Nigerians and instantly enhance access to essential food items while enabling the Nigeria Customs Service to facilitate the direct disposal of food items forfeited to the Federal Government.

“These items, certified fit for consumption by relevant agencies, will be made available to ordinary Nigerians nationwide through equitable distribution in our Areas of Operations.” the statement said.

“The modalities for the disposal will be communicated through NCS formations nationwide, with a firm commitment to transparency, fairness, and public safety. It is our pledge that this exercise will be managed diligently to ensure that the benefits reach those most in need.” the statement asserted.

He said, “The Nigeria Customs Service remains steadfast in its dedication to safeguarding the nation’s food security and promoting the economic well-being of all Nigerians.”

The statement concluded, “With the unwavering support and cooperation of the public, we are confident in our ability to overcome these challenges and pave the way for a more prosperous future for our beloved nation.”

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Customs Corner

Customs Collaborates with Defence Intelligence Agency for Enhanced Security

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Author: Abra Iruoghene and Muhammad Bashir.

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, had a collaborative meeting with the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) on February 19, 2024, at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Corporate Headquarters to promote security and forge strong working relations.

The CGC, while speaking, noted that the primary objective of the collaboration is to maintain and deepen the existing relationships between NCS and the DIA. He emphasized that NCS believes in partnership, stating that cooperation with other Customs administrations and government agencies is a fundamental aspect of growth.

The CGC highlighted some ways in which they have collaborated, particularly in the areas of capacity building and security projects.

“The major objective of this delegation is to maintain and deepen the relationship between the Nigeria Customs Service and the DIA. For the records, the Nigeria Customs Service believes in collaboration. We believe that we can draw strength from collaborating with other government agencies,” he stated.

 

“We’ve extensively worked with the Armed Forces Command and Staff College to rebuild the capacity of our officers in the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College. Additionally, I’ve personally worked on collaborative security projects in the past, such as the Security Impact Collaboration,” he added.

The Comptroller-General of Customs expressed a desire for deeper partnership with the DIA, particularly in the area of more robust intelligence sharing, which, according to him, would enable the two agencies to address significant security challenges across the border areas and enhance the efficiency of Customs officers.

“It is our strong desire to deepen this kind of partnership to ensure that we benefit more from it,” he said.

Addressing the CGC, Air Vice Marshal Samuel Chinda, Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence who represented Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major General Emmanuel Parker, described the collaboration with the NCS as integral to their successes in combating border threats.

Speaking on the need to include officers in various intelligence training, AVM Chinda recalled how the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and Staff College contributed to enhancing the proficiency of Customs Officers.

“We are here to reinvigorate these relationships for future collaborations. Particularly, the Defence Intelligence Agency is open to partnerships in training and operations with the Nigeria Customs Service,” he said.

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