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Customs Corner

EMBRACING A NEW ERA OF EXCELLENCE: ADDRESS BY ACTING COMPTROLLER-GENERAL BASHIR ADEWALE ADENIYI psc (+), MFR ON HIS RESUMPTION AS COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF NIGERIA CUSTOMS SERVICE

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Ag CG Customs

1. Today, we gather here to mark the beginning of a new era in the Nigeria Customs Service. I stand before you as the newly appointed Comptroller General, humbled and honoured by the trust placed in me by our esteemed President, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR. This call to duty signifies a great responsibility, a responsibility to serve our nation as trade facilitators and enforcers of government policy. It is a delicate balancing act that demands professionalism, integrity, and the highest ethical standards.

2. Over the past eight years, the Nigeria Customs Service has embarked on a journey of transformation, focused on reforms, restructuring, and revenue generation. We have witnessed critical adjustments to meet the evolving needs and strategic objectives of our Service. As beneficiaries and ambassadors of these reforms, many of us have played pivotal roles in training, retraining, and mentoring the future generation of Customs officers.

3. Today, we stand at the precipice of an exciting future, one that builds upon the achievements of the past and takes us even further. Our administration is committed to adopting a bottom-up approach, where the needs of our dear nation take precedence over everything else. We will prioritize efficiency in service delivery as the bedrock of trade facilitation and revenue generation. No longer shall encumbrances impede trade; we shall dismantle obstacles and foster a new culture of consultations and compliance.

4. In order to achieve our objectives, it is imperative that we bridge the current human resource gap within our ranks. We recognize the importance of capacity building and career advancement for our officers. The administration will work diligently to implement career advancement opportunities approved by the board, ensuring that competence remains

the sole criterion for assigning responsibilities and measuring effectiveness. Our focus is on cultivating a highly skilled workforce that is equipped to face the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

5. Staff welfare is of paramount importance to us. We acknowledge the harsh and hostile environment in which our officers and men are compelled to function. Therefore, we commit ourselves to prioritize the welfare and well-being of our personnel. By providing better remunerations, improved accommodation, life insurance, and quality healthcare, we aim to create an environment that supports and motivates our workforce. We understand that a well-motivated team is instrumental in achieving our aims and objectives.

6. As we embark on this new journey, we recognize the need for collaboration and partnerships. We value the relationships we have built with our Partner Government Agencies and the private sector. These collaborations have been vital to our adoption of technology as a tool to enhance revenue generation and streamline processes. We will strengthen these partnerships and engage with stakeholders through revitalized platforms. By promoting dialogue, we can resolve disputes and advance mutually beneficial solutions that lead to more efficient and effective service. The Nigeria Customs Service will continue to treat its esteemed stakeholders as partners who have a stake in our success.

7. Furthermore, this administration is firmly committed to fairness. We shall treat all stakeholders, traders, and officers alike with impartiality and respect. Our decisions and actions will be guided by principles of transparency and discipline. We understand that our conduct shapes the public’s perception of the Service, and we will strive to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and ethical behaviour. Indiscipline will not be tolerated as we prioritize fairness and equity.

8. My predecessor had taken significant steps towards Customs Modernization, and it is our duty to build on those gains. Staff welfare and capacity building have been revolutionized under the previous administration, with the provision of decent packages and the

introduction of staff courses. This administration will build upon those gains to ensure the continuous growth and development of our workforce. All these efforts will be channelled towards ensuring that the real potentials of the Service are achieved.

9. It is crucial for us to recognize the modern realities and challenges to Customs operations. In today’s interconnected and technologically advanced world, we face emerging threats that require our utmost attention. E-commerce, global supply chains, and transnational criminal networks pose challenges to our role as custodians of trade facilitation and enforcement. We must adapt to these changing landscapes, leveraging technology, intelligence-led operations, and effective risk management strategies. Collaboration with international partners, law enforcement agencies, and customs administrations of other nations will be vital in combating illicit trade and securing our national interests.

10. Before I conclude, I want to acknowledge a significant milestone in our journey towards Customs modernization. Recently, the Nigeria Customs Service witnessed a remarkable achievement with the signing of the new Customs Act. This act marks a pivotal moment in our efforts to enhance trade facilitation, streamline procedures, and strengthen enforcement measures.

11. The new Customs Act provides us with a robust legal framework that aligns with international best practices, ensuring transparency, efficiency, and compliance in our operations. It empowers us to effectively tackle emerging challenges, adapt to evolving trade dynamics, and safeguard our national interests. Under this act, we have the opportunity to introduce innovative measures that will further enhance our customs processes, such as the implementation of advanced risk management systems, the integration of cutting-edge technologies, and the simplification of trade procedures. These advancements will not only boost our revenue generation capabilities but also promote a conducive business environment that attracts investments and spurs economic growth.

12. I assure you that we are fully committed to the successful implementation of the new Customs Act. We will work diligently to familiarize our officers and stakeholders with its provisions, ensuring its effective application across all our operations. Through comprehensive training programs and continuous engagement, we will create awareness and understanding of the act’s importance in achieving our shared goals.

13. As we embrace this new era under the Customs Act, we must remember that its success relies on our collective efforts. I call upon all officers, personnel, stakeholders, and the public to embrace the spirit of compliance, collaboration, and continuous improvement. Together, we can unlock the full potential of our customs service and contribute to the prosperity of our beloved nation.

14. I express my profound gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, for the opportunity bestowed upon me to serve our great nation. I assure the President and his government of our unwavering commitment to the success of this administration. Together, with the dedicated men and women of the Nigeria Customs Service, we will pursue excellence and strive to surpass the expectations placed upon us.

15. Let us forge ahead with determination, knowing that we have the tools, the vision, and the unwavering spirit to excel in our duties. May God bless the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you, and may God bless the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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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