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Customs Corner

Work-Life-Balance:Customs CG Leads Officers on 6.6 Kilometers Endurance Walk

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Inspects Ongoing Construction Projects Along Abuja Airport Road

Author: Muhammad Bashir.

In a remarkable display of commitment to both personal well-being and the success of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR undertook a 6.6-kilometer ‘Walk Life Balance’ at the iconic Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, on Saturday morning of 6 January 2024.

This fitness initiative, a recurrent practice for the CGC, underscores Adeniyi’s dedication to harmonizing the demands of a rigorous customs profession with the imperative of maintaining physical and mental health.

In an exclusive interview after completing the refreshing walk, CGC Adeniyi highlighted the importance of such exercises for himself and his officers, acknowledging the strenuous nature of their duties, particularly in bustling urban centers.

“Every weekend that I am in Abuja, we try to make it count that we really want to achieve a balance between the rigorous demands of our work and the need to stay fit to stay healthy,” shared CGC Adeniyi.

He further emphasized the necessity of integrating regular physical activities into the lives of customs officers, acknowledging the daily challenges they face, including traffic congestion and family issues.

“We have to keep ourselves in a very high level of mental physical fitness. We really have to motivate ourselves,” he added.

Drawing a parallel between the distance covered during the walk and the ambitious revenue targets set for 2024, CGC Adeniyi expressed confidence in the Service’s ability to achieve its financial goals.

“If you compare the distance of 6.6 kilometers that we covered this morning with the figure of revenue which we want to generate in 2024 – and put trillion Naira behind that figure, then it means we have achieved our revenue targets for 2024.”

CGC Adeniyi’s unwavering commitment to fostering a healthy work-life balance not only exemplifies his leadership but also sets a precedent for a thriving and resilient Nigeria Customs Service in the year 2024.

Similarly, in a stride towards prioritizing the well-being of the officers and men of the Service, the CGC has affirmed his commitment to enhance their welfare through a comprehensive infrastructure initiative.

This ambitious project, located close to Namadi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, is characterized by residential buildings, offices, schools, worship centers, officers’ mess, and a shopping mall, and is strategically designed to accommodate over 2500 officers working in Abuja.

Speaking on the project, CGC Adeniyi stated, “Our officers dedicate themselves tirelessly to their duties, and it is our responsibility to reciprocate their dedication by ensuring they have not just adequate but befitting housing and essential social amenities. This initiative is a testament to our commitment to their well-being.”

Speaking further, the CGC noted that the multifaceted project aligns with his broader agenda to modernize and improve the overall working conditions within the Nigeria Customs Service.

The CGC noted that the inclusion of educational facilities, worship centers, and recreational spaces reflects a holistic approach to fostering a supportive community for customs officers and their families.

According to him, as the project takes shape, it signifies a positive step towards elevating the living standards of those serving on the frontlines of Customs operations.

Customs Corner

Customs, World Bank, FMITI, Join Forces to Enhance Trade Facilitation

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Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in conjunction with the World Bank and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, convened with maritime stakeholders, regulatory and security agencies to identify bottlenecks hindering trade facilitation and provide a holistic approach to addressing them.

The World Bank team led by Aleksandar Stojanov and delegates from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment were in Apapa, Lagos State, on Monday, 10 June 2024, to study operations at the port and inspection processes.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) Apapa Area Comand, Comptroller Babatunde Olomu, who presided over the meeting, stated that since he came on board, the Command has leveraged on stakeholder engagement, “We engage sufficiently with the security agencies and other regulatory agencies on the ground, and our actions have been intelligence-driven, and we have been able to key into the trade pillars, and significantly, it has helped us towards our tasks”.

He said, “For May, we were able to generate N175 billion into the national coffers, which is quite above our target. We were able to exceed the target with about N20 billion”, Comptroller Olomu stated.

The Area Controller emphasised the commitment of the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Adewale Adeniyi, in facilitating trade.

According to him, in the last few months, the CGC has addressed issues surrounding trade facilitation, “Initially, we were adopting the Fast Track, but under his administration, we have upgraded to the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)”.

“Also, the World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement mandates every customs administration to set up advance ruling which we keyed into, under the administration of the present CGC; these two concepts have positively impacted the trade facilitation system”, he emphasised.

Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Udoka-Anite, represented by Dr. Brenda Max-Nduaguibe, stressed that the World Bank has been steadfast in their support and collaboration in advancing Nigeria’s Trade Facilitation goal and strengthening the economy to position Nigeria as a leading trade hub in the region.

Stakeholders at the meeting commended the efforts of the NCS in facilitating trade while also calling on terminal owners to upgrade their services.

Oluseyi Adebiyi said, “We have heard from representatives of the World Bank and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. The idea is to improve revenue and facilitate trade, and their presence here will do a lot. I know that after this meeting, there will be a lot of improvement at the port”, he said.

In another development, the NCS has kicked off a training on Non-Intrusive Inspection Course for Scanner managers on Monday, 10 July 2024, at the Apapa Scanning sight.

The facilitator, Comptroller Olatunde Olaniyan, in charge of the Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) Unit, stated that the training is initiated by the Unit and approved by the CGC.

Participants at the training acknowledged that it is coming at the right time, as it creates room for the expansion of knowledge to collect maximum revenue for the service, suppress smuggling and at the same time, facilitate trade.

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Customs Corner

Operation Whirlwind Hits Hard on PMS Smugglers, As Operative Makes Significant Seizures

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Author: Muhammad Bashir.

Barely two weeks after Nigeria Customs Service launched “Operation Whirlwind” – a decisive onslaught against illegal trade of petroleum products across Nigeria’s borders, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Adewale Adeniyi, says the Service has started recording massive turnout in curtailing the menace of PMS smuggling across the federation.

Addressing newsmen on Monday, 10 June 2024, in Yola, the Adamawa state capital, the CGC re-emphasised strategic efforts to address the critical issue of fuel smuggling. Stating that the exercise aimed at curtailing economic saboteurs has the solid support of the Office of the National Security Adviser.

He said the Service had, in response to the alarming increase in fuel smuggling, launched the initiative to defend the National currency, reduce pressures that may be attributed to the activities of smugglers and dismantle their cartels within the ecosystem, adding, “In the past 2 weeks
we have received credible intelligence on the relative stability of the
price of PMS around the Border States, this is easily attributed to
disruptions in the operations of smugglers.”

According to him, the operatives attached to the initiative had, within 7 days of non-stop task, intercepted a total of 150,950 litres of PMS, valued at N105,965,391, at various locations nationwide, highlighting, “On Friday 31 May 2024. A total of 45,000 litres of PMS in a tanker was seized at Mubi, Adamawa State.”

He stated that “On Saturday, 1 June 2024, a total of 45,000 litres of PMS
in a tanker was also seized at Mubi, Adamawa, while between Monday, 3 June 2024, and Friday, 7 June 2024, a total of 92,928 litres of PMS in 25 litres of different sizes of jerry cans at Mubi, Song-Wuroboki, Mubi-Sahuda road and Gidan Madara – Sahuda road, in Adamawa state and others in Illela, Sokoto and Agbaragba creek in Mfum border of Cross River State.

The CGC further stated that the Service has also recorded significant seizures of 129,185 litres of PMS from unpatriotic individuals attempting to deprive Nigerians of access to fuel and cause unnecessary hardship valued at N90,558,685, adding “A combined diversion of 280,135 litres of PMS of N196,524,075.50 raises serious economic concerns with broader implications on National Security.”

The CG lamented the unfortunate increase in smuggling of PMS across Borno, Kebbi, Sokoto, Taraba, and Katsina states borders between April and May 2024, and the Service deemed it necessary to collaborate with the NSA to come up with a lasting solution to ensure that Nigerians enjoy the full benefits of fuel price deregulation in line with the vision of President Bola Ahmed
Tinubu.

He said, “Between April and May 2024, Borno and Kebbi States recorded 76% and 59% increases in evacuations, ranking among the top three states. On a year-on-year basis (May 2023 and May 2024), Sokoto and Taraba States recorded the most substantial increases in evacuations, with 247% and 234%
increases, respectively.”

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Customs Corner

NCS Sokoto/Zamfara Command Strengthens Relationship with EFCC Zonal Office

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Author: Vivian Daniel.

As a remarkable way of consolidating its collaboration with other sister agencies, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Sokoto/Zamfara Command, Comptroller Kamal Mohammed hosted the newly posted Economic and Financial Crime Commission Acting Zonal Director, ACE Nwanneka Nwokike and his management team at the Command’s headquarters Sokoto.

This was conveyed in a press statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Customs Abdullahi Tsafe Abubakar, on 7 June 2024 on behalf of the Customs Area Controller.

The CAC congratulated the Zonal Director for his posting to head the Zonal Office of the Commission. He further eulogised the robust synergy between the Service and the Commission for the past two decades.

The CAC reiterated that the NCS’ mandates include revenue generation, trade facilitation and suppression of smuggling, of which the Service has been at the forefront in supporting the Commission’s fight against money laundering.

 

Comptroller Mohammed further commended the effort of the Commission in the last 21 years since its inception and has made phenomenal and remarkable achievements in its assets recovery, convictions and forfeitures, thereby carving a niche for itself in the history of Nigeria.

The CAC affirmed that in line with the Policy Thrust of Collaboration of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, the synergy between the Service and the Commission will permeate down to the Command level.

He equally assured the Acting Zonal Director that the alliance existing between the Command and their directorate would not only be sustained but would be moved to the next level while stressing that both institutions need each other to achieve their statutory mandates.

In his response, the Acting Zonal Director, ACE Nwanneka Nwokike, in his speech, reminisced on the long interrelation between the Commission and the NCS in the earlier days of the Commission. He underscored the need for combined efforts between the two agencies in intelligence sharing while maintaining their areas of interest.

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