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Customs Corner

COWA President, Kikelomo Unveils Vision to Empower 100,000 Women, Combat Drug Abuse



Author: Muhammad Bashir and Abra Iruoghene.

During a gathering marked by enthusiasm and dedication, Kikelomo Adewale Adeniyi, wife of the Comptroller-General of Customs and National President of the Customs Officers’ Wives Association (COWA), expressed readiness to support the Federal Government of Nigeria in empowering women, fighting drug addiction, and creating jobs.

Mrs Kikelomo made this known while delivering a stirring speech at the relaunch of the Customs Officers’ Wives Association, praising their steadfast commitment to empowering women and children and launching an intensive campaign against drug abuse.

The event, which held in Abuja on Thursday, February 15, 2024, saw the convergence of members, stakeholders, government officials, business moguls, and diplomats, highlighting the significance of the association’s endeavors.

While seeking the support of Nigeria’s First Lady, Oluremi Bola Tinubu, to enhance the well-being and empowerment of women in the country, she also stated that COWA had identified the ‘Renewed Hope’ initiative of President Bola Tinubu’s administration as a catalyst for executing their primary projects in the country.

Mrs Kikelomo revealed that they have launched a pilot program to empower 1,200 women and disclosed that the association targets covering over 100,000 women, which, according to her, will significantly assist them in contributing meaningfully to their families in 2024.

She highlighted that the association has made all arrangements to establish a fully equipped ultra-modern Skills Acquisition Center in Abuja, where COWA members will receive regular vocational training and retraining.

Continuing her speech, she stated that the association aims to provide food and other humanitarian support to about 100,000 less privileged individuals across the country before the end of 2024.

According to Mrs. Adeniyi, the relaunch of the organization offers an opportunity to bring their activities to the forefront while also raising funds from corporate organizations and spirited Nigerians for the implementation of their programs and activities.

She added, “COWA plans to establish Nursery, Primary, and Secondary Schools across major border communities and even within cities and towns to offer decent, qualitative, and affordable education to the children and wards of serving and retired Customs Officers.”

She emphasized, “The schools will reduce the financial burden of Customs officers who pay exorbitant fees to educate their children. It will also enable us to instill in our children high moral values associated with the Nigeria Customs Service.”

According to her, the relaunch ceremony offered an opportunity to bring COWA’s activities to the forefront and to perform the investiture of patrons and patronesses and raise funds in support of the needy in society.

She said, “For the benefit of those who might not know us very well, please permit me to briefly talk about our association, COWA. The Customs Officers’ Wives Association (COWA) is a not-for-profit organization established on the 13th of August, 2009, to promote the welfare of Customs Officers’ families and foster bonds of friendship, unity, and understanding among the wives of officers.”

“COWA has been established with a clear aim to touch lives in a meaningful and impactful manner, and our primary drive is to build relationships, partnerships, and friendships that support the nurturing of healthy communities to alleviate poverty, create jobs, and support the economic empowerment of our members through initiatives that promote prosperity and economic opportunities,” she added.

She emphasized the need to economically empower officers’ wives across the federation and to launch an effective campaign against drug abuse in Customs Barracks to protect youths from the potential harm associated with the consumption of illicit drugs.

She commended President Bola Tinubu’s administration and the Management of the Nigeria Customs Service for their support and commitment to improving the welfare of Customs officers. She expressed satisfaction that more efforts and robust plans are underway to provide suitable accommodations to officers and their families.

On his part, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, who graced the occasion, expressed immense joy for the progress made by COWA. He commended his wife, Mrs. Kikelomo Adeniyi and her team for their hard work and sacrifices for COWA’s growth.

He disclosed that NCS has placed women in strategic and vital positions across various units and commands, which he views as a significant achievement in attaining gender balance.

CG Adeniyi stated that the service’s main goal is to establish an atmosphere that allows everyone to thrive without any obstacles. He applauded the efforts of Customs Officers’ Wives who have supported COWA over the years and Officers’ Wives from other agencies.

Reaffirming the goal of COWA, the Comptroller-General highlighted the core value of COWA to include the personal and professional development of officers’ wives, fostering a harmonious School environment, engaging in community development strongly aligned with the objectives of the NCS.

He said, “We appreciate our wives whose support encourages us to maintain our stance in fighting against smuggling and sources of strength, especially during challenging times. We are fully committed to supporting them in their work whenever and wherever necessary.”

He added, “The service is supporting COWA in building schools, supporting widows, and conducting medical outreach programs in our border communities. This initiative significantly enhances our corporate social responsibility program and demonstrates our holistic approach to community engagement.”

He said, “Given the substantial impact of COWA’s work, we wholeheartedly support the revival and relaunch of their activities. Confidently, we will continue to contribute positively to our organization and the community.”

Customs Corner

Nigeria Customs Service Bolsters Collaboration with Benin Republic Counterpart



Nigeria Customs Service Bolsters Collaboration with Benin Republic Counterpart

By Ruth Akata

In an effort to strengthen the longstanding partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and its counterpart in the Republic of Benin, a high-powered delegation led by the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, embarked on a crucial mission to meet with the Director-General of the Customs Administration of Benin Republic on Thursday, 11 April, 2024.

The primary focus of the meeting, as outlined by the CGC, was to deliberate on strategies aimed at amplifying trade activities between the two nations and ensuring the seamless implementation of recommendations previously discussed during their rendezvous in Cotonou.

Highlighting the significance of the collaboration, the CGC underscored, “We are cognizant of the established framework for cooperation between our respective customs administrations. This framework was established at a higher level by the authorities of the heads of State, President Patrice Talon of Benin and His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria, both expressing a desire to work together. It is upon this foundation that the customs of both countries are united in their efforts.”

Welcoming the delegation with open arms, Mrs Adidjatou Hassan Zanouvi, the Director-General of Benin Customs Administration, reiterated their steadfast commitment to executing the mutually agreed-upon measures, emphasising the importance of thorough monitoring to ensure effective implementation.

The collaborative endeavours between the Nigeria Customs Service and the Benin Republic Customs Administration, according to her, serve as a testament to their shared commitment to facilitating seamless trade operations and ensuring the efficient management of cross-border activities for the mutual benefit of both nations.

In the meantime, during the visit, the CGC seized the opportunity to inspect ongoing projects within the Nigeria Customs Service, Seme Area Command. Accompanied by the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Timi Bomodi, the CGC meticulously assessed the progress of the projects and received assurances of diligent oversight from the responsible authorities.

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Customs Corner

PTML Customs Command Generates N66.9b, Targets Two-Hour Clearance Time for Vehicles



Author: Gift Wada.

The Port Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has collected N66,920,181,586.30 as total revenue for the first quarter of 2024, which is N22,198,965,809.55 higher than N44,721,215,776.75 collected between January and March 2023, representing 49.6 percent increase.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Saidu Yusuf, in a press statement signed by the Command’s Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent of Customs Muhammad Yakubu, on 13 April 2024, described the increase in revenue collection as a laudable feat.

Comptroller Yusuf, while commending the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, for initiating strategies to achieve faster cargo clearance, assured that PTML Command under his watch aims to surpass its record of three-hour cargo clearance for compliant traders.

“The launching of time release study (TRS), which is ongoing, and other deliberate efforts by the Comptroller General have contributed to expanding terminal space and promoting ease of doing business in PTML.

“The PTML command has the potential to achieve two-hour cargo clearance and surpass its existing three hours records if port users compliance level is improved,” he said.

Comptroller Yusuf, who described PTML as one of the safest and most secure environments for Roll On Roll Off (RoRo) and general cargoes, also advised importers and their agents to take advantage of the incentives available for compliant traders such as fast track, advance ruling and possible migration to the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.

He reminded port users in PTML of the robust and time-conscious dispute resolution mechanism, which has contributed immensely to the revenue collection, trade facilitation, and anti-smuggling functions of the command.

While commending the various government and private sector stakeholders for their cooperation and support towards the realisation of the government’s goal for revenue collection and prevention of unlawful activities, Comptroller
Yusuf expressed optimism that the command will surpass its annual target for the year.

He described the importation of vehicles meant for Nigerian roads into neighbouring countries with the intent to smuggle them through unapproved roads into Nigeria as unpatriotic and an act of economic sabotage as the command has the capacity for seamless and efficient processing of such automobile cargoes.

For the second quarter and first half of the year, the CAC enjoined command officers to maximally deploy available technology and rededicate themselves to the job to achieve more.

He reminded port users that there is increased anti-smuggling vigilance to uncover concealment such as under declaration and smuggling of prohibited items. The CAC added that any discovered infraction will fully evoke the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, where there are spelt-out penalties.

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Customs Corner

Comptroller Jaiyeoba Commends Apapa Scanning Officers for Non-Compromise



Author: Ibe Wada.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of Apapa Area Command, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, has commended Officers of the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Unit (NIITU) for their invaluable contributions to the overall success of the Command.

Comptroller Jaiyeoba, who paid an unscheduled visit to the scanner site, reminded the officers of the importance of teamwork in sustaining the gains of compliance and revenue collection recently recorded by the command.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, 9 April 2024, by the Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abubakar Usman, the CAC thanked Deputy Comptroller of Customs Salamatu Atuluku, the Scanner Manager of the scanning site and encouraged the unit not to be deterred by complaints coming from persons who were made to pay accurate duties to the government after issuance of demand notices.

According to him, no business person made to part with money will be happy with Officers who refuse to compromise the ethics of their jobs.

Addressing the officers, he said, “The main reason for me coming here is to appreciate you. I may not see you, but I have seen your work, and I won’t keep quiet about what I have seen. You are doing very well.”

He urged the Officers to remain steadfast in their commitment to integrity, emphasising that uncompromising adherence to their duties would ensure their credibility before the public and their superiors.

“For those of you doing intervention in the form of Demand Notice(DN), there is nobody who part with money that will be happy with you. They will want to play intelligent by hiding somewhere. When you fetch them from their hiding place, they become your enemy. Whatever they write about anybody here will still come down to me, and if anybody works well, the onus on me is to defend such a person”. He added.

The CAC acknowledged the challenges faced by Officers issuing demand notices, highlighting the inevitability of dissatisfaction from individuals required to pay accurate duties to the government.

He reminded the unit not to be swayed by such complaints but to focus on upholding the integrity of their work.

Comptroller Jaiyeoba encouraged the officers to remain resilient, noting that their commitment to excellence would lead to further responsibilities and recognition.

“Just have it at the back of your mind that you owe yourself the duty of doing your work diligently whether anyone comes around as a friend or enemy. It is not enough for you to rest. The reward for hard work is more work.” He concluded.

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