How High Cost Of Rice Made Smugglers Build Special Smuggling Tanker

Reps summon finance and agric ministersThe high cost of rice in Nigeria may have added more impetus to the smuggling of the staple food, as officials of the Nigeria Customs Service intercepted a tanker specially built for rice smuggling.

The tanker was intercepted by the Ogun State Area Command of the Customs over the weekend.

Twenty-five other vehicles, loaded with smuggled bags of rice, were also intercepted along the land borders in some parts of Ogun State.

The agency expressed worries over the new trends and sophistication smuggling activities is assuming as the yuletide approaches.

Specially Built For Smuggling

Rice smuggling through Benin border has increased since recession hit Africa’s largest economy, a situation that has pushed the price of a bag of rice up to double its usual price.

In Benin Republic a bad of rice still sells for less than 14,000 Naira but in Nigeria the price of the same quality of rice is not sold be less than 20,000 Naira.

Briefing reporters about the special tanker discovery at the command’s Idiroko border office, the new Area Controller, Hassan Gangua, said the MAN diesel petroleum tanker with number plate FST 51 XE, was specially built for smuggling.

He said the tanker filled to capacity with the smuggled rice was intercepted by customs operatives of the command along the Idiroko border axis on its way to Lagos.

“This interception was made 24 hours after my arrival by our gallant officers. They arrested one petroleum tanker filled to capacity with imported rice along the Idiroko axis of the command.

“The arrest was also made of 25 vehicles loaded with smuggled rice also along the same route,” he explained.

The Area Controller said another trailer allegedly carrying about 500 bags of rice, was intercepted along Lagos -Sagamu interchange.

He said: “The illegal goods which were neatly packed were heading to the Eastern part of the country to be sold in the open market. Right now , three suspects – Anthony Nwakpa, 60, Osunkwo Chukwu, 32 and Hyginus Igbokwe – have been apprehended in connection with the seizure and are in customs custody, while preliminary investigations are ongoing”.

Giving a breakdown of other seizures made, the Customs official said four vehicles loaded with 4,000 cartons of frozen poultry products and 19 motorcycles used for smuggling of rice were intercepted.

The poultry products have been destroyed by burning and burial, he told reporters.

“The vehicles and motorcycles and the rice are currently in the premises of the command, awaiting evacuation to the government warehouse, while the frozen poultry products have since been destroyed by burning and burial,” he said

The command has stepped up its operations, as the yuletide approaches “in order to combat the menace of the smugglers and bring their activities down to the barest minimum in order to ensure a healthy society for the state and the nation at large.

Critics have, however, stressed that the high cost of rice in Nigeria would encourage smuggles to do whatever they could to get cheaper rice that Nigerians can afford especially as the yuletide is approaching at a period of recession.

Interior Minister Recommends Ways Of Stopping Attacks On Soft Targets

Bomb-blastThe Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Danbazau, has recommended an effective collaboration and information management strategy among security agents to reduce internal security threats in Nigeria to its barest minimum.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the Executive Intelligence Management Course of the Institute of Security Studies, General Danbazau says the attack on soft targets such as markets, motor parks and public places has made the centrality of information management and inter agency synergy a necessity.

He urged officials of the various security agencies to establish and develop means of coordination that would be efficient and difficult for agents of mischief to penetrate.

“Primarily, it is my opinion that we must centralise information management and increase the level of collaboration between aspects of the Nigeria security infrastructure.

“Without a doubt, we are faced with the threat of terrorism and insurgency.

“The major characteristic of these threats to our national security, a major challenge to the intelligence services, is that these threats always come unexpectedly and are generally highly unpredictable,” he told the officials.

‎Participants at the course were drawn from various security agencies and the Director General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, asked the graduating students to be change agents in their various agencies.

“I urge you very strongly to sustain your learning in order to ensure effective and sustained application of your newly acquired knowledge in managing the menace of security and strategic challenges you will be confronted with in the years ahead. This is the only way to justify the huge investment the nation has made on you,” he told them.

The Executive Intelligence Management Course, which is the ninth in the series organised by the Institute of Security Service, attracted participants from the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp, Defence Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Custom Service, Nigerian Navy, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Corporate Affairs Commission‎ and the Department of State Services among others.

Nigeria Customs Service Reviews Trade Agreement With Benin Republic

Nigeria CustomsAs part of efforts to curb smuggling activities and increase revenue drive, the Nigeria Customs Service on Tuesday reviewed the trade facilitation agreement between Nigeria and the Benin Republic

The agreement, which has been in use since June 2005, was reviewed due to some challenges in its operations.

Although heads of customs in both countries agreed to the new course, they warned that sanctions awaited any country that would deviate on the terms of agreement.

Seme border, one of the towns bothering Nigeria and the Republic of Benin that gives access into the city of Lagos by land is one major route that the Nigeria Customs Service is focusing on.

Going by records, it is one of the highest revenue generation point for the Nigeria Customs different from the sea ports.

To plug revenue leakages as a result of smuggling activities, the initial agreement was reworked to chart three major courses – commence actions on formal interconnectivity, through the setting up of an ICT base station, set up a consultative framework that will meet twice a year to address all emerging issues and undertake quarterly evaluation of the implementation of this agreement.

After the reworking of the agreement, it was presented to the management teams of both countries

It took over 14 straight hours for the officials of Benin Republic Customs to come to conclusion on the terms of the agreement.

They insisted that adequate logistics must be provided by Nigeria for them to attest to the agreement.

With further consultation, both parties shifted grounds and appended their signatures to the agreement.

As the implementation of the agreement that will facilitate trade and promote economic development in the two countries is awaited, the stringent penalty that goes with the failure to comply with the decision taken was emphasised.

Court Fixes Arraignment Of Distressed NIB, 16 Others For April 11

Court on NIBThe Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed April 11 for the trial of a distressed bank, Nigerian International Bank (NIB) Limited, and 16 other accused persons.

Justice Ibrahim Buba fixed the date to allow the prosecution effect service of the 20-count criminal charge on the defendants for an alleged fraud of 2.6 billion Naira.

When the case came up in court on Wednesday, only the first defendant was represented.

The prosecutor, Mr Gordy Uche, told the court that the prosecution was still faced with difficulty in effecting service of the charge on the other defendants.

He consequently sought for an order to serve them through substitute service.

Justice Buba granted the application and ordered that the court processes be served on the defendants through their place of residence.

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have conspired among themselves to induce MicMerah International Agency Limited to deliver the said sum to them, to be used for offsetting a fraudulent import finance facility scheme.

They were also alleged to have falsified documents to fraudulently secure the release of four Volvo luxury buses and two 40-feet containers from the Nigeria Custom Service.

They are also to face a charge of obtaining property by false pretence and as corruptly enriching themselves.

The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 1(1) (a), 1(3), and 8 (A), of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offence Act, 2004.

They also violated Sections 161 and 162 of the Custom and Excise Management Act; Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, 2004 as well as sections 2, 2(1) and 10 (1) of the Recovery of Public Property Act, 2004.

If found guilty, the law stipulates a period of 20 years imprisonment.

Customs Impound Contraband Goods Worth 170 million Naira In Imo State

The Federal Operations Unit customs(FOU) Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service has seized 37 different items suspected to be contraband goods, with a total duty paid value of one hundred and seventy nine million naira.

Addressing reporters at the command headquarters in Owerri, the Imo State capital in south-east Nigeria, the Area Controller of FOU zone C, Mr David Dimka, said that the goods varying from car tyres, trucks, bags of cement, cartoons of frozen turkey and bale of second hand clothing were all seized at different locations within the zone.

The controller said the seizures was made possible by the support of the public who furnished the Nigeria customs with intelligent information about activities of the smugglers.

Dimka also appealed to members of the public to continue to provide adequate information to the Nigeria customs, to enable them fight the menace of smuggling.

Mr Dimka added that 18 suspects had been arrested in connection with the seizure and were awaiting trial in court.

He advised smugglers to stay clear of FOU zone C and all other zones in the country because men and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service have been trained and retrained with modern technologies to bring smuggling to its barest minimum.

Council Seeks Synergy With Custom To Sanitise Ports

Nigerian-Shippers-CouncilThe Nigeria Shippers Council is seeking more synergy and cooperation with the Nigeria Custom Service in order to improve and sanitise the port sector.

At a meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday with the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Custom Service, Abdullahi Dikko Inde, the Executive Secretary of the Council, Hassan Bello, said that the synergy would promote needed efficiency and effective service delivery at the ports.

While pledging his support, Mr Inde urged the Shippers Council to rise up to the responsibility of fighting the corruption ravaging the port sector.

As the new port interim regulator, the council is looking to put necessary controls in place to end loss of revenues to illegal activities at the ports and promote efficient and cost effective shipment of goods in consonance with acceptable international standards.

Shippers and clearing agencies have called for the sanitisation of the sector to reduce the number of days goods spend at the port before they are cleared.

NCS Announces 333 per cent Increase In Revenue Over Three Years

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Abdullahi Dikko has announced an increase of monthly revenue generated by the agency in 2012.

Dikko, who stated this at a meeting on Managing and Monitoring the Reputation of the Nigeria Customs Service   in Abuja, said that revenue collected by the agency rose to an average of a N100 billion in 2012,up from N30 billion realized in 2009.

Other experts in reputation management said that building the right reputation should be the central objective of agencies who have the mandate of revenue collection.

Nigeria Custom seizes N5 million Indian hemp in Ogun

The Ogun State Custom Command has intercepted and seized 855kg of substance suspected to be Indian hemp valued at about N5 million.

Criminals previously arrested for transporting Indian hemp into Nigeria

Ogun State Area Controller, Mr Bamidele Akande while officially handing over the seized substance to the state controller of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Mohammed Mohammed said the consignment was intercepted along the Imeko border post of the state.

The border patrol team however failed to make arrests as the suspects were said to have abandoned their wares on sighting officials of the Customs Service.

Mr. Bamidele said “The substance was neatly packed in bags, while others were compressed in a tablet form”.

Receiving the seized substance from its sister agency, Mr. Mohammed lamented the surge in the movement of narcotics from the neighboring sister state, Benin Republic, and the uncooperative attitudes of the authorities in that country towards reducing the menace to the barest minimum.

Both agencies called on dwellers of the border communities to provide useful information that will lead to further arrests of criminals involved in the act of transporting banned substances in to the country.

Meanwhile, the Oyo/Osun command of the Nigeria Custom Service also made a seizure of 5 vehicles fully loaded with fabrics.

Area Comptroller Oyo/Osun Command, Abdul Amade told channels Television that the smugglers tried to sneak into Oyo state through Ayegun, a border town in the Oke Ogun axis of the state.

Amade said his men had laid an ambush for the defaulting persons for two days after receiving intelligence reports on their intentions.

He also said the smugglers fled after a long gun duel with the officers from his command thereby abandoning the smuggled goods.

He further warned that only people who do credible and legitimate businesses will transact freely in the state as security along border towns have been tightened.