‘Warehouses Along The Border Must Be Dismantled’: FG Gives Conditions For Reopening Borders

The Federal Government on Monday gave conditions that ECOWAS countries have to meet for Nigeria to reopen its borders.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, gave the conditions related to the movement of goods and persons during the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Temporary Partial Closure of Land Borders in Abuja on Monday.

The conditions include respect for the rules of origins with regard to the movement of goods and shutting down warehouses along the border.

“We absolutely insist on the dismantling of all the warehouses along our common borders,” Onyeama told journalists in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

“No longer will we accept anybody coming into the country through land borders with anything other than recognised”.

The conditions which come months after Nigeria shut its borders with Benin and Niger, citing massive smuggling activities, especially of rice, taking place on that corridor, will be presented to the countries in two weeks, according to the Minister.

Apart from demanding the dismantling of warehouses, the Federal Government is also going tough on the repackaging of imported goods to pass them as local ones (from ECOWAS countries).

Onyeama said, “On the transportation of goods within ECOWAS and across borders, we will now insist on proper recognised packaging of those goods.

“No longer will we have goods, you know, of all shapes and sizes just going through the borders. We are going to have accepted conditions for the packaging of goods that will be transported by road across our borders.”

The accepted conditions include respecting the rules of origin. This, according to the Minister, will help prevent dumping of goods in Nigeria.

“(For) Goods predominantly produced in ECOWAS member states, the rules of origin must be satisfied. So, we have to avoid any possibility of dumping,” he said.

“If goods are produced in ECOWAS member states, those goods must be majorly produced in those states. If they are coming from outside ECOWAS, the value addition made by an ECOWAS country must be over 50 percent.”

All Nigerians Should See Smuggling As A Crime – Attah

The Nigeria Customs Service is asking for the cooperation of all Nigerians in the fight against smuggling across the country.

The spokesman for the service, Joseph Attah, made this known during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday.

According to him, Nigerian citizens should see smuggling as a crime.

“The fact that you have gotten someone to help you beat the checks at the border does not change the status of what is in your possession.

“If it is smuggled, it is still a smuggled item and is liable to seizure. We are asking for collaboration. All Nigerians should see smuggling as a crime,” he said.

READ ALSO: Nigeria-Benin Border Partially Closed Due To Massive Smuggling Activities – Buhari

Decrying the prevailing rate of smuggling, the Customs spokesman said further: “It will surprise you to know that there are many Nigerians that still see smuggling as business, not a crime.

“But I have you know that smuggling is not just a crime, but the mother of every crime, like a pregnant woman that gives birth. It is through smuggling that armed robbers will get their arms from the black market, through smuggling we get dangerous drugs, through smuggling, we get rice that is injurious to your health.”

He, however, reiterated the commitment of the service in effectively curbing the menace of smuggling for the overall interest of the nation.

Nigerian Navy Intercepts Ship Smuggling Over 2,000 Bags Of Rice

Nigerian Navy has intercepted a ship smuggling a large haul of contraband rice into Nigeria from Cameroon.

The vessel carrying 2,860 bags of foreign rice was intercepted over the weekend by Naval personnel on board the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) victory along the Calabar waterway in Cross River State.

The Acting Commander of the NNS victory ship, Captain Babafemi Ajayi, while parading the five suspects alongside their seized boat in Calabar, the state capital said the arrests were made following an intelligence report.

READ ALSO: Two Killed, Several Injured As Windstorm Wreaks Havoc In Bauchi

“We discovered that the boat was hidden around Calabar channels with this consignments with the intention that when there is darkness, they will use smaller boats to evacuate the products into a warehouse.

“Following the tip-off, we positioned our men into that area. Fortunately, we saw the five men when they wanted to carry out the assignment on the boat. They were subsequently arrested. Further entry revealed their warehouse. When we got there, we saw more consignments, those that have already been offloaded.”

Captain Ajaji noted that in compliance with the extant rules, the bags of rice and the suspects will be handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service for further investigation and prosecution.

US Asks UN To Blacklist North Korean Entities For Smuggling

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers a speech during a United Nations Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters on December 8, 2017, in New York City. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP

 

The United States asked the United Nations Security Council on Friday to blacklist a number of North Korean entities involved in smuggling oil and coal in violation of sanctions resolutions.

The US request came after President Donald Trump announced new sanctions against North Korea-linked shipping assets in a package he described as the “heaviest” ever against Pyongyang.

The US mission said it had submitted a list to the council’s sanctions committee “aimed at shutting down North Korea’s illicit maritime smuggling activities to obtain oil and sell coal.”

The mission did not provide details but said the action coincided with one taken by the US Treasury Department, which is expected to target “56 vessels, shipping companies and trade businesses,” according to the White House.

Imposing sanctions on North Korean entities requires the approval of all 15 council members, including the North’s ally China. It was not immediately known when a decision on the request would be made.

“Today’s unprecedented actions make it clear that the United States will not let up on North Korea,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement.

“We are ramping up the pressure on the North Korean regime, and we’re going to use every tool at our disposal, including working with our allies and through the UN, to increase the pressure until North Korea reverses course.”

The Security Council last year adopted a series of resolutions to tighten and expand export bans aimed at cutting off revenue to North Korea’s military programs.

The measures ban coal exports and severely restrict deliveries of oil and refined petroleum products, but a recent report by a UN panel of experts found that North Korea had succeeded in circumventing sanctions.

North Korea earned $200 million in revenue last year from exports of coal, iron, steel and other banned commodities, the report said.

AFP

Water Resources: Africa Loses $50bn Annually To Smuggling – Obasanjo

Water Resources: Africa Loses $50bn Annually To Smuggling – Obasanjo
File photo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says about $50billion worth of water resources and fishery are illicitly taken away through the waterways across Africa annually.

The former President, who spoke on Thursday at a conference in Ogun State, was also worried about the increasing rate of the activities which he said was resulting in a huge economic loss.

“$50billion worth of fish and other water resources are illicitly taken away from Africa annually. This is a major concern for African leaders – past and present,” he said.

He was addressing a gathering at the 1st Annual Nigeria Anti-Fraud Conference organised by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), Lagos, Nigeria Chapter, which held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Obasanjo decried the ugly trend being experienced on African waterways as a source of concern for African leaders and called on everyone on the continent to tackle the problem together.

He said Nigeria and other African countries might not develop if the people turn deaf ears to the common problems, especially fraud and corruption that have been the bane of socio-economic growth and development of the continent.

The former President, who was named as grand patron of ACFE, Lagos, also asked the financial professionals and all members of the association to help tackle the challenges in Nigeria and across the continent.

“We are now trying and putting up efforts to ensure that we prevent it. Organisation like you can also help us and Africa to fight corruption and fraud in Nigeria and Africa as a whole,”  he said

Earlier in his remarks, the President and Chief Executive Officer, ACFE, Godwin Oyedokun, thanked the former President for his support for the association.

Oyedokun said Obasanjo was named their grand patron for his efforts against fraud and corruption in Nigeria, even after his tenure as president ended.

He said: “It is really a delight to host Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Your acceptance of our invitation is an indication that you have the love of this nation at heart.

“Let me say that two things informed our decision to have you in our midst. First, ACFE, Lagos Nigeria Chapter recognises your role in sanitising the Nigeria system before, during and even after you have left government and secondly, we want to honour you as our grand patron – the one we could always run to for advice, guidance and mentorship.”

Osinbajo Says Proper Border Policing’ll Promote Made-In-Nigeria Products

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says made-in-Nigeria products will get more patronage if the country’s borders are effectively policed.

This, according to him, is because secure borders will help limit the influx of counterfeit products into the country and put a lid on smuggling.

The Vice President said this on Thursday when a delegation from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“More importantly, the whole issue is that we are able to police the borders. Last week we had discussions with all the agencies connected; including the Customs, the Minister of Internal Affairs, NPA, and we were looking at how we can work with our neighbours, especially the Benin Republic, and our neighbours also in the North, to police our borders as much as we can,” he said.

To ensure that the country’s border is better policed, the Federal Government is partnering with neighbouring countries.

In addition to securing the borders, the Vice President believes certain sections of the country’s laws should be amended to attract stringent monetary penalties for defaulters, a move that would deter others.

Smuggling and the influx of counterfeit products have been perennial challenges for the country’s authorities and manufacturers.

Both issues have stunted the growth of the manufacturing sector and should they be brought under control, the manufacturing sector is expected to benefit.

Such a situation is something the Federal Government has said is critical and Vice President Osinbajo reiterated that the major focus of the Buhari administration’s Ease of Doing Business reforms was to increasing patronage for locally manufactured goods, as well as to create an enabling environment for the private sector and businesses in the country to thrive.

“The whole point of the Executive Order on promoting “Made-in-Nigeria” products was to set the ball rolling, to create an environment for this sort of initiative, and I am extremely grateful to MAN for the work that it has done in bringing this to the fore,” he said.

The Vice President said this when a delegation of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) paid a visit to him today at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President MAN, Frank Jacobs, who led the delegation, presented a report on the association’s advocacy campaign for patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products to Professor Osinbajo during the visit.

Jacobs explained that the advocacy campaign was not only aimed at improving the patronage of locally manufactured products by Nigerians but to also help create more jobs for Nigerians in the local manufacturing sector by reducing imports.

Osinbajo assured the delegation that the Federal Government would consider the request made by MAN for a 35 percent margin of preference for Made-in-Nigeria products for government procurement.

“I think that, in this particular case, the 35 percent threshold is entirely reasonable. We should be able to do better than that in terms of driving government procurement,” Osinbajo said.

Customs Restates Resolve To Tackle Smuggling, Revenue Leakages

Customs Restates Resolve To Tackle Smuggling, Revenue Leakages

The Nigeria Customs Service says it is ready more than ever to tackle smuggling and revenue leakages across the country.

The Customs also appealed to the public to only engage in genuine business ventures that will contribute to Nigeria’s economic growth.

The National Coordinator of the Comptroller General of Custom’s Compliance Team, Mr Abubakar Azarema made the appeal on Wednesday at the Customs House in Aduwawa, Benin City the Edo state capital.

He spoke shortly after inspecting some of the goods seized by operatives of the Service at the Benin axis of the Benin-Ore-Lagos expressway.

The seized goods include 2,635 bags of imported parboiled rice with duty paid value of N80m, as well as a truckload of drugs such as chest and lungs tablets, said to have been smuggled into the country from India without an approval from the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Handing over the drugs to the Director-General of NAFDAC who was represented by an assistant director in the agency, Mr Godwin Tonwuru, Mr Azarema said the feat was achieved through intelligence.

“As you can see, these smugglers are devising all means to beat the Customs but I can assure you that we are ready for them. They beat the Customs at the Lagos port and other checkpoints on the route but through adequate intelligence, we were able to intercept them at the Benin axis,” he said.

On the impounded bags of rice, Azarema noted that the Customs would stop at nothing to check smuggling to give impetus to the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture and rural development.

Malaysia Seizes 330 Smuggled Endangered Tortoises

Customs officers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport seized 330 endangered tortoises on Monday.

The tortoises flew in from Madagascar on Sunday, on Etihad Airways and had been documented in the manifest as ‘stones’ Kuala Lumpur Airport Custom Deputy Director Abdul Wahid Sulong told reporters.

The 330 tortoises are valued at 1.2 million Ringgit ($277.000), he added.

Malaysia is a major transit point for the trade in endangered species to other Asian countries.

Troops Smash Boko Haram’s Fish Smuggling Ring

Army Arrests Three Suspected Chadian Boko Haram TerroristsThe Nigerian Army says its troops have smashed a Boko Haram fish smuggling ring, killing four insurgents in the process.

According to the Army, the terrorists use the fish smuggling ring to fund their activities.

The Army disclosed this in a statement by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 8 Task Force Division, Timothy Antigha.

It said the smuggling ring was smashed by troops of 145 and 158 Task Force Battalions, 5 Brigade during a raid carried out in Julari village, along Kareto – Damasak Road, Borno State.

The statement said while four Boko Haram members were killed, the army, unfortunately, lost a soldier.

It added that the troops recovered one AK-47 rifle, one Toyota Hilux pickup, three motorcycles, 35 bags of dry fish, one bag of bush meat, three bags of sugar and 60 litres of engine oil.

Army To Close Markets In Borno, Yobe

ArmyThe Nigerian Army is set to close some markets in Borno and Yobe states identified for engaging in illegal trade.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman said that the measure is to curtail illicit trading and smuggling in the northeast.

Also speaking at the news conference, the Chief of Civil Military Affairs, Major General Nicholas Rogers added that the Nigerian Army is collaborating with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to ensure thorough search of vehicles and commuters and arrest anyone in possession of arms and ammunitions.

Customs Intercepts Luxurious Bus Carrying 399.5 Kilogram Of Cannabis Sativa

Cannabis SativaThe Federal Operations Unit Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted and seized a luxurious bus in Enugu.

The bus, with Enugu State registration number XK 241 ENU, was carrying substance suspected to be cannabis sativa to the tone of 399.5 kilogram, valued at 9million naira.

While handing over the bags of cannabis sativa to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, at the Enugu State Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Area Comptroller of FOU Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr Victor Dimka, said that the driver of the luxurious bus was intercepted along 9th Mile axis of Enugu State.

He stated that his men, having gotten reliable information from their sources, trailed the driver from his pick up point to the point of arrest.

Mr Dimka expressed displeasure over the activities of drug dealers in the zone despite numerous awareness against drug trafficking.

He warned all drug dealers to stay clear of the zone as his men were better equipped and committed to ensure that drug trafficking and smuggling is totally eradicated.

The Enugu State Commander of the NDLEA, Mr Anthony Ohayere, also called on the public to support the NDLEA by giving them useful information that would aid them in arresting drug dealers.

He noted that the fight against drug trafficking should not be left in the hands of NDLEA and security operatives alone.

Seized Funds: APC Reps Stage Walk Out Over Controversial $9.3m

Seized Funds

The House of Representatives session got off to a rowdy start on Tuesday morning as opposition lawmakers stormed out of plenary.

This was after the lower chamber rejected a motion to investigate the impounding of a private jet in South Africa, laden with 9.3 million dollars purportedly to buy arms for the Nigerian Government.

Members of the All Progressives Congress at the House of Representatives staged a walkout on the House after a stalled debate on the controversial $9.3m seized by the South African government.

Opposition lawmakers believe the Federal Government has some explaining to do and are urging them not to sweep the matter under the carpet.

They questioned the decision of the speaker not to allow a debate on the matter.

But the Deputy Majority Leader, Leo Ogor, disputed the opposition lawmakers’ stands, insisting that the motion would have amounted to waste of parliamentary time.

The opposition lawmakers are also saying that the matter is far from over, as they will try to re-introduce the matter on the floor of the House of Representatives.

They urged Nigerians to demand an explanation to the matter.

 

Last week, South African authorities dismissed the Nigerian Government’s explanation about the purpose of the seized funds which was seized from two Nigerians and an Israeli for flawed discrepancies.

The Federal Government had submitted relevant data and transaction details to the South African authorities, insisting that the seized funds were not laundered or smuggled for any covert reasons.

Attempts to debate the motion on Tuesday failed after a voice vote called by the presiding Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, went in favour of the majority, who opposed the debate.