Customs Seizes Foreign Rice, Vehicles Worth N145m In Niger State

The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Niger and Kogi Area command, has seized imported rice, vehicles and second hand bale clothing with duty paid value of about N145 million in the third quarter of 2019.

The Comptroller in charge of the command, Yusuf Abba- Kassim, announced this while displaying the seized items before newsmen in Minna on Thursday.

Mr Abba-Kassim said a total of 3,529 kilogrammes of imported bags of rice with duty paid value of over N62 million were seized by officers and men in different parts of the area command.

According to him, 2 used vehicle’s with duty paid value of over N32 million were also seized under the command’s new anti-smuggling strategies which he said had been yielding positive results.

He said that 1, 018 bales of second hand clothing with duty paid value of over N48 million were seized within the command’s area of coverage.

The comptroller said the command had also arrested one DAF diesel tanker with registration number RBC 05 ZS suspected to be concealing 500 bags of foreign rice on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway.

He described smugglers as economic saboteurs and advised them to desist from such act.
He said the command was committed to the eradication of all forms of smuggling activities within its area of jurisdiction.

Four Persons Declares Wanted by the Nigerian Navy

The Nigerian Navy has on Tuesday declared four (4) persons wanted for
complicity in theft of petroleum products in Nigeria’s maritime

The persons declared wanted include ;Mr. Enikanologbon Happy, Mr. Arumona Daniel, Mr. Ebujie Kingsley Chinonso, and Mr. Ogori Kenneth.

In a statement made available by the Naval spokesman, Commodore Suleman Dahun in Abuja explain that the above persons are crew of a merchant vessel Grace Water, which was arrested on 8th October, 2018 laden with ninety(90) Matric tonnes of illegally sourced Petroleum products.

Dahun therefore call on anyone with useful information of the whereabouts of these persons to contact the naval provost Marshal, Naval Headquarters, Abuja on 08037442228,08037175817,and 0813879923 or contact any nearest Naval establishment, Army, Air Force or police unit.

Customs (FOU), Zone “A intercepts N379m Indian hemp, other Items

The  Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Unit (FOU), Zone “A” said for the period under review, the breakdown of the seizures recorded with their appropriate Duty Paid Values (DPV) from August 17 to December 10, 2018 (copy attached).  Within this period, we intercepted various contrabands with a duty paid value (DPV) of N5.1Billion.

Mohammed Aliyu, FOU Zone A Customs Area Comptroller, made the disclosure to the Journalists in Lagos, that his aims and objectives are to compliment the Comptroller General’s Policy of entrenching transparency and integrity while enforcing the core mandate of the Service is the determining factor for his uncompromising stand to curb any form of criminality to its barest minimum with the coming of Mohammed Aliyu, who many say is performing excellently well in his jurisdiction. Comptroller Aliyu has become a thorn in the flesh of the hoodlums, he has led several raids against notorious smugglers, and has demonstrated a strength of a good leadership to the (NCS)

The seized items include 24 unit of seized vehicles and 34 exotic vehicles on detention (58), 39,664 bags of foreign parboiled rice (the equivalent of 66 trailers), 3,252 frozen poultry products, 2,887 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 3,792 parcels of Indian Hemp, 5x20ft containers of unprocessed wood, 2,520 bales.

The Comptroller stated that being the head of the second layers of defense (FOU) in enforcing the role of the Service and complementing the activities of the Area Commands, the resolute stand of the Unit occasioned by the aggressive enforcement of the Federal Government policy across the border Commands he superintends is a task that must be accomplished and cannot be overemphasized.

Observers believe that smuggling rate in that Unit and environs has been reduced to its barest minimum with the coming of  Mohammed Aliyu who many say is performing excellently well in (FOU), Zone “A, and his competent and proactive service has brought so many innovations to his present Unit.

He promised that the unit would continue to combat smuggling in that axis, and he is leaving no stone unturned he said.

By Chuks Samuel.

DC Gaya: An officer committed to Enhance compliance level Via system Observer, to boost revenue

Greatness is a property for which no man can receive credit too soon; it must be possessed long before it is acknowledged. When one of the world’s greatest thinkers, Ralph Waldo Emerson handed down the above words of wisdom, those he had in mind were certainly the likes of DC.Gaya Y.M, the Area Project Manager (APM) Apapa Customs Command, Lagos. For the trail-blazing Customs officer par excellence from Dundun in Kano state, it is certainly impossible to gloss over his attributes for greatness.

Very few people appreciate their purpose in life and still understand the components of that purpose. Deputy Comptroller Gaya Y.M, Area Project Manager, Apapa Customs Command, Lagos will stand out among the few who had more than a fleeting nation of their sojourn on earth.

He is a rare breed who viewed life solely from the perspective of his God and knew that life’s purpose can only be fulfilled when self-will is surrounded to Almighty. DC. Gaya is a very supportive, encouraging and inspiring fellow; whatever he sets his mind on, he does passionately and quietly.

He is a loving, kind-hearted man and this shows in his dealing with all that come across him, including his fellow officers to be rated as one of the best customs officers in the country can never be a mean achievement. One peculiarity of Gaya Mohammed is that he operates with synergy in his relationship with not only customs officers but also officers of other sister agencies in commands he has served.

This amiable fellow is a man who has been identified as being effective and efficient in carrying out his official duties. He a crusader of integrity who believes in efficiency and improved revenue generation as well as zero tolerance for corruption.

A graduate of the University of Sokoto with BSc. degree in Economics and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. A native of Dundun in Kano state.Professionally, DC. Gaya who is vast in customs operations has attended several courses both locally and internationally like the Crown Agents, Accra, Ghana in 2010.

Since he joined the Nigeria Customs Service in 1990, he has moved through ranks in several commands where he served in various capacities and has made very remarkable achievements like Borno state, Murtala Mohammed International Airport customs command, Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Rivers state as Area Project Manager, Abakiliki out-station as Patrol Team Leader and Apapa command, Lagos where he is currently operating as Area Project Manager . He has always exhibited resilience in any command he serves by ensuring improved compliance level through system monitoring and increased revenue generation.

If competence as an Area Project Manager (APM) is anything to go by, Deputy Comptroller Gaya Y.M. can be described as an epitome of technical knowledge within the Nigeria Customs Service based on his professional experience which has manifested itself when he realized N1.2B from a reputable Telecommunication company into the Federal Government coffers as officer in charge of Query & Amendment.DC. Gaya and his group have also recovered N5.5B in a single transaction by an Offshore Oil company through excise control and development and that has been commendable as it is a very remarkable achievement in the history of Nigeria Customs Service.

In his exploits as the Area Project Manager (APM) in Onne Customs Command of the service where he was privileged to serve under several Area Controllers such as Comptrollers Richard Oteri, Mohammed Mogaji, Gummi Hamzat,Babani A.T several monumental achievements of the command could be traced to the unseen hands of the amiable Deputy Comptroller, Gaya Y.M., an erudite and articulate customs officer who is thoroughly diligent when carrying out his duties.

Based on the report made available to Grassroots Publishers, Gaya’s deployment to head the CPC/ASSYCUDA Unit of the command where he served for about 5 years,the revenue profile of the command which before then stood between N4 billion to N5 billion and in some rare cases N7 billion per month was seen to have over the time shoot up incrementally to about N8 billion, N9 billion, N10 billion per month.

This feat was attributed to his resolve to have prudently plugged several loopholes, which eventually led to increase in compliance level of trade. Several loopholes that were capitalized on by economic saboteurs were said to be detected by his led team and consequently plugged, and this, in the long run, had improved the revenue performance of the command.

His transfer to Apapa command of the service widely acclaimed to be the highest revenue earning command as APM in the last general redeployment of Deputy Comptrollers of Customs cadre once again is an attestation of professional competence garnered over the years which has endeared him to the highly elevated technical position.

PTML Customs Command Generates N98.9bn Revenue …Records 29.3% Increase

The PTML Command of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has generated over N98.9billion into the coffers of the Federal Government in 2018 fiscal year. The Public Relations Officer, PRO of the Command, Mr. Yakubu M. A. made this known, in a document signed and made available to Grassroots Publishers in Lagos.

According to him, the Command collected the huge sum of N98.9billion from the period covering January to October this year.

Yakubu further explained that N78.2billion revenue was generated by the same Command from January to October 2017 economic year.

He said, “N78.2billion revenue was realized in the same period under review in 2017, while N98.9billion has been generated in 2018. Comparatively, this shows the revenue surplus of N20.6billion, which also shows a percentage increase of about 29.3”

Yakubu also said that the current Customs Area Controller, CAC, of the Command, Comptroller Florence Dixon, is working tirelessly to increase revenue collection for the government while ensuring trade facilitation for greater economic growth.

Customs Unveil Illegal Import of 1570 Pump Action Rifiles- Witness

The Deputy Superintendent of Customs, Nwaiwu Chibuzor Ginikanwa, today, told Justice  Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos, how the Nigerian  Customs Service(NCS) discovered the 1570 pump action rifles illegally imported into the country by some businessmen through the Tincan Island Port, Lagos.

Ginikanwu, a Deputy Superintendent of Customs with the Intelligence unit, Tincan Island Command, Lagos appeared as a prosecution witness in the trial of Ayogu Great James, Ifeuwa Moses Christ and a company, Great James Oil and Gas Limited, facing trial for alleged importation of 1570 pump action rifles into the country.

While being led in evidence by the Prosecutor, Mr. Julius Ajakaiye, a Deputy Director with the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ginikanwa said she was on normal routine surveillance on September 6, 2017 at the Tincan Island Container Port, Lagos with  the list of containers to be positioned for examination on that day in which a 1by 20 feet container was also among.

The witness added that on her way to inspect some containers, an agent by name, Ndubuisi approached her and gave her a photocopy of a Bill of Laden.

The Customs officer said that after inspecting the first container belonging to another person, she proceeded to carry out an inspection on the container which Ndubuisi has given her the Bill of Laden.

Ginikanwa said on approaching the container, she saw two agents standing by the container with the container already opened. “I noticed some cartons wrapped in sacks with one of the cartons turned open.”

The witness said on a closer look, she saw guns and that immediately the two agents, Ikechukwu Okafor, and Ndubuisi realized that she has seen the guns in the sacks, they quickly locked the container and ran away.

Ginikanwa said she quickly alerted her boss, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Bomoi Sulaimon, who in turn, quickly drafted other operatives to join her at the terminal to secure the container while her boss also contacted Deputy Comptroller Enforcement, Nnandi Vera.

The witness said she and the reinforcement from her unit were at the terminal until the arrival of the Enforcement Unit who took the container away for 100 percent physical examination.

“When I get back to the office on that day, I received a call from a telephone number 08026797600 and the person who called was begging me in Ibo language to help secure the release of the container.”

The witness added that further investigation of the call line revealed the caller to be one Emeka Festus

During today’s trial, the prosecutor, Ajakaiye tendered the certified true copy of the Bill of Laden given to Ginikanwa by Ndubuisi and it was admitted in evidence as the defendant’s lawyers did not oppose to its admissibility.

Meanwhile, Justice Saidu has adjourned the further hearing in the matter till January, 16th and 24th of next year.

Recalled that the court yesterday (Wednesday), refused the bail applications filed by the alleged gun runners, Ayogu Great James and one Ifeuwa Moses Christ.

The duo alongside a company, Great James Oil and Gas Limited, located at Number 1, Warehouse Road, Apapa, Lagos   were first arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu on October 11 this year by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

The defendants were arrested by men of Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) with the said pump action rifles concealed in two 1×20 feet containers, under the pretense of bringing in wash hand basins and Water Closets (WC) from China.

In a charge marked FHC/L/339c/18, the defendants were alleged to have uttered forged  Bill of Laden and Customs Form M, which they used in smuggling the pump action rifles into the country.

During their arraignment, they were slammed with the eight counts charge bordering on conspiracy, illegal importation of firearms and forgery and uttering of Customs’ import documents

The offenses according to the prosecutor, Mr. Julius Ajakaiye are contrary to and punishable under Section 3(6), 1(14)(a), 1(14)(a)(i), 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charge, following which their lawyers who include: Mahmud Mogaji and Wale Adesokan, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), filed their bail applications and urged the court to grant same.

However, the Prosecutor, Mr. Ajakaiye, in his preliminary objection and counter-affidavits to the applications, opposed the defendants’ bail applications on the ground that the charges against them bothered on national security.

Ruling on the bail applications of the defendants yesterday, (Wednesday), Justice Saidu said, “individual liberty cannot be placed above national security.

“The charges against the defendants is considered as a serious charge with the level of insecurity in the country such as armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and the rest.

“Considering the nature of the charge, I can’t exercise my discretion in favour of the defendants. I hereby refused the bail applications”.

After refusing the defendants’ bail applications, the prosecutor, Mr. Ajakaiye, informed the court of an amended charge against the defendants.

He also told the court that amendment was sequel to the inclusion of one Emeka Umeh Festus, also known as Amankwa, who is said to be at large when others were arraigned before the court on October 11.

Upon taken the not guilty plea of all defendants on the amended charge, the matter was adjourned till today for commencement of trial of all the defendants.

Ayogu, a resident of Plot 291, Dawaki extention, opposite Gwarinpa Estate, Abuja, was arraigned alongside his company, Great James Oil and Gas Limited, locates at 1, Warehouse Road, Apapa, Lagos and one Emeka Umeh Festus, also known as Amankwa, who is said to be at large.

The prosecutor that  in a bid to illegally and  unlawfully bring in the weapons, the defendants ulterred and forged Bill of lading, issued in July 28, 2017, to read Guandong, China, instead of Istanbul, Turkey, which was written on the conveying container.

They were also alleged to have uttered Form M (application for Import) and Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), issued in August 28, 2017, with number MF 20170080364 and CN 20170768490/001, respectively, to read Guandong, China instead of Istanbul, Turkey, as country of origin.

The defendants were also alleged to have altered a forged bill of lading numbered ISB0281398, issued in July 28, 2017, to read 230 packages of wash hand basin and W/C, as the content in the container used in shipping in the illegal firearms.

Seme, Togo border posts to get EU’s cargo scanners

The inauguration and handover ceremony which was attended by Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, ECOWAS Commission President, Commissioners Pathé Gueye (Infrastructure) and Francis Béhanzin (Political Affairs, Peace and Security), Ketil Karlsen, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria, alongside several political and administrative authorities from Benin and Nigeria will make life a little easier for our citizens and other travelers shuttling between the two countries. Our police administrations will cooperate closely to ensure our safety. Our customs administrations will be more effective in carrying out their duties. Bringing our border agencies together and interconnecting them will improve their performance and facilitate the movement of persons and goods,” according to Controller, Seme Command of the NCS, Mohammed Garba.

Mohammed Garba confided to the Grassroots Publishers that Seme, Togo border posts will soon get EU’s cargo scanners Following the commitments made by technical and trade partners, the European Union (EU), at the commissioning of the Seme and Togo border posts last month, the borders are expected to take delivery of two cargo scanners hopefully before the end of the year.

According to Compt. Mohammed Garba the soon-to-be-deployed scanners are expected to aid trade facilitation along the West African corridors.

Grassroots Publishers in a group picture with Compt. Mohammed Garba , Seme Border Custom Area Controller and his Benin Republic counterpart Mrs. Ahariat

Controller, Seme Command of the NCS, Mohammed Garba confirmed to Grassroots Publishers that the “facilities are already imported and currently lying at Cotonou port”.Garba reiterated that the modern border post would boost international trade across boarders strengthen the trade relationship between Nigeria and its neighbouring countries.

He said: “It (the new border post) will improve on our revenue generation by way of exchange of information, sensitization and we will be working together with the Benin counterpart. I can assure you the illegal trade will be minimized to the barest minimum,”

Garba, who was highly optimistic that the facility would enhance their operations said: “Everything here is provided by the EU, including the chairs. The scanners and other electronics will also be provided by them. Already, Two scanners have arrived. They are in Cotonou port.” He said the NCS still operates its existing scanner at the border, but noted that any good can be subjected to 100 percent examination at any point in time, as the Customs deemed fit, especially as regards the nature of such goods.

He said the officers are yet to fully move to the new facility, as some facilities, such as the Information Communication Technology (ICT) among others are yet to be fixed. The customs building will be occupied by Nigeria and Benin officers.

Movement of goods and persons are now allowed through the new facility.

President Buhari had said the border post, which sits on 17 hectares of land, would enhance trade facilitation by combining border clearance activities in a single location, increase cooperation and coordination of controls, in addition to fostering data and intelligence sharing between Nigeria and the Benin Republic.

”The Border Post is strategically important and lies on the Lagos-Cotonou-Lome-Accra-Abidjan corridor, which accounts for about 70% of the entire transit traffic in the sub-region.”

He enjoined the joint committee with membership from Nigeria and Benin to ensure that border officials are sensitized on the mode of operation of the joint border post concept, which is a big departure from the traditional mode of operation.

Customs officers reject N150m bribe on Tramadol imports …•Two helicopters impounded …Seized N7.3bn Tramadol

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) said yesterday that it had intercepted 40 by 40 feet containers laden with Tramadol and other dangerous pharmaceutical products worth over N7.3billion. A large number of dangerous drugs, NCS said, were imported into the country by some scrupulous importers from India to endanger the health of the nation.

An attempt by the importers to bribe Customs officers with over $400,000 (about N150million), to effect the release of just one container out of the 40 seized, it was gathered, was rebuffed by the officers.

Addressing reporters at the Apapa command of the Service while displaying the dollars yesterday, its Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (Retd), said NCS has also impounded two helicopters that can be used for nefarious activities.

One of the helicopters with registration number SN-BLI, the Customs helmsman said, was intended for export, and was concealed in container number PONU7789246, while the second helicopter, a Cessna 182A, was imported into the country from the United States of America for unknown assignment.

Ali said the first helicopter was falsely declared as 388 bags of cashew nuts, while the second was concealed in container number MRKU 4457663 before they were intercepted by some vigilant and patriotic officers of the command.

Its importation, Ali said, violates Section 36 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), Cap C45, LFN 2004 over failure to provide End-User-Certificate from the offices of the National Security Adviser and approval from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.

The investigation, the CGC said, was ongoing to fish out the owners of the two helicopters.

He said three suspects with some Customs officers that were involved in the clearance of some of the containers laden with Tramadol drugs from the port have been arrested for further investigation and possible prosecution.

SAHCO, Arik Air renew handling contract

The Managing Director/CEO, SAHCO, Mr. Basil Agboarumi, during the renewal of ground handling service agreement with Arik Air at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos promised to deliver quality and improved ground handling services to all its clientele across the nation’s airports especially as it acquires more state-of-the-art equipment for operations.

Basil disclosed that some new ground handling equipment of the company would in the next few weeks arrive the country, saying that this would further improve the quality of its service to its clients, including Arik Air.

According to him, since the company was acquired by Sifax Group of Companies about nine years ago, the board had strived to improve the quality of services to its clients, stressing it would continue to grow its services especially as the company is enlisted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

On the renewed agreement with Arik Air, Agboarumi emphasised that it portends endorsement and credibility on the services of the ground handling company. The agreement was renewed for another three years.

He said: “Today is unique for SAHCO. The Initial Public Offering (IPO) for SAHCO begins today (Monday) and we are signing this contract with Arik Air. Arik Air has been with SAHCO for several years and we have witnessed the growth of the company over the years.

“We are happy that the new management has established the airline on the right path. Arik Air is a good company to do business with. We are very proud to associate with the airline. Wherever Arik Air is mentioned, we will stand up for you. We have new equipment coming in. Some of them are on the high seas, while others are with us here already in the country.

“We have warehouses in Port Harcourt, Kano, Lagos and Abuja and we are ready to build warehouses wherever they are needed. You have to understand that we are business people. If there is a need for business expansion to any airport in the country, we will not hesitate to do that. Not just in Enugu, but across Nigeria. As long as the business is expanding to those sides, you will see SAHCO there.

“You will understand that we are the only ground handling company that operates in all commercially operated airports in Nigeria. So, when it comes to warehouses and we are sure that it will be utilized to the fullest capacity, we will be there.”

Also, the Vice President, Ground Operations, Arik Air, Mr. Murat Ozcan, expressed excitement with the renewed agreement with the ground handling company.

Ozcan also said that the airline had for the past five years developed a mutual relationship with SAHCO.

He explained that the renewed agreement would run for three years, adding that the management would be willing to constantly renew its contracts with the ground handling company.

He posited that equipment of SAHCO had improved over the years and urged the management to constantly invest in state-of-the-art equipment.

“We have a very long standing relationship with SAHCO and they have always been there for Arik Airlines. For the past five years, we have had a very great experience with them and I am happy to say that we have signed for another three years for SAHCO to provide ground handling assistance for our networks.

“It is a very happy day for us and we will be looking forward to work with them for the next three years as well as many more years to come.”

SAHCO is an Aviation Ground Handling company, offering services in Passenger Handling, Ramp Handling, Cargo Handling and Warehousing, Aviation Security, Baggage Reconciliation, Crew Bus and Executive Lounge Services and other related Ground Handling Services.

Four Nab as Customs reads riot act on smuggling

Four persons have been arrested for smuggling contraband items, including cars, banned drugs, and foreign rice, by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

NCS, in its clampdown on the importation of prohibited items, warned smugglers that it is up to the task to prevent smuggling of goods as the Yuletide approaches.

The Area Customs Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone C, Kayode Olusemire, warned smugglers that the Customs would prevent smuggling of goods, especially rice and cars through land borders.

Olusemire, who addressed reporters at the Benin office of the NCS, said in the last few days, four people have been arrested, while posh cars and other goods with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N240 million have been intercepted.

He said among the items confiscated were expensive cars of different brands, hard drugs such as cannabis sativa, hundreds of bags of rice and beverages.

These, Olusemire said, included Range Rover and Toyota cars, 131 sacks of 10 kg each of Indian hemp, more than 430 bags of rice and other items.

Olusemire, who addressed reporters at the Benin office of the NCS, said in the last few days, four people have been arrested, while posh cars and other goods with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N240 million have been intercepted.

He said among the items confiscated were expensive cars of different brands, hard drugs such as cannabis sativa, hundreds of bags of rice and beverages.

These, Olusemire said, included Range Rover and Toyota cars, 131 sacks of 10 kg each of Indian hemp, more than 430 bags of rice and other items.

He said smugglers were taking advantage of increased rainfall, especially at night, to carry out their nefarious activities.

Olusemire said no Form ‘M’ has been signed by the Customs for the importation of rice, yet more and more bags of imported rice continue to flood the markets every day.

He assured that his men are determined to stop smuggling.