Customs: Ogun I Command, Integration Art Palace And Tour Company Promotes Creative Trade Skills Among Youths To Forestall Smuggling In Border Communities

By Stephen Ubanna

When President Bola Ahemed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state, established the ministry of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, nobody knew that it will become a major revenue spinner for the country.

The former Lagos state governor may have created the new ministry because there are many creative industries in the country like music, performing arts, acting, visual arts and Panting. This is in addition to Crafts such a weaving, furniture- making and jewelry-making. Others are Film making, Television, animation, visual effects, video, radio, photography, and product design, graphic design and fashion and, museums, galleries and heritage, virtual reality and extended reality.

Hajia Hannatu Musawa, the minister of the newly created ministry who had described creative economy   as an economy of ideas, innovation and invention in the digital age had left  no one doubt  that t will drive the growth of the economy   as it will foster collaboration  among government  agencies, private sector  entities andacademia. The minister had said that the target of the ministry is to increase   the value of sect or al outputs by 50% in line with the 2021 to 2025 national development plan.

Cultural Display at the Ogun I, Command and Integration Palace and tour Company art Festival organized at Idiroko

True to the minister’s words,   the Integration Art Palace and Tour Company, and Ogun I, Command of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, under the close watch of Compt. Shuaibu Ahmadou Bello, are currently  working together to promote  the Festival of Art and Culture  in the border Communities in Ogun, a border state between Nigeria and the  neighbouring Benin Republic.

Hameed Oloyede, a Chief Superintendent of Customs and the Command spokesperson had confirmed that the  Art Company  in collaboration with the Ogun I, Command ,  has organized  an Art Festival  that lasted for days , at Idiroko. The Art Festival which was said to have commenced on Saturday, February 10, 2024, was said to haven ended on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, amid call for more of such events that will bring the two countries closer in economic collaboration.

Cross section of participants at an art festival held recently in Idiroko, Ogun state

The Gun I, Customs spokesperson   had said that the Art Festival   that organized recently in the former President Olusegun Obasanjo home state was the third in the series. The theme of this year’s event, according the Ogun I Area Command image maker was: The Role of NCS in Economic Development and National Security.

The event was said to have been attended by people rom all walks of life both within and outside the state,  including participants from  Olabisi Adebanjo  University, Ago-Iwoye  Yaba College of Technology , Lagos, Nigeria’s Financial and Commercial Capital and some selected secondary schools  in Ipkokia Local Government Area of the state.

One of the secondary schools that participated at the rent art festival held at Idiroko by Ogun I, Command , Integration Palace and Tour Company

Gien an insider information,  CSC  Oloyede, dsclosed that on the first day  of the vent, Participants  had paid  homage  to the Oniko of  Ikolaje  Idiroko, Oba John Olakunle Ojo, JP, while on Sunday,,February 11, 2024,  at the instance of the Command Area Controller ,  he took them  on a tour of the sentry  Customs House , where the Command seized Contraband items across the state  ranging from fairly used vehicles, pneumatic tyres, Asian countries  of  Thailand par boiled rice and Indian Agricultural par boiled rice  including intercepted gallon of 25 Kg  of petroleum products are warehoused.

The Customs spokesperson was said to have also taken the participants at the Idiroko Art event to the destruction site for  for seized  foreign poultry products  and intimating them on the circumstances  surrounding  the seizures  of the Contraband items and why the service would continue to seize such prohibited goods until the smugglers turn a new leaf and stop sabotaging the nation’s economy.

Asymposium  was said to have bee held  in the conference  room  of the Command’s Headquarters  at Idiroko,  a border Community between Nigeria and Benin Republic , on Monday  , February 12, 2024, the third day of the event.

In attendance at the Symposium, at the Command Idiroko Headquarters were Compt. Shuaibu and his Management Team, IK. Ikiriko, Director of State Service, DSS, in the south west Ogun state, Heads of other security agencies in the state and the Deputy Mayor of Ifoyin CCommunity , Igolo, Benin.

Compt. Shuaibu, who could not hide his feelings in his welcome address, had commended Bonny Botoku,  the organizer for his initiative, urging him not relent in sustaining the programme that has brought people from the two West African countries into a closer working relationship.

The Customs Comptroller was said to have also sed the opportunity provided  by the Arts  Festival to congratulate the participants, particular, the Youths from the border Community Communities  who took time out to  be at the symposium  which was  very revealing.

Describing the art event as a panacea for youth restiveness in the Land border areas in the state, he noted that it will encourage the development of their creative skills in art.  An appreciative Compt. Shuaibu, may have gladdened the heart of the participant at the Symposium when he stated the importance of creative art ‘’ in attracting tourist and as a viable means of livelihood’’.

He  may have given the organizers of the event a word of encouragement  not to relent in organizing the art Fe in the state Festival   when he gave his word of ‘’the Command’s continuous support ‘’. In apparent response to the Ogin I, Area Controller speech,

 Bokotu, the initiator of the glamorous art Festival in Idiroko, Ikpokia Local Government Area of the state, disclosed his passion for art which had prompted him to initiate the Festival ‘’to encourage the younger generation interested in art to do so’’. He had explained his collaboration with the Ogun I,  Command over the years  in organizing the event due to  its  significant  contributions  to the country’s economy and security challenges.

Emmanuella Chukwu, an Assistant Comptroller, and the guest speaker at the symposium, was said to have highlighted core functions of the service which includes revenue generation, suppression of smuggling, facilitation of trade and the security of the nation’s Land border areas.

The Customs Asistant Comptroller had was said to have  revealed the various  revenues that had been generated by the Customs over the years from  import duties, excise duties,   auction sales and export proceeds as parts of  the  way the NCS  contribute to the development of the nation. She was more emphatic on the service anti-smuggling operation and counter-terrorism efforts as a means through which  it has continued  to contribute  to the  maintenance of the country’s security.

DC. Ogunesan, Rep. of Compt. Shuaibu, pose with winners of the art festival competition

The  grand finanale of the art Festival  which took place on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, at the Integration  Art Palace  and Tour Cultural  center in  Diroko was said to have been marked   with the presentation of Certificates  to participants by the Customs Area Controller who was said to have been represented by  DC. Charles Ogunesan. 

Prizes were said  to have been awarded  to the top three  secondary schools based on performance , with consolations  given to some other schools for encouragement. The art exhibition was officially by DC. Ogunesan,  the Ogun I , Area Controller Representative and will remain open to the public  until February 28, 2024.

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