Customs Favours Partnership To Enhance Efficiency ,Says CG Adeniyi; Senate Probes Buhari’ s Regime  Over Mismanagement of N30 trn

By Stephen Ubanna

 Not many are surprised that Ogun I, Command, of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, under the close watch of Compt. Shuaibu Ahmadou Bello, described as a workaholic in maritime circles, has partnered with Integration Palace and Tour Company to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum in Ogun, former President Olusegun Obasanjo home state.

The Customs Area Command, which may be acting out the script of Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, Customs Comptroller General and Integration Palace and Tour Company officials appears to have penetrated the ranks of students in secondary schools in the Idiroko, Ikpokia Local government,  Yelwa North, Yelwa south, Imeko Afon  other Local government Areas in Ogun, former President Olusegun Obasanjo home state to sensitize them on the dangers of smuggling and embrace education for brighter future.

Wale Adeniyi: CG, Customs

Compt. Shuaibu had said that’’ in demonstration of its commitment to furtherance of Customs and Border Communities engagement’’, the Ogun I, Command, and Integration Palace and Tour Company agreed to organize a five-day Art Festival for Economic development and National security between Nigeria, the most populous country in the African Continent and the neigbouring Benin Republic.

An elated Compt. Shuaibu who had emphasized the benefits of the Collaboration over the years had said that the Ogun I, Command had been partnering with Bonny A. Botoku, the initiator of the programme as its own of its Corporate Social Responsibility’’ to engage the Youths to know what the mandate of the service ’’, revenue generation, anti-smuggling, trade facilitation and national security.  The Customs Comptroller who sees the Platform as an avenue of creating awareness on the part of pupils and students in primary and secondary schools respectively is optimistic that it is capable of shaping their thoughts in the future to shun smuggling and engage in genuine trade.

He was said to have told participants at the 5-day event that if the youths are fully engaged to imbibe the societal ethical values of hard work, it and not seeing Customs personnel as enemies standing on their way, it will reduce youth restiveness, Banditry, smuggling and armed robbery that had been associated with the borderline Communities between Nigeria and Benin over the years.

 He had said that Youths could engage in many creative arts that could make them to become self-sufficient in the future and not have the impression that it is only through smuggling that they can make ends meet. There are many of such creative arts trade  skills that Youths of these borderline communities  could easily engage  without engaging in smuggling in smuggling activities that may  endanger their lives ranging from  music,  performing arts, acting, visual arts, and painting.

Compt. Shuaibu: Area Controller , Ogun I

This is in addition to crafts   such as weaving, furniture-making, and jewelry-making, film –making, Television animation, visual effects, video, radio, photography and product design. Graphic design, fashion design, museums, galleries and heritage, virtual reality and extended reality among others.

Hajia Hannatu Musawa, minister of the newly created ministry of Art, Culture and Creative Economy and officials of the ministry were said to have also taken the campaign to Youths across the 36 states of the Federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on the need to engage on these creative arts to be relevant in the society in the future.

Bonny A. Botuku, the initiator of the programme, had said that if ‘’the society understand properly the role being played by the NCS, in the country’s economy, the people would be able to facilitate the work they are doing and create a conducive atmosphere for the officers will be able to perform their day to duty duties without any lost of life.

Giving an insider information noted that the programme is to sensitize residents of the borderline Communities and beyond, particular, the youths who abandon schools to aid and abet smugglers for their own pecuniary gains of the key functions of the service and to see Customs personnel as their friends and not enemies.  Botoku, who could not hide his feelings had said that students of the secondary schools who had been invited for the event are the ones that would be the Ambassadors of the ant-smuggling war in the south west state in the future. 

At the National level,  the Customs Leadership  was said  have entered into a working agreement with  their Counterpart   in the Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA , to promote national security and forge strong working relations .  Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General, had told those cares to listen that ‘’the service believes in partnership’’ ,  stating with the collaboration with other  Customs Administrations and government agencies including other organization s in the private sector, there will be a   fundamental growth  in the country’ economy.

Given the role of DIA , in intelligence gathering,  my have informed  why  the Customs helmsman had expressed deeper partnership with  the government security agency  to enhance robust intelligence sharing , which he had said would  help the two agencies  to effectively address the security  challenges  across  the borderline Communities in the north western states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Borno, Jigawa, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo,Osun, Cross river and Akwa Ibom states.

He noted that it will further enhance the efficiency of the officers in the service anti-smuggling operations across the country.  Samuel Chinda, a Vice Marshall, and Chief of Defence Intelligence  , who was said to have represented  Emmanuel Parker, an Army Major General and Chief of Defence Staff, who was at the meeting  with the Customs Authorities where  the deal was struck   had described the Collaboration with the NCS,  as ‘’integral to in combating border threats’’.

This may have encouraged him to assure the Customs Authorities that  DIA  will include  the service officers  in  its various intelligence  training  programmes  to further enhance the efficiency  of  its personnel in anti-smuggling operations.

Kashim Settima, a former governor of Borno state who incidentally is Nigeria’s Vice President, may have shocked Nigerian when he disclosed recently that 45 trucks load of maize were intercepted by security operatives while making their way to Niger and other neigbouring African countries along the Ilela axis, Araba, Damba, Sabon Gari Garu, and Kamalo, Darna Tsolawo, Tozai, Gidan Katta, Gidan Hamma and Rungumawan  Gatti  districts     that are believed to  have 32 illegal smuggling  routes , between Nigeria and Niger Republic. Informed sources told The Value News that there are about 300 smugglers operating in Ilela Border Community and is 11 district Areas in Sokoto state alone.  

Vice President Shettima, had said that’’ there are forces who are hell-bent in undermining the country’’, stating that this is the time ‘’to coalesce into a singular identity ‘’ to fight the hoodlums who fuel the embers of division and violence because of the current hardships in the country.

Recall that February 19, 2024, 50  trucks  conveying  foodstuffs  out of the country   to Niger Republic  to sell by the merchants were  intercepted  by the Zamfara state Transport Agency .The Zamfara state Transport  Agency which had grounded the trucks loaded with assorted grains  were  said to have intimated the Sokoto/Zamfara Customs Authorities  about the trucks conveying the foodstuffs   at Gidan Jija villa, thus  given them room to move into action to block all the illegal routes used the smugglers in the state.The worry of many was that while Nigerians  are hungry,

The situation in Nigeria is so bad that it could be compared to the 30 months Nigerian –Biafran war where food was served in refugee camps in Communities in the short lived Biafra Republic. This is evident going by what is happening in the north eastern state of Borno, where Ali Ndume , Senate , Majority Chief Whip,  in collaboration with the Federal government  through the ministry of Agriculture  and Food Security,  has unveiled Palliatives   and the distribution of  30,436  assorted bags of local parboiled rice  and maize  to nine Local government areas in the state  to cushion the hardships faced by the people of Borno South Senatorial district.  Including foreign processed vegetable oil.

The NCS, Management was said to have also taken it upon itself   to mitigate  the hunger in the country  and reduce  the soaring prices  of food items and Pharmaceutical products in the country as it announced plans  to dispose  off  undisclosed quantity  of impounded Asian countries of Thailand par boiled rice and Indian Par boiled Agricultural rice.

Sen.Akpabio: Senate President

Angered by the hardships in the country, that has made Nigeria a subject of mockery in the comity of nations  may  have forced Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom and Senate President  to reveal  to Nigerians that  all the 36  state governors  have received additional   N30 billion each  from the Federation  Account  Allocation  Committee, FAAC, apart to tackle the food insecurity in their respective states apart  from the N750.174 billion that was shared among the three tiers of government: Local, state and Fderal,  in the month of  January, 2024.

The hardship situation in the country   may have given the Lawmakers room to probe the totality of the the N30 trn Ways and Means that was said to have been spent recklessly by former President Buhari’s Administration. The aggrieved Nigerian Senators were said   to have lamented that ‘’the reckless spending of the overdraft   collected from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN,  under  the Leadership of Godwin Emefiele , largely accounted  for  the food  and security crisis  bedeviling the country  at present.

The Hallowed Chamber were said to have resolved ‘’to set up an ad-hoc Committee to carry out investigation  to ascertain on what and what  the N30 trn Ways and Means  were spent on  by the immediate  past  government since  details  of such spending, were  not made  available to the National Assembly.

The Committee , which was said to have been constituted  has been mandated to also probe   the N10 trn  expended on the Anchor Borrowers  Scheme, ABS,  the North American country of  the United States  $2.4 billion  forex transactions  out of the $ 7 billion  obligation  made for that purpose  as well as their intervention programmes.            

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