NDLEA seizes 1,699kg of illicit drugs, arrests 149 suspects in Kogi
NDLEA

…retraces decision to evict anti-drug czar from ports

FUNSHO OLOJO

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) seemed to have retraced its earlier step to shut out the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) from operating at the ports.

Under the guise of enforcing the Executive Order issued by the Acting President YemiOsibajo, the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms HadizaBalaUsman, penultimate week at a stakeholders’ meeting at Lagos ports, announced that only seven agencies are eligible to operate in the ports and they include Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) , Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) , Department of State Security (DSS), Port Health  and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) while the NDLEA will be invited to the ports when its services are needed.

This announcement pitted the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) against the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) which statutorily superintends over the enforcement of the order.

But the NDLEA vehemently contested the move to shut its operatives out of the ports, saying such attempt was in flagrant violation of the Executive order which listed the agency among those allowed to operate at the ports.

The agency however reiterated its pre-eminence as a key operator in the ports and any attempt to misinterpret the well thought-out Executive Order of the Acting President with a view to evicting her officials from the ports will be deemed as a slight on the Acting President.

Mitchell Oforyeju, NDLEA spokesperson, said in a statement that the agency’s operations in the ports are statutorily backed and urged members of the public not to be misled by reports emanating from some quarters indicating that NDLEA was not on the list of seven agencies welcomed in the ports.

Oforyeju flaunted an NPA letter inviting NDLEA to a stakeholders meeting and which stated clearly that the agency was among those cleared to operate in Nigerian seaports, “NDLEA is among the seven agencies with the presidential mandate to operate at the seaports following the decision to reduce the number of government organisations at the ports in 2012’’ noted Oforyeju.

He stated further: ” Section 8 (1b) of the NDLEA Act states that the agency shall work in collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service in monitoring the movement of goods and persons in any Customs Area, Customs Stations, Customs Ports or Customs Airports and searching cargoes and incoming and outgoing  vessels,” said Oforyeju.

The NPA has then insisted that the anti-drug agency was clearly not wanted at the ports unless otherwise invited.

However, last week, the Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Colonel Mohammad Mustapha (RTD)  threatened to take legal actions against any persons  bent on misinterpreting the Presidential Executive Order for selfish ends.

“Any attempts to violate this directive shall be considered as a conspiracy to advance the nefarious activities of drugs cartels to the detriment of our national security. This must not be condoned.” Abdullah warned.

Few hours after the threat, the NPA issued a statement that was incoherent in content and clearly suggests that the agency was confused in its earlier eviction order.

According to a press statement by Ibrahim Nasiru, a Principal Manager in the Public Affairs department of NPA who doubles as the spokesman of the agency, the NDLEA could stay in the port but a methodology on the type of cargo to be inspected by the agency will be worked out.

‘’The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) hereby reiterates the subsistence of a 2011 presidential directive for the reduction of the number of agencies that are to operate and have physical representation at the ports to eight.

‘’The  directive communicated to the Managing Director of the NPA in a 26th October, 2011 memo from the  Federal Ministry of Transportation, listed the seven approved agencies as: Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigeria Police; Department of State Security (DSS); Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and Port Health.

‘’It also stated that while the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) should remain at the ports, a methodology which would ensure that only relevant cargoes are inspected by the agency, should be worked out.

Other agencies not mentioned in the list above should remain outside the port premises while the Authority develops standard procedures to facilitate their seamless operation’’, the NPA declared in the statement.

Stakeholders described the latest statement of the NPA as a sign of capitulation in the face of the threat of the NDLEA as well as misinterpretation of the Executive Order which NPA has insisted does not include the NDLEA.

It was also noted that the NPA management was confused between the 2011 presidential order for which it predicated its latest amendment of its earlier announcement to exclude the NDLEA and the Executive order by the Acting President.

It could be recalled that in 2012, the then Minister of Finance NgoziOkonjoIweala, acting on the 2011 presidential order, had listed eight government agencies allowed to operate at the port which clearly included the NDLEA.

Egina FPSO will enhance our safety regulatory capacity- NIMASA DG.

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr DakukuPeterside has said the on-going construction of the multi-billion dollar Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) project will increase the knowledge base of NIMASA as a safety Administration and enhance its regulatory capacity.

The Director General who made this known during a meeting with the Executive Vice President of Samsung, Mr Younsang Won, Representatives of Total Nigeria and  the Vice President in charge of Egina project, Yongho Jo,  while on a working visit to inspect the project at the Samsung Shipyard in the Samsung Heavy Industries in Geoje, South Korea, said that the project which is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria will increase the knowledge base of NIMASA and ultimately fetch the country the much needed foreign exchange.

According to the DG, “this project is the first of its kind in Nigeria, it will increase our knowledge base of inspection techniques, certification and rules for maintaining classification and ultimately benefit the Nigerian economy in terms of foreign exchange”

He also assured Total and other prospective investors that the Agency would continue to create a conducive environment for investors to be able to be confident to come up with projects of this nature.

According to him “This is a mega offshore project that will bring out the best in us, let me assure you that we will discharge our responsibility as the facilitator of maritime business in Nigeria and ensure that our maritime domain remains safe and secure for this kind of projects, we will give both Samsung and Total Nigeria necessary support to actualize the Egina FPSO project for the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians “DakukuPeterside said

Dakuku further commended Samsung and Total oil for having faith in Nigeria and its effort to comply with Nigerian content law.  He particularly commended Samsung for having NIMASA Surveyors on ground at South Korea to work with world class classification societies on the project which will make certification and passage of the project easier and faster.

He however charged the Executive Vice President of Samsung to ensure compliance to the Cabotage law and other enabling Nigerian laws when the FPSO gets to Nigeria, adding that the Nigerian government is working hard to provide conducive business environment

In his response Mr Younsang Won promised the visiting NIMASA boss that the project will be ready for movement to Nigeria in August and assured that the quality of the project will bear the mark of excellence associated with Samsung Heavy industries. He promised to comply with local laws in Nigeria and do all within his powers to work with locals to build capacity in offshore projects industry.

It be noted that the FPSO is being developed for deployment in the Egina oil field, located 150km off the coast of Nigeria. The field is currently under development and production is scheduled to begin in 2018. The Egina Field when completed is expected to add 200,000 barrels per day to the National oil production by 2018.

It should also be noted that as part of the current reforms going on in the Nigerian Maritime sector, NIMASA would be taking delivery of the 5th largest floating dock which is expected to ensure vessels in need of dry dock need not go out of the country.

House of Reps commends INTELS for high standard

The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Relocation has commended the management of INTELS Nigeria Limited for building and sustaining high standards in its operations.

Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee, Hon Ibrahim Isiaka, who led 12 other members of the Committee on a tour of INTELS facility at the Onne Free Zone in Rivers State, said he was impressed with what he saw.

“I am impressed. Like I said earlier on, this is an environment I lived in and I have seen a lot of improvement especially in the expansion of the new phases you are bringing up.

“I am highly impressed with the facility on ground, the newly acquired Big Mama Crane, the mother of all cranes you have, the lifting operations; so all we need do is to gain back the confidence in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria so that all these idle vessels, idle hands, idle facilities will become operational again and people will have one or two things to do.”

Hon. Isiaka said the Ad-hoc Committee was set up to prevent the relocation of SPDC from Rivers State because of the potential negative impact such move could have on the Niger Delta region and on the national economy.

“I can assure you that with the confidence we have gained back from Shell and those that were gained from other stakeholders, by the grace of God, we should not be talking about any major oil company leaving Rivers State.

“The consequences are grave; they are high. The implication is there, so no one should think about it. No one should think about leaving an environment like this. What for? They should just look at grey areas and have them resolved. And that is why the House is going to intervene. The Speaker of the House, in his wisdom, has put this caliber of people together in the committee and you can see what we have done so far,” he said.

While conducting the lawmakers round the expansive facility at the Onne Free Zone, Head of Administration and General Services of INTELS Nigeria Limited, Mr.ChibuisiOnyebueke, said the oil and gas logistics giant has developed a “One-Stop-Shop” concept to enable it provide top class logistics service to industry operators.

He said the Onne Free Zone, which was developed by INTELS, provides a wide range of services needed for all drill and exploration projects in the oil and gas industry in sub-Sahara Africa. These services, according to him, include pipe coating and modifications, sub-sea installations, logistics, accommodation, catering, helipad and a proposed airstrip.

Mr.Onyebueke said INTELS also provides a wide range of port services to its clientele, while attracting much needed investment into Nigeria, and at the same time creating thousands of jobs for Nigerians.

According to him, the company operates with the highest global safety and security standards obtainable in the industry. He said all INTELS’ facilities are fully compliant with provisions of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code  (ISPS Code) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

INTELS, he said, has an edge over other oil and gas free zones on the African continent because of its wealth of experience that spans over three decades, proximity to concessioned blocks for oil and gas exploration, strategic location to serve as a regional hub and its highly trained and skilled workforce.

 

He said Onne is the only port in the country capable of providing series of oil and gas logistics service all at one place. He listed the services to include clearing and forwarding, drilling support, support vessels and working boats, tubular stocking and machine shop, pipe coating, cement and drilling fluids services, wellhead and subsea equipment, environmental services, dry dock/ship builders, machinery and catering services, among others.

According to him, INTELS implements the most reputable international standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and ABS Quality, which are unmatched in the maritime and oil and gas industries.

Mr.Onyebueke also told the visiting lawmakers that INTELS Nigeria Limited is fully committed to maximizing the use of Nigerian human resources, materials, equipment and services in its operations without compromising the company’s values, quality, health, safety and environmental standards.

He said INTELS has continued to enhance the participation of Nigerian businesses and local contractors in its operations in compliance with the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010.

UNSC extends inspection of Vessels off Libya for one more year

The United Nations Security Council has reauthorized its member states to inspect vessels on the high seas off Libya’s coast suspected of violation of the arms embargo imposed on the country.

With the move, the Council extended the authorizations for one more year, under which the member states are free to seize and dispose of arms and ammunition found during the inspection of such vessels.

AmrAbdellatifAboulata, Egypt’s representative pressed the Council to exclude Libya’s armed forces from the embargo in order to enable the country to protect itself.

Pointing out that the resolution addressed only one of Libya’s many challenges, he emphasized that further attention must be drawn to the fact that certain states were funding terrorist groups in the country and that more efforts were needed to track and locate illegal weapons caches.

The move is described as part of the UN’s commitment to Libya’s stability.

In 2016, UNSC issued authorization to member states to “use all measures” to inspect vessels off the coast of Libya believed to be in violation of the arms embargo.

The Council said that the decision was aimed at stopping the flow of arms and related materiel into Libya, including to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and other terrorist groups in the country

TELL names NIMASA 2016 Public Organisation

TELL Magazine has named the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as the 2016 Public Organisation of the year.
This was disclosed by IsicheiOsamgbi, Head Corporate Communication of NIMASA.
According to him, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr.DakukuPeterside, was informed of the emergence of the organsation as the recipient of the award by the Chairman, Awards Committee of TELL Magazine, Mr.BabsAlasa when he paid a courtesy visit to Peterside at the head office of NIMASA in Apapa, Lagos.
The emergence of NIMASA was through a process that began with a call for nominations from the public. Out of the three organizations nominated, NIMASA was said to have earned the highest percentage of the votes to beat the other two.
Respondents were of the opinion that NIMASA under the leadership of Dr.DakukuPeterside has undergone total reforms which have seen it playing its expected role as a facilitator of economic prosperity in the maritime sector, a position Vice President YemiOsinbajo corroborated during the 3rd conference of the Association of African Maritime Administration, (AAMA) hosted by NIMASA in conjunction with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in April 2017.
Osamgbi quotes BabsAlasa as saying “Credibility is key to the process.”

African leaders tasked on Customs capacity building

Political leaders in Africa, G20 partners and the international organisations have been urged by the Secretary General of World Customs Organisation  (WCO), Dr.KunioMikuriya to  provide sufficient resources and support for capacity building in institution building in understanding Customs strength and potential contribution.
Mikuriya stated this at the G20 Africa Conference recently held in Berlin and declared opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the presence of a number of Presidents and Ministers of Finance of African countries as well as heads of international organisations.
The main points that emerged from the keynote speeches in relation to Customs work were economic growth, domestic resource mobilisation, peace and security and capacity building.
Speaking on macroeconomic stability and developing strong tax systems, WCO Secretary General explained the Customs operational model of transaction-based real time actions and its significance in capturing commercial data at the borders, fighting effectively against fraud, and tackling the issue of illicit financial flow.
Mikuriya pointed out that building on this operational model, Customs major functions have evolved to include, inter alia, the following : efficient collection of revenue, with Customs contributing, on average, to around 40% of tax revenue in African states; provision of an enabling environment for private investment by the development of soft infrastructure for trade and transport through simplification, digitisation in collaboration with other regular agencies and a risk-based approach that is required by the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation; and contribution to security through a continuous and relentless fight against illicit trade.
He emphasised the need for ownership approach by political leaders by applying best practices that the WCO offers towards regional integration in Africa, involving the African Union and regional economic communities in a more collaborative manner.

Customs expressesconcerns over exportation of banned items at Lagos Ports

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has expressed concerns over massive exportation of prohibited items from the seaports.

This was disclosed by the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Apapa Command of the service, ComptJibrinMuhammed.

The Controller also charged prospective exporters of made in Nigeria products and other raw materials to come to Apapa Command for their exports.

“We have intercepted and detained some export containers of scrap metals, wet blue (leather) and unprocessed wood which are under export prohibition in the extant laws.”

“Investigations are on-going and sanctions will be applied inline with extant laws. However the seized pharmaceuticals will be handed over to National Agency for Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).”

Jibrin disclosed that he was ready to facilitate export trade considering the economic state and the Federal Government efforts at diversifying our economy through encouragement of exportation of agricultural products.

Also speaking on measures put in place to enforce the ease of doing business in the country, he said the command created a functional Customs examination centre to facilitate trade.

Jubrin said creating the examination centre was to implement the Federal Government’s directive on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.

“I want to use this medium to inform stakeholders that the Apapa Area Command has inline with the Federal Government’s directive on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria initiative created a functional Customs Examination Centre within APMT.

‘’This serves as a coordinating centre for all stakeholders in cargo examination at the Apapa Port.”

“I have already held a meeting with all the critical agencies where we rubbed minds on the smooth operations of the centre and they have already keyed into the project.”

“The system will continue to be perfected as the project progresses with intention to reduce human contact as well as time spent on cargo clearance.”

Customs intercepts Indian hemp imported from Ghana

 

The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) impounded 384 parcels of Indian Hemp allegedly imported from Ghana.

This was disclosed by the Customs Area Controller of the Unit, Compt. Mohammed Garba in Lagos.

Garba, who stated that the contraband was concealed in inside six bales of second hand clothing, was intercepted along Iyana-Ipaja based on intelligence.

The CAC explained further that the Unit also recovered a Duty Paid Value of N607,717,533.55 from intercepted contraband and interventions on duty payment/demand notices on general goods that tried to beat the system from the airports, seaports and border stations.

The goods that were declared under the guise of false declaration, transfer of value and short-change of duty payment meant for the Federal Government of Nigeria within the month of April to June 12th, 2017

According to Controller Garba, “Ten suspects were arrested in connection with the seizures and a total of 152 different seizures were recorded comprising of vegetable oil, foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, smuggled vehicles, Indian hemp, used tyres, and various general merchandise.

He however disclosed that hemp will be handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), “In the spirit of inter-agency relationship, the suspect concerning the seized Indian hemp will be handed over to officials of the NDLEA for prosecution in a court of competent jurisdiction

“We also seized five containers based on information and after physical examination. This containers contravention Customs law by means of false declaration and breach of import prohibition list by trade.

“A breakdown of the five containers seized includes one 1x40ft container with number ACLU967372/1 containing 2,322 pieces of used tyres and two unit of used vehicles. Second 1x40ft container with number CMAU437648/0 containing 2,660 pieces of used tyres

“The third 1x40ft container with number CMAU717109/9 contains 170 cartons of piston ring compressor. The fourth 1x20ft container with number TGHU141216/5 contains 12 pallets of general calcium/vehicle batteries of 108 pieces per pallet.

“The fifth 1x40ft container with number TCLU753359/2 contains log of unprocessed rough wood ready for export.

“This act of false declaration falls under section 46 (f) of CEMA Cap C45 LFN 2004 which is tantamount to outright seizure.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank the management of the NCS under the leadership of Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) for his effort in recognising hard work and diligence to duty. Without the management motivation and necessary logistics support, we won’t have achieved this feat.”

 

Apapa Customs generates N136.3b in five months

 

The Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) claimed it made a revenue of N136.34billion from January to May, 2017.

The revenue generated surpassed the revenue for the corresponding period of 2016, which stood at N98.17 billion, by N38.07 billion (38.78 per cent).

The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller JibrinMuhammad  said the command was able to surpass its revenue target for May 2017.

According to him, the officers and men of the command, having internalised this work ethic, were able to recover N1.82 billion from infractions identified and treated within the period under review, and will continue to intensify efforts at blocking all revenue leakages in order to sustain and build on the result.

Also, the command’s enforcement unit effected 24 detentions, including containers of frozen fish, medicaments and pharmaceuticals, among others, for offences ranging from under-invoicing, wrong classification/declaration, prohibition and under-payments, among others.

Equally intercepted and detained were “some export containers of scrap metals, wet blue (leather) and unprocessed wood, which fall under export prohibition,” adding that investigations were on-going but that the seized pharmaceuticals would be handed over to NAFDAC for necessary action.

Meanwhile, Jibrin called on prospective exporters of made-in-Nigeria products and other raw materials to come to the Apapa Command for their exports, stating that the command, more than ever before, was ready to facilitate export trade in view of government’s efforts at diversifying the economy through export of agricultural products.

Similarly, he disclosed that in line with government’s directive on ease of doing business, the command has created a functional Customs Examination Centre within the APM Terminal to “serve as a coordinating centre for all stakeholders in cargo examination at the Apapa Port,” adding that he had already met with critical agencies on the smooth operation of the centre.

Jibrin urged all stakeholders in import/export business to voluntarily comply with government’s fiscal policies through right and proper “documentations and other clearance procedures in order to have a seamless trade facilitation process in Apapa Port.”

However, the controller lamented the difficult environment in which they operate, characterized by the inherited old and “inadequate scanners,” and the bad port roads, which cause delay and untold hardship, which hinder the ease of doing business.

Nevertheless, he expressed hope that the command would soon get new scanners, while also encouraging the terminals to meet their side of the bargain in the provision of certain equipment as everyone operates in a cycle, with each operation affecting the progress or otherwise of the other, which calls for synergy.

 

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