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‘Smugglers make corruption fester in Customs service’

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‘Smugglers make corruption fester in Customs service’

Corruption festers in Nigeria customs service due to activities of smugglers in cahoots with local people in the border communities, public relation officer of the Service, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Joseph Attah has said.
Speaking with the NationalUpdate in Abuja recently, he however expressed strong disapproval of activities of few bad eggs in the Service who abuse the process of the institution and allow themselves to be be corrupt.
He however observed that, those in the border, communities who aid and abet smugglers to escape the customs checks are the most corrupt.

He therefore warned border community dwellers to desist from giving vital information to smugglers as regards where the customs officers are stationed to aid their escape.
“When we talk of corruption, our experience in the service have shown us that the bigger corruption is even on the side of non customs officers.
“We have seen a situation where these smugglers give people money, buy handsets for people to monitor customs patrol team as informants that will give them clue as to where customs are stationed.
“It is our brothers and sisters that are sabotaging the efforts of the Nigeria customs service.
“All of us have to agree that smuggling is a crime and we should not support them or aid them or even patronize them because if they smuggle and people do not patronize them, then they will not go back and do it.
“When we support or aid smugglers, then we are corrupt as well.”

He said, “I am not going to sit down here and say every customs officer is a saint. What is important is what we do to them when they are caught in the act.
“When such officers are caught, they are being dealt with. Some will be demoted in rank, or dismissed and handed over for prosecution.
On the flip side of it, he asked rhetorically who is corrupting who and for what reason?
“It takes two to tango. The person who is complaining of bribery himself is committing offence.
“The giver, the taker are all offenders, and why are you even giving bribe, it is the fact that you have broken the law, therefore they are all criminals.”
On whether high revenue target given to the service influences hike in prices of goods and services in the country,
he said it depends on the perspective the person promoting the argument is coming from as there are instances where duties are exempted, there are instances were waivers of excise duties are removed totally for locally produced items.
He said in such cases they don’t impact seriously on the prices of goods in the market.

“I think what will skyrocket prices in the market will largely depend on the profit interest of dealers.”
Though he agreed that it could have some little impact, however he said the overall, when such revenue are used by the federal government for providing infrastructure is more.
He said the same revenue is used
to carry out other functions like building roads, hospitals, schools and providing other amenities that will make businesses to thrive.
According to him when such amenities are in place, they will make it easy for the business man to transport his goods with ease and also reduce the cost of the movement of goods.
“We don’t set target for ourselves. It is the Federal Government that look at all economic indices and the areas of revenue and how to meet the need of the country, and eventually arives at revenue target considering other factors.
“Once the target is set for the Nigeria Customs Service, it is our duty to try as much as possible to meet the target and if possible surpass it.”
On the impact of covid-19 on the revenue of Nigeria customs service he said as one of the front line agencies in the fight against the pandemic they were also performing assential duties.
He said the have not been affected by the lockdown as it did not prevent them from collecting revenue or fighting smugglers.
“Our job has been going on, there hasn’t been any day or any hour that lockdown has affected customs operation. “Seaports have been functional. The airport may have been affected in terms of international flights which has stopped but the regular ports transactions in the seaports have been going on, hence we are still operating within the same revenue income range.
“Before the Advent of corona virus, the land borders were partially closed to movement of goods, so, that in a way has also helped Nigerians because that action motivated so many Nigerians to go back to farm.”
With respect to customs recruitment, Attah said,
“The customs of today is not the custom that can be manipulated. It is a service that is driven by integrity and therefore not afraid to take bold decisions.
“I want to say without fear of contradiction that you can only get into customs today strictly based on merit.
“Our processes are online and automated. We advertise, invite people for examination, to ensure integrity and transparency, we give the questions to Jamb. “People go to Jamb to do their aptitude test. After the test, it is Jamb that gives the electronic print out. It is not something you can tamper with. “Next is to look at the level of performance and score them. When considering their performance, we take from the top, then they’re invited for interview.
“We were about to invite people for interview before the lockdown and that is why the process is on hold.
“When we recruit, they normally go through examination, physical interview, if the candidate meets all the requirements, he is then documented and given a service number to proceed to the training college.”
He said at the training college they would be drilled for six months in rigorous training before they pass out.
“Then they posted to your station. After some years, they would be called for refresher or specialized courses which is done for about three months.”
Attah also stressed the importance of collective efforts in curbing security challenges in the country.
He further admonished Nigerians to love one another and not to compromise their loyalty to the country in fight against insecurity.
When asked to rate the Nigerian customs compared to other customs in the world, Attah responded,
“I do know that we are doing the best we can given our situation. I do know that in the global custom community, they refer to us, over our examplary role.
“I also do know that in the West and Central Africa, we are leaders and that is why they look up to us for direction, for advice, that is why they come to Nigeria for training.
“We have the regional training center for customs of the West and Central Africa, that clearly demonstrates our leadership role in the sub-region.

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PSC suspends DCP Abba Kyari, asks IGP to keep Commission updated on findings

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Following the recommendation of the Inspector General of police, the Police Service Commission has suspended Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police Force from the exercise of the Powers and functions of his office.
Abba Kyari’s suspension took effect from Saturday, July 31st 2021 and would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States .
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, had written a letter to the Police Service Commission recommending for the immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari.
The Commission thereafter, also directed the Inspector General of Police to furnish it with information on further development on the matter for necessary further action.
The Commission’s decision which was conveyed in a letter with reference, PSC/POL/D/153/vol/V/138 to the Inspector General of Police today, Sunday, August 1st, 2021, was signed by Hon. Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and Honourable Commissioner 1 in the Commission for the Commission’s Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police who is currently on leave.

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Kaigama says high cost of foodstuff also taking its toll on his home

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**Advises Nigerians not to abandon grandparents, elderly cos of COVID – 19

***Condemns lavish funerals by Nigerians

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama has said that the escalation in the prices of foodstuff was also biting hard in his home.

He also called on Nigerians not to distance themselves from grandparents and the elderly due to social distancing over COVID – 19 because they are a source of wisdom.

The cleric also described as sad the fact that Nigerians throw “lavish funerals organised for departed ones after they were allowed to live a life of loneliness, misery and neglect.”

Kaigama stated these in his Homily delivered at St. Luke’s Parish, Kubwa in honour of grandparents and the elderly with readings taken from the Old Testament including 2 Kings 4:42-44 and John 6:1-15.

According to him, the N12.3 billion agricultural subsidy from the Federal Government meant form2.2 million farmers should not be diverted like other interventions or palliative measures.

He said, “The escalation in the prices of foodstuff today has made it difficult for the poor among us to feed. My cook, Sunday Emola, showed me some current food prices from Garki market in Abuja: one measure each of garri costs N500, beans – N1,000, rice – N1,000, 1 bag (10kg) of semovita – N5,500, one bottle of groundnut oil – N1,600, one bottle of palm oil – N1,300, one tuber of yam – N1,300, a medium basket of tomatoes – N3,500, 1 gallon of kerosene – N2,000, Alebo – N500, etc.

“The problem in Nigeria is not whether we have resources to share, but the willingness to share them fairly, honestly and charitably. Both first reading and the gospel emphasised the fact that the power to end the hunger and suffering of other people lies in our ability to share the little we have.

“We often forget how far-reaching the little we each possess shared generously can satisfy the needs of other people. Often, we assume that it is the task for the government or the United Nations or NGOs.

“But a lot can be done with our little if we focus on the person in need and the intention rather than the quantity of what is available. I understand that 2.2 million farmers will soon receive N12.3 billion as agricultural subsidy from the Federal Government.

“We hope that the money of this laudable initiative will get directly into the hands of the farmers and not to be diverted like other interventions or palliative measures.

“The elderly are assured of the abiding presence of God who continues to accompany them on the journey of life, despite the difficulties and challenges associated with old age. They are reminded to tenaciously hold on to the faith and to pass it on to the young.

“Grandparents and the elderly are a source of wisdom. By passing on their knowledge, morals and values, they play a great role in the formation of a decent society. They are a strong link between the past, the present and the future.

“We must respect them and pray always for those of them who are sick and weak or suffering conditions associated with aging. Our practice of social distancing due to COVID – 19 should not distance us from them. It is sad today to see lavish funerals organized for departed ones after they were allowed to live a life of loneliness, misery and neglect.

“In these times of moral and social decay, grandparents and the elderly can teach us how to heal our wounded humanity; the spirit of sharing, in a nation where selfishness, corruption and the spate of crime and insecurity deprive many of the basic necessities of life; a nation that continues to take mind boggling financial loans without any corresponding impact on our quality of life; only to leave a fragile and perilous future for generations of our youths.

“As grandparents and the elderly continue their earthly pilgrimage, we expect the government to provide good social security for them even as we entrust them to the intercession of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and grandparents of Jesus.”

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NEF expresses apprehension, Nigeria may not survive till 2023

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The Northern Elders Forum has indicated that Nigeria may not survive the remaining one year and some months of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration hence they
advised the next political party that will take over the helms of national affairs to prepare itself for a very difficult assignment of fixing the country.
They said Nigeria would have been completely wrecked in 2023 with the growing insecurity and economic woes by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling All Progressive Congress.
The forum’s spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this during an interview on Channels Television on Monday, while also blaming the nation’s ruling elite for the failure of the country.
He said the country’s current challenges were not just as a result of banditry and kidnapping activities but also leadership failure.  He said, “What are you going to do with 2023 because between now and 2023, APC would have completely wrecked this country? You are going to take over a country that has been completely destroyed by a party that has been substantially produced by the PDP and how are you going to fix this country?
What’s your blueprint for what happens to Nigeria in 2023?” Nigeria has been experiencing a series of security threats ranging from terrorism, banditry, militancy, cultism among others in several parts of the country. The country has been ravaged by terrorism for more than 10 years – a menace which has claimed the lives of over 36,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands to be homeless in the North-East.

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