Customs Laments Sustained Smuggling of Petrol at Border Communities

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Mohammed Uba Garba
Mohammed Uba Garba

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Co-ordinator in-charge of the North central zone, which comprises Kwara, Kogi, Niger and Benue states, Mr. Mohammed Uba Garba, has lamented the continued smuggling of petroleum products across the border communities, despite the federal government directive on the suspension of petroleum products within 20km radius to the borders.

Garba, stated this in Alapa, Ilesha-Baruba, Yashkira, Chikanda and Okuta communities of Baruten local government areas of Kwara State, during his enlightenment tour of the border communities in the state.
He, however, called on the men of the Customs around the zone to be prepared to confront the menace so as to assist the government to achieve maximum results on its policy.

According to him, “Suspension of petroleum products within 20 Kilometers radius to border communities is a presidential directive and all men of the customs must ensure that, it is well implemented to the latter.”
He said that, “Baruten local Government area of Kwara State has a population of 125,000, with over 200 fuel stations, which is an unusual situation.”

The coordinator who used the occasion to visit the traditional rulers, security personnel, youths, members of the Independent Petroleum Markets Association of Nigeria(IPMAN), among others in the local government to sensitise and educate them on the merit and demerit of smuggling and that of partial borders closure said, “the myriad of irregular migration and trans-border crimes such as smuggling of small arms and light weapons, human trafficking, drugs peddling and terrorism among others must be tackled”.

This, he said informed the federal government to partially close its borders so as to boost economic growth.
Garba, however vowed that persons caught indulging in the smuggling of petroleum products and other illegal goods would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The coordinator explained that, “all security operatives involved in this national assignment are backed by the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Section 158, 147 and 167 which says 158- give power to patrol freely but warned against one-man patrol.

“Section 147 gives power to search and raid any premises suspected to be housed with smuggling goods and go ahead to identify such warehouses for raid; while section 167 gives power to detain and effect seizures and you are instructed for prompt reporting of any incident for immediate action.”

Earlier, in his remarks, Emir of Yashikra,
Umar Sarki Sabikpasi II said, threw his weight behind the border closure.
He however said that, “Most of smuggling activities taking place in my jurisdiction is being perpetrated by non-indigenes”.

He pledged “to do whatever it takes to support the coordinator and his team to succeed by providing information for the ongoing exercise in order to achieve the aims, as smuggling is never a good thing to be encouraged.”

FG Urged to Reconstituted APCON Board Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The Acting Registrar of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha, has said the refusal of the federal government to constitute its council remains a serious challenge towards the effective and efficient service delivery to the members of the public.
Iyoha, who spoke with journalists on the sidelines of an empowerment programme organised by the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Information and Culture Hon. Olusegun Odebunmi, urged the federal government to constitute its Council without further delay.
The programme was entitled, “capacity building for youth empowerment on advertising practice.”

She however added that, “some parastatals’ boards and councils are experiencing the same fate.”
Iyoha, said, “right now for about seven years APCON has not had constituted council, it is a big challenge for us.
“We have done everything humanly possible to ensure the council is being constituted, but it is the decision of the Federal Government.”

On quackery in advertising practice in Nigeria, the registrar said that, “APCON as a professional body has mechanisms to check quacks.”
“We have advertising standards panel that ensures that any material that is being exposed is cleared by us. If in the course of our monitoring we notice that some materials are not cleared, we have a means of sanctioning the media, agency or advertiser concerned.
“For those practicing without adequate registration there is a sanction for that and we have been talking, sensitising the people.
“We have done so many public lectures, seminars and fora on the need to be registered as a practitioner before you can practice.
“It is there in our law that if you practice illegally you have to be fined or sanctioned.
“What we are doing presently is to organize public lectures for people to do the right thing, but you see with our media people most of them like putting money above ethics.
“Most of them compromise standards. We have been pleading with them that it is not healthy for the profession”.
Speaking on the programme, Iyoha said, “we are here today to sensitise the youth on the need to enter into the advertising profession.
“It is a capacity building project for his constituency and he wanted us to talk to the constituents especially the youth on why they should take up advertising as a profession.”
She said that no fewer than 206 persons have benefitted from the programme.
She, therefore, said that, “It is to encourage them that there are other professions outside law, medicine, engineering etc”.