Customs Generates N829.5m In 6 months In Sokoto

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Command in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara says it has generated N829.5 million between May and October.

The command’s Comptroller, Nasiru Ahmad, who said this at a news conference in Sokoto on Wednesday, added that it also seized 39 vehicles worth N83.6 million paid duty value.

Mr. Ahmad, who assumed duty in April, said “the command made 103 seizures with combined duty paid value of N161.3 million, including the 39 vehicles intercepted.

He said that 23 arrests were made in October alone.

The other seizures, he said, were 552 bags of 50kg rice, 129 bags of 25Kg rice, 976 Jerry cans of cooking oil, 209 bales of second hand clothes in addition to two pieces of elephant tusk valued at N14.4million.

Mr. Ahmad said N829.6 million was realised within the period against N1.1 billion received last year with 22.9 per cent deficit.

He attributed the deficit to government ban on importation of rice and vehicle through land borders.

He added that the command collected export duties from Dangote and Sokoto Cement that were transporting the commodity to neighbouring countries.

The comptroller said the command had 11 approved borders with about 600 kilometres stretching from Sabon-Birni in Sokoto State to Maje and Lolo in Kebbi which allowed smugglers to use porous areas, especially during dry season.

He expressed the command’s commitment to ensure continued success in anti-smuggling activities, revenue generation and trade facilitation.

He cautioned smugglers and the people against engaging in any form of smuggling.

He said smuggling of food items and textile materials was detrimental to national growth as the federal government facilitated establishment of indigenous industries producing the commodities.

According to him, people should complement government efforts to rejuvenate industries that promote employment generation among Nigerians to boost nation’s revenue.

Mr. Ahmad said that ban on importation of vehicles and others still existed.

He said smuggled food items were dangerous to health because they were not certified by relevant government agencies.

He added that the elephant tusk seizure was part of Customs efforts to fight poaching on endangered species in Africa where trade in elephant tusk constituted part of illegal ivory trade.

The controller said smugglers’ tactics of using animals, number plates with traditional rulers’ names and others were being tracked by various patrol teams on routine bases.

He said Customs partnered with security agencies, NAFDAC and others, noting that a strike-force led by one DSC Yahaya made major seizures.


31 Die As Boat Capsizes In Niger, Kebbi

At least 31 persons lost their lives yesterday as two boat accidents occurred in Niger and Kebbi States respectively.

Barely two weeks after a boat mishap killed many people in Niger State, another set of 16 persons died yesterday when a boat capsized between Rofia and Mauta in Agwata village, Borgu local government in the state.

It was gathered that the remote cause of the incident has been linked to the torrential rainfall that increased the tide of the water level, causing the boat to hit a long floating log under the water along the waterway in the upper course of River Niger.

It was learnt that the victims were traveling from Zamare in Kebbi State to see an Arabic inscription of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W purportedly inscribed on a rock inside River Niger.

The boat was said to be conveying about 50 passengers when it hit the rolling log under the water and broke into two.

An early search by a rescue team recovered 16 bodies, while two persons were still missing, even as the rest were saved alive by the team and some volunteer local divers in the community.

The Public Relations Officer of Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Hussaini Abdullahi, confirmed the incident, saying it was an unfortunate incident and that the agency has being getting situation report from its team on ground.

Meanwhile, another boat mishap which occurred in River Niger at Yauri area of Kebbi State yesterday resulted in the death of 15 people.

The area manager, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in charge of Yauri, Malam Bissallah Abubakar, who confirmed the incident yesterday said 19 of the victims of the boat accident have been rescued from the water, while four others are still missing.

The victims of the incident were said to be leaving Jeribabo in Yauri for Teteku in Niger State to worship at a hill in the area when the accident happened.

One of the locals who engaged in the search and rescue operation told our correspondent that the operation ran throughout the night but they could only rescue 19 of the victims.

When contacted, the coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara, Malam Suleiman Muhammed, said the officials of the agency were on their way to Yauri to assess the situation.


Road Accident Leaves 22 Dead In Kebbi

Twenty- two traders, including a  motorcyclist, have been reportedly burnt to death in a ghastly accident that occurred at Giron Masa along Koko- Yauri road in Kebbi State.

According to eyewitness happened, on Monday night, when a Toyota Canter vehicle tried to avoid potholes on the road that was still under reconstruction and hit a motorcyclist  in the process of dodging it and  died on the spot.

Sources revealed that the vehicle which were loaded with traders, somersaulted and fell into a ditch before it caught fire because of the Jerry cans of petrol and water pumping machines it carried and burnt the  twenty-two traders to death.

Our Correspondent gathered that eight  co-traders that  narrowly escaped from the accident with the help of people and are currently receiving treatment at the general hospital in Yauri.

While confirming the incident, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Muazu Dakingari said Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu was at the scene of the accident and has led a high powered delegation to participate in the burial of the victims in a mass grave near the accident scene as well as paying condolence visit to families of the deceased.

While briefing the governor Bagudu on the incident, the Sole Administrator of Shanga Local Government area, Alhaji Garba Salihu Takware and the DPO in charge of Yauri, said the vehicle was carrying traders that were returning from Tungan Giwa and Dalan Ruwa back to their homes when the accident occurred.

The Kebbi State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), DSP Suleiman Mustaph confirmed  the accident in a telephone interview with our Correspondent said it happened when the vehicle ran into a motorcyclist.

He added that the driver was trying to avoid a porthole but fell into a ditch and the vehicle burst into flames killing the traders.

Credit: The Sun

Aregbesola Receives Kebbi State’s Agricultural Experts In Osun (Photos)

Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola played host to agricultural experts from Kebbi State who are on a visit to the state to discuss plans for the development of agriculture. Pictures below:

Aregbesola Receives A Team of Kebbi State Agricultural Experts-1
Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, presenting the state
plaque to the Leader of Kebbi State Agricultural Experts and
Commissioner of Animal Health, Husbandry and Fishery, Mr. Adamu
Ibrahim, during the Kebbi State Agriculture experts visit to the
Governor on how to develop agriculture in the State, held at the State
Government Secretariat, Abere,
Osogbo, last Weekend

Aregbesola Receives A Team of Kebbi State Agricultural Experts-2
Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (3rd right); Chairman,
Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited, Chief khamis Olatunde Badmus (2nd right),
Leader of the delegation and Kebbi State Commissioner of Animal
Health, Husbandry and Fishery, Mr. Adamu Ibrahim (middle), Director,
Kebbi State Veterinary Services, Dr. Bala Kakale (right) and others,
during the Kebbi State Agriculture experts visit to the Governor on
how to develop agriculture in the State, held at the State Government
Secretariat, Abere,Oshogbo, last weekend.

Aregbesola Receives A Team of Kebbi State Agricultural Experts-3
Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (5th right); Chairman,
Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited, Chief khamis Olatunde Badmus (4th right),
Leader of the delegation and Kebbi State Commissioner of Animal
Health, Husbandry and Fishery, Mr. Adamu Ibrahim (5th left), Director,
Kebbi State Veterinary Services, Dr. Bala Kakale (3rd right) and
others, during the Kebbi State Agriculture experts visit to the
Governor on how to develop agriculture in the State, held at the State
Government Secretariat, Abere,
Osogbo, last Weekend.

Aregbesola Receives A Team of Kebbi State Agricultural Experts-4
Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (2nd right); Chairman,
Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited, Chief khamis Olatunde Badmus (right),
Leader of the delegation and Kebbi State Commissioner of Animal
Health, Husbandry and Fishery, Mr. Adamu Ibrahim (2nd left) and
Manager, Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited, Mr. Lekan Badmus, during the
Kebbi State Agriculture experts visit to the Governor on how to
develop agriculture in the State, held at State Government
Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo, last Weekend

Forex Scarcity Turning Out An Advantage – Emefiele

The current scarcity of foreign exchange confronting the country is being turned into an advantage through the local production of goods for which hard currencies were hitherto wasted.

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said this during an assessment tour of the farmlands cultivated under the Anchor Borrowers Programme in Kebbi State, weekend.

A statement by the Acting Director of Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, in Abuja, yesterday, quoted the governor as saying rice output from Kebbi State alone had proved wrong, critics of the apex bank’s forex policy measures.

Emefiele noted that with the level of success attained with the pilot project in Kebbi State, in addition to what he saw at Sunti Golden Sugar Estate in Niger State just recently, the country could produce enough to feed itself and even export in no distant future.

The governor reiterated that agriculture remained the bedrock of genuine economic growth of any nation, adding that Nigeria could not be an exception.

As such, he said Nigeria with large expanse of arable land ought not to be spending huge amounts of money on importing food items at the expense of other competing needs.

The CBN governor stated that the success recorded by rice farmers in Kebbi State had rekindled hope in the ability of Nigeria to be self-sufficient in rice and wheat production.

He noted that with N210,000, each farmer was able to cultivate a hectare of rice farm.

He disclosed that a total of 78,581 farmers were mobilized in Kebbi State under the Anchor Borrowers Programme and that the farmers are already looking forward to a total of one million metric tons rice this year.

Speaking further on what the programme had been able to achieve, the CBN governor stated: “With the disbursement of N4.9 billion as loans to the farmers, over 570,000 direct jobs have been created and saved with the multiplier effects.

“70,871 rural farmers now own and operate bank accounts and captured under the Bank Verification Number (BVN) biometric project and timely supply of inputs to 73,001 farmers.”

According to the CBN governor, the performance of the Anchor Borrowers Programme has vindicated the stance of the apex bank and that given the incentive and appropriate support, Nigerian farmers can fill whatever gap exists between the demand and supply of agricultural products like rice, wheat, cotton and palm produce.

On his assessment of the programme, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, said the level of activities in the rural areas visited by the team had shown that with Kebbi State alone targeting one million tons of rice out of the projected seven million tons required by the entire country, self sufficiency in rice production is very much in sight at this time when 12 other states identified as rice producing belts harvest their produce.

He commended the efforts of the CBN for reinventing agricultural practice into profitable business venture.

Security Agents Prevents Shiites From Attending Juma’at Prayers In Kastina And Kebbi States

A combined armed security team on Friday, 1st April has prevented Shiites, who are members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN from conducting the usual post-khutba preaching session at the Central Juma’at Mosque in Katsina. They besieged the mosque from the early hours of the morning chanting “no more Shi’ah in Katsina! ”

Even though the Shiites took the decision to cancel the preaching session in order to avoid spilling of blood of innocent unarmed Muslims by the military and other security agents, the security agents dispersed worshippers from the mosque immediately after the Juma’at prayers.

Nigeria Soldiers Prevents Shiites From Worshipping In Kastina and Kebbi States
Nigeria Soldiers Prevents Shiites From Worshipping In Kastina and Kebbi States

Worship places are supposed to be held in high regard,  but the team of Nigerian Army and other security agents chose to violate the sanctity of the mosque and right to religious freedom by their actions.

Thereafter, there was a heavy security patrol across the main streets of the town ostensibly to provoke and instill unnecessary fear in the residents. Such a horrendous situation continued throughout the night.

Also in Yauri town in Kebbi state, there were similar measures taken by the security agencies there. And just like in Katsina, members of the Islamic Movement in the town suspended their preaching session in order to foil the determined efforts by the authorities to kill innocent Muslims.

Also, the Divisional Police Officers, DPOs in various towns in Kebbi state gave written order to the Shiites in their domain that they should cease all their educational activities or they face the wrath of their might.

Nigeria Soldiers Prevents Shiites From Worshipping In Kastina and Kebbi States
Nigeria Soldiers Prevents Shiites From Worshipping In Kastina and Kebbi States

The statement released by the group’s spokesperson stated that, “the Islamic Movement is particularly worried with this unfortunate development, especially in Katsina, where the Governor is reported to have vowed not to trample on the rights of worship by citizens. If what happened in Katsina is not a denial of our right to worship, what then is it?” The group asked.

It continued, “We wish to state here categorically that we don’t usurp other people’s right to usage of any mosque where we conduct our educational programs because we hold our sessions on convenient times and nobody is forced to attend. Hence, since this has been going on peacefully for over the past two decades, those trying to stop it are the persecutors and perpetrators of breaching public peace.”

“It is now vividly clear that there are some people hiding under the auspices of security agencies of our great country to achieve a sectarian agenda of a particular religious group. They need to be reminded by all peace loving Nigerians that we are in a secular country, and any attempt to persecute some people because of their religion, will not augur well for the well-being and development of our dear country and its democratic ideals.”

The rest of the statement reads:

These people, who do not believe in what they are saying, who are busy professing that one’s right stops at the doorstep of another, are the same people using the security apparatus to persecute brothers of the Islamic Movement for their personal whims. Other Nigerians must be wary of them, especially the Christians, because if they ‘finish with the Shi’a,’ as they keep on echoing, who will be next?

We dismiss as blatant lies that the movement is intending to usurp the Friday mosques, the Islamic Movement has never and will never usurped any mosque for its usage alone. We believe mosques belong to Allah not to any particular sect, as it is enshrined in the holy Qur’an. In fact we don’t even build our own mosques, just to preserve the unity and oneness of the Islamic community.

We are forced to ask the government and its agencies, whose interest are they serving trying to stop us from going to the various mosques in our communities? We believe that true developmental progress of any nation results from peace, understanding and harmonious coexistence of the citizens. Hence, any attempt by the government to launch a genocide on a particular group in not in the interest of the nation.

Nigeria Soldiers Prevents Shiites From Worshipping In Kastina and Kebbi States
Nigeria Soldiers Prevents Shiites From Worshipping In Kastina and Kebbi States

We wish to call on the authorities, Katsina and Kebbi state governments in particular, to let peace reign in their states. Denying others of their constitutional rights is an open invitation to violence, which the Islamic Movement strongly opposes.

It is pertinent to state here that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is a peaceful movement that does not accept any form of violence in achieving any of its ideals. As a result of this we condemn the unnecessary instigations to violence perpetrated by the government.

We are still re-echoing our demand that our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and all other brothers and sisters of the Islamic Movement who are now languishing in different prisons and Army barracks across the country be released unconditionally.

Buhari Sympathizes With Victims Of Kano, Kebbi Fire Incidents

President Muhammadu Buhari has sympathized with the victims of the fire incidents in Sabon Gari Market, Kano State and Birnin Kebbi Central Market in Kebbi.

A statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, said President Buhari commiserated with the government and people of the two states.

According to the statement, President Buhari shares in the pain of the victims knowing that the two fire incidents had created major setbacks for all those that had business outfits in the markets.

He also noted with sadness that the incidents had also affected the livelihood of the victims’ families and setting back economic activities in the states.

The President advised the Kano and Kebbi state governments to find out the immediate and remote causes of the fire disasters in the states in order to forestall future occurrences.

President Buhari also called for strict adherence to precautionary standards in buildings and operations in all markets to avoid fire out breaks.

He prayed that the Almighty God would comfort and replenish all those that incurred losses in the incidents.(NAN)

Lagos, Kebbi Sign Partnership Agreement On Agriculture

In line with the persistent calls for a paradigm shift from over dependence on oil as the major earner of the country, the Lagos State Government and Kebbi State on Wednesday entered into a partnership on the establishment of a commodity value chain that will give a quantum leap to food processing, production and distribution

The partnership is aimed at bringing about national food sufficiency and food security, as well as creating employment and wealth distribution for the benefit of both states and the nation in general.

Speaking at the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two states held at the Banquet Hall, Lagos House, Ikeja, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the partnership signaled the commencement of a new beginning of cooperation and common-sense revolution, which is line with the change mantra of All Progressives Congress (APC) that calls for patriotism in all facets of life.

Governor Ambode, who said the partnership would bring an end to the era of imported rice in the country, noted that there was no doubt about the economic prowess of the country to produce rice locally.

“This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that two States are collaborating to develop their agricultural potentials. We have the economic prowess to produce rice locally. The era of imported rice is gone. The reality is for all of us to embrace the consumption of local foodstuff and commodities,” he said.

The Governor acknowledged the fact that the future of Lagos is partly tied to deliberate resolution on food security, and that food production and self-sufficiency required immediate attention at policy and strategic levels to sustain the country, hence the need for the partnership.

“Lagos State is the largest consumer of food commodities in Nigeria by virtue of our State population. We have the market, with the required purchasing power also. Lagos State has an estimated consumption of over 798,000 metric tonnes of milled Rice per year which is equivalent to 15.96 million of 50kg bags, with a value of N135 billion per annum,” he said.

In addition to rice, Governor Ambode said Lagos is presently consuming 6,000 herds of cattle daily which may increase to 8,000 in the next 5years, adding that the bulk of vegetables produced in the country eventually end up in the Lagos markets.

He added: “Lagos State is one of the largest producers of poultry and thus has a large demand for maize for livestock feed production. The State also houses most of the industrial users of wheat and sorghum; mostly flour mills, bakeries, breweries and food manufacturers.

“Kebbi State, on the other hand, is blessed with a vast arable land suitable for the cultivation of Rice, Wheat, Ground nut, Maize, Sorghum and Sugar cane.

“It is an agrarian State with over 1.2 million hectares of arable land characterised by very large floodplains, lowland swamps and gentle slopes. In the 2014 / 2015 wet season, over 600,000 Hectares of land was deployed for Rice cultivation in the three senatorial areas of the State.

“The people are traditionally Rice farmers with average land holding of about 10 Hectares. Presently, Kebbi has over 50,000 metric tonnes of paddy in store produced from the last 2 planting seasons.

“With these considerations in mind, Lagos State and Kebbi State have decided to collaborate and exploit our areas of comparative advantage to create value for both States. This alliance will ensure Food Security, job creation, increase in farmers’ income and the overall improvement in the living conditions of the residents of both states through wealth creation and poverty reduction.

“This collaboration is in line with the clarion call and policy direction given by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, on the need to feed ourselves,” Governor Ambode stated.

The joint venture between the two states, Governor Ambode explained, will be implemented using a Special Purpose Vehicle known as LASKEB Agricultural Production and Marketing Company (LAPMCO), adding that the major areas of focus will be the development of commodity value chains with emphasis on Rice, Wheat, Ground Nut, Onions, Maize/Sorghum and Beef.

Speaking further on the agreement, Governor Ambode said: “The numerous thousands of our market women and men can become key employers of labour as distributors of ‘Ibile Rice’. We can also brand and package rice in the names of our distributors and market women. As a State, we shall adopt our local rice as a State dish in all ramifications.

“The special purpose vehicle will allow the entrance of private sector investors and other states in expanding the rice mill at Imota, Ikorodu and other locations. We have already designated the 100 hectare land at Imota as the Agric Park in the State. Other locations in and outside the State will be vigorously activated to fulfill our mission in record time.”

Also speaking at the event, which was attended by top government functionaries, traditional rulers and members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) from both states, Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu thanked Governor Ambode for providing leadership and innovation that brought about the partnership, adding that same was in line with the effort of President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to restructure Nigeria away from overdependence on oil.

Governor Bagudu said in the world of genetically modified food, the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi was an additional motivation to provide certainties for the people in terms of food production and sufficiency, and that the goal is to produce 60 to 70 percent of Nigeria’s Rice needs, and replicate same in other food items.

He said the agreement had the broadest public acceptance in Kebbi State, and that the people, especially farmers in the state, are delighted to partner with Lagos, which he described as the most entrepreneurial part of Nigeria.

He said Lagos and Kebbi have had a long history of trade, and that the signing of the MoU was a further way of cementing the relationship with the view to make the people to get richer.

“Lagos is the most entrepreneurial part of Nigeria. Lagos, if it were a country on itself, is a country that other states will be going to establish a relationship and so why not state to state. So, what we are doing is that we are pioneering a collaboration that will bring other states on board later and we believe that our potentials is enormous and we must have pacesetters to start that process of joint collaboration for our collective good,” Governor Bagudu said.

Kaduna, Kebbi, Dangote To Acquire Peugeot Automobile Nigeria

Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has partnered the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Kaduna and Kebbi State Governments to acquire a majority stake in Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited.

This disclosure was made by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, at the launch of the BoI Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES).

“We have submitted bids for the car maker … with Aliko Dangote on board together with BoI, Kebbi and Kaduna States… We are confident our bid will sail through,” reported Reuters on Thursday.

Peugeot is a joint venture between ASD Motors and the French automaker, with a long history in Nigeria, the anticipated hub of automotive assembling on the Africa continent.

El-Rufai said Kaduna and Kebbi, along with BoI and Dangote, had submitted bids for the stake which the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is looking to sell.

Peugeot Nigeria assembly plant located in Kaduna State has Peugeot Citroen PEUP.PA as its technical partner “with a capacity to assemble 240 cars a day”.

Though conceived in 1969, Peugeot found its roots in Nigeria only two years later, after winning a bid during the Yakubu Gowon-led government.

In November 2006, PAN was privatised in line with government’s agenda to build a stronger, more competitive and diversified economy.

ASD Motors emerged as the successful core investor and took over the management of the company in January 2007, with a 54.78 per cent stake, making Sani Dauda CEO of both ASD Motors and Peugeot Nigeria.

The expectation was that the privatisation of PAN would create a quantum leap in performance, but that has not happened, the company confirmed.

“Following the accumulation of huge non-performing loans (NPL) indebtedness to banks, in October 2012, the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) acquired the debts of the company and converted a portion to equity to help restructure the firm,” Peugeot had said.

The planned acquisition is expected to revamp the presence of the company in Africa’s largest economy.

But as news of the bid for Peugeot Nigeria broke yesterday, a new report by Nielsen, a US-based global and information measurement company, showed that Africa’s largest economy was no longer the top investment destination on the continent. In its place, Cote d’Ivoire has risen to the top of the rankings.

According to Nielsen, Cote d’Ivoire has been buoyed by a fast growing economy and a lengthy period of political stability highlighted by successful elections last year to become the prime destination for investments in Africa.

However, that status could now be affected following a recent attack by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM).

Having been ranked as the top investment destination at the start of 2015, Nigeria has now fallen to fourth on the rankings in Africa.

The ominous slide fits the narrative of Nigeria’s slowing economic growth amid a global slump in commodity prices, the report said. Oil in particular, Nigeria’s main export and revenue source, has been badly hit.

According to the research firm, Nigeria’s slide was “driven primarily by deteriorating macro-economic indicators”. It also added that “consumer indicators and overall confidence levels” have also dipped.

A recent capital importation report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) also confirmed the Nielsen report.

Last year, Nigeria’s recorded total inflow of capital into the economy stood at $9.6 billion —a 53 per cent drop from the previous year and the lowest recorded total since 2011.

While incidental economic factors have largely contributed to Nigeria’s floundering economy, the country’s government has also come in for criticism for not managing the crisis effectively.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of the economy has been questioned with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) instituting strict monetary controls in response to commodity prices and a currency slide.

These controls, which inevitably strained citizens and hardly had the desired effect, have been described as unorthodox.

As Buhari closes in on his first year in office, many Nigerians will be hoping that in his second year, the focus will be on triggering an economic rebound in Africa’s biggest economy following slowed growth.