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Nigeria may reintroduce Cargo Tracking Note to stem rising insecurity.

John Johnson
Worried by the rising incidents of insecurity in the country, Nigerian Government may reintroduce the controvesial Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) at the Nigerian sea ports.
The move is to profile all imports through the sea ports into the country with a view to identifying and curtailling the importation of arms and ammunitions.
To this end, President Mohammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi to  put the  relevant government agency on notice to kick start the programme.
Buhari, who is shopping for ideas to beef up security in the country, has been convinced that CTN could play a crucial role in enabling the nation address the growing spate of banditry, kidnappings and restiveness fueled by easy access to guns.

Amaechi has therefore directed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council(NSC), the implementing agency, to commence preparation to undertake the responsibility of administering CTN as it takes off.

The Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) or the ECTN (Electronic Cargo Tracking Note), is a system for collecting documents and processing information, when exporting by sea in order to obtain prior information, to participate in security measures, statistics, and generally in order to participate in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) recommendations on trade facilitation and security.

Shippers’ Council has been encouraged to introduce the system in a way that shouldn’t add to the cost of doing business at the ports, but enable the nation to track imports from ports of origin to drastically reduce import of arms.

Recall that in 2017 alone, 2671 pump-action rifles were intercepted at Nigerian seaports. The guns were legally registered for export in Turkey as pump-action rifles for hunting but the manifests were changed in Morocco to become steel doors to enable the container gain entry into Nigeria.

With CTN, however, Nigeria would have been able to see the original manifests from Turkey and intercept the guns before the consignments arrived in Nigeria.

Twenty-four African countries presently use CTN and these nations include; Angola, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana and Guinea.

Others include; Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Togo.

Although CTN has had two stints at Nigerian ports previously, under the administration of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and later NSC, Nigeria would have to prequalify the possible companies via a bidding process.

Speaking on the reintroduction of CTN, a maritime lawyer, technocrat and Director of Education and Research in the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Dr. Alban Igwe said CTN remains the best answer to issues of anomalies and security challenges in the country.

Igwe explained that this was because CTN will improve the security and safety of the supply chain as it will profile cargoes being imported into the country.

“The objective is to improve the security and safety of the supply chain and help us see the profile of products we are bringing in. It will help us know the origin and destination of cargoes and help us know our enemies,” he said.

Besides insecurity, CTN has also been described as the best platform in checking revenue leakages in   imports as well as obtaining information about the content of the cargoes.

CTN will address situations in which importers under-invoice their goods from the suppliers at the point of purchases to pay less duties. The platform will check the trend to ensure manifests are not tampered with by ships for the purpose of cheating on GT.

The Executive Secretary, NSC, Barrister Hassan Bello, whose Council is to handle CTN describes it as “another instrument that will add tremendously in shipping development”.

According to Bello, “It will boost the revenue of the government in customs revenue collection in the sense that it will abate under – declaration and concealment. It will boost the revenue of NPA because there will be no more alteration of the manifests. It will boost the revenue of NIMASA because under – declaration on the weight of ships will not be there any longer.

CTN is also a veritable source of data and some economic experts describe this as the best quality of the electronic based platform.

“You will know everything that is coming into your country. We have had many African countries having this because it is the initiation of the Union of African Shippers Council (UASC),” the NSC boss said about CTN last year

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Sambo grieves over Lagos train accident, commiserates with families of victims(Video)

  The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has expressed sadness over the train accident which occurred at Ikeja, Lagos on the morning of Thursday, March 9th, 2021.
A fast-moving train coming from Agege inward Oshodi, collided with a Bus Rapid Transit(BRT) Bus conveying the Lagos state government staff whose driver was trying to beat the on-rushing train at the railway interception at PWD junction, killing six passengers and injuring 72 others.
In his letter of condolence, the minister said he was saddened by the incident and prayed for the eternal repose of the souls of the dead and the quick recovery of the injured.
”We are saddened by the news of the accident which occurred this morning(Thursday) involving a train operated by the Nigerian Railway Corporation and a Lagos State staff bus, conveying workers to duty early hours of today in Shogunle, Lagos.
”We pray for eternal repose for those who have lost their lives and we pray the Almighty God to grant them eternal rest and we pray for a speedy recovery to the injured.
”We commiserate with the families of the victims and particularly the Governor and people of Lagos state. Please accept our deepest concerns and condolences.
”We also appreciate the cooperation we got from the Lagos State Government, NEMA, and concerned Nigerians who swung into action after the ill-fated incident to ensure the site was cleared and the injured got immediate treatment”, Sambo mourned.
According to LASEMA, one of the early government agency responders at the accident scene, the immediate cause of the incident was due to reckless driving on the part of the BRT bus driver while trying to beat the train traffic signal before the moving train rammed into the BRT bus.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Railway  Police command has effectively taken over the investigation into the   incident as a result of the   directive of the Honourable Minister of Transportation for a detailed investigation of the incident

The injured victims have been administered first aid treatment by the agency’s medical team (paramedics) and LASAMBUS officials, well stabilized and being transported to the trauma center at LASUTH Ikeja for further treatment.

The agency’s LRT at Cappa alongside LRT at C3, LRU paramedics at C3, Onipanu, Cappa, LASAMBUS officials, Nigeria Police Force, LASTMA, LNSC and Nigerian Army are responders present at the scene of the incident.

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Sambo allays fears of job loss by railway workers over impending privatisation

The eyewitness reporter

The Minister of Transportation,  Mu’azu Jaji Sambo has assured the staff of the Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC), that there would be no job loss following the privatization process of the corporation.

Minister gave the assurance to the jittery staff as the federal government is poised to unbundle the corporation’s operations to achieve optimum efficiency.
Alhaji Sambo however reiterated his call for the unbundling of the Corporation in line with the vision and objectives of the Government’s current reforms in the transportation sector.
The Minister said as it is presently constituted, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) cannot operate optimally, thus necessary reforms and unbundling have become imperative.The Minister, who was addressing the management team of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), led on a visit to him by the CEO, Dr. Armstrong Katang,  charged MOFI to drive the unbundling of the NRC to make it more economically viable while offering world-class services to Nigerians.

“One of the things I will like to see as the Minister of Transportation, through MOFI is the unbundling of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).  There is a Committee set up to unbundle NRC and I will urge you to work with the existing Committee”, he said.

The Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) was incorporated under the provisions of Sections 2 and 3 of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) Act of 1959 as an asset holding company under the Federal Ministry of Finance.

 MOFI is the sole manager of all Federal Government investment interests, estates, easement and rights.
The Minister made reference to the reforms implemented in the ports and the benefits these have brought, noting that such should be carried out in the railway sector.In his words, ” The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), the way it is currently, is the way the ports were prior to concession, prior to the reforms of 2005.

”Today, even the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) workers are happier about how NPA is today compared to how it was prior to the reforms.

  ”This means the reformed NPA is generating more revenues to support its operations and also support its workforce and its pensioners”.

The Minister who assuaged the fear of job loss as a result of the unbundling said, ” I don’t want the NRC staff to see the unbundling of the NRC as a threat to their jobs.

” If we have a better performing NRC, then we are going to have better salaries for its workers, better working conditions for its workers, more revenue for the FG and therefore the ability to even build more rail networks’.

Sambo pointed out that the issue of encroachment on railway property will soon be a thing of the past as “MOFI was berthed for a specific reason and that reason is for the Federal Government to take control of its assets and create optimum value for these assets”.

In his contribution, the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, extolled the capabilities of the Managing Director, MOFI, Dr. Armstrong, saying he has full confidence that the MOFI team will deliver on the job.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, noted that the MOFI team, made up of young and intelligent people, has satisfied the yearning of Nigerians to have young people in positions of responsibility.

 She assured the MOFI team of the cooperation of the Ministry in their assignment.

Speaking earlier, the Chief Executive Officer, MOFI, Dr. Armstrong Katang, stated that the visit was to discuss how to create a more effective and efficient partnership between MOFI and the Ministry of Transportation.

Katang said the areas that have been identified for collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation included enumerating and valuing the Nigerian Railway Corporation to ensure that its value is captured in line with the current realities.

According to him, other areas included enumerating and capturing other critical assets within the Ministry, especially its infrastructure assets and establishing a task force with representation from the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Finance, with clear terms of reverence to help with the identified assignments.

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Edo government confirms abduction of 31 train passengers at Tom Ikimi train station

 —-one kidnapper arrested as FG condemns attack
The Eyewitness reporter
The Edo state government has confirmed the abduction of 32 passengers, who were waiting to board a train to Warri, Delta State by  Fulani herdsmen who stormed the railway station at Igueben, Edo State on Saturday, January 7th, 2023.
The  Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Mr. Chris Nehikhare made this disclosure when he visited the scene of the attack.

However, the  Edo State Police spokesman, Mr. Chidi Nwanbuzor, who broke the news of the incident hours after the assault,  is however yet to give an update on the latest development.

Nehikhare said in Benin on Sunday that the Deputy Governor of the state, Comrade Phillips Shaibu visited the Igueben Train Station for an on-the-spot assessment of rescue efforts just as he announced that one of the suspected kidnappers has been arrested.

The Edo State Government spokesman said that out of the 32 kidnap victims, one managed to escape from the den of the kidnappers, deep in the forest.

The commissioner disclosed that a combined team of military, police, vigilante, and local hunters are hot on the heels of the suspected kidnappers with a view to rescuing the victims.

Nehikhare said: “At the moment, security personnel made up of the military and the police as well as men of the vigilante network and hunters are intensifying search and rescue operations in reasonable radius to rescue the kidnap victims.

” As at 3 pm Sunday, one suspect has been captured and is helping police with their investigation.

“One victim out of the 32 people kidnapped escaped from the hands of the abductors. We are confident that the other victims will be rescued in the coming hours.”

While reiterating the government’s determination to ensure the prompt release of the hostages, he appealed for calm and urged citizens to assist security personnel with information on suspicious movements in and around their neighborhoods, particularly in the area where the rescue operation is taking place.

Meanwhile, the federal government has condemned in strong terms what it described as the despicable and utterly barbaric kidnapping of passengers at Tom Ikimi Train Station  Igueben Edo State.
In a release by the transportation ministry, the government reassured that the security agencies are making efforts to rescue the kidnapped Train passengers.
“The Nigerian Police is on the trail of the criminals and have mobilised with a view to protecting the lives and property of the remaining passengers.
“The Government is saddened by this unpleasant development and assures of its prompt response to the ugly situation” the terse statement concluded.
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