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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 hails Buhari on railway modernisation project

—- as NRC boss lists vandalisation, insecurity as bane of sector.
The Eyewitness reporter
The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has lauded President Mohammad Buhari over his government’s railway modernisation project, saying the achievement recorded in the sector is unprecedented.
Giving the commendation Friday while on a visit to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) headquarters in Lagos, Sambo declared that the achievement recorded in the sector has triggered catalyst effects on the Nigerian economy.
The Minister also commended the leadership role his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, played in the modernisation project which he said would remain indelible in the annal of history of the country.
“The progress in the rail sub-sector is unprecedented. The gratitude goes to President Muhammadu Buhari and those of you here who supported him”
“I wish to thank my immediate predecessor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Ameachi, for all he has done especially in the rail sub-sector. He has indeed left an indelible mark”,
“I want to thank those of you that we met on board for having achieved all that we have seen and some of them we are going to see today. The progress in the rail sub-sector is something that we are all proud of.
“I think the gratitude goes to my predecessor and those of you here who supported him. We must commend him for all the things he did while he was in office.
“One of those achievements is in the Rail sub-sector. I want to join everyone in hailing my immediate predecessor, Right Honourable Rotimi Amaechi for all he has done, especially in the rail sub-sector.
“He has indeed left an indelible mark, which you cannot take away from him.
“Those of us that have come after him, have a very limited time but we have vowed to continue from where he stopped and we can only make an impression. If we get your total support.
“So far, we have received that support and we hope that the support will continue until the last day which is May 29, 2023, may God spare our life,” the minister declared.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, appreciated the Ministers of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo and Prince Ademola Adewole Adegoroye for the visit, stating that it allows them to have first-hand information on the NRC modernization projects.
On recent challenges faced by the Corporation, Okhiria identified insecurity and vandalisation and used the occasion to thank the Minister and his team for their efforts towards ensuring that railway corridors are secured for the safety of passengers and other stakeholders.
“I will also commend the effort of the Honourable Minister by ensuring all hostages of the AKTS infamous train attack were released before the resumption of train operations on the AKTS. This shows the compassion and empathy of our Honourable Minister,” the Managing Director said.
However, Sambo described the Nigerian Railway Corporation as a bedrock of social-economic development which has influenced many lives.
He added that the Nigerian Railway Corporation has a rich history of unifying the people and impacting so many lives.
“The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has a very rich history and a lot of us who are our age know the impact the railway corporation has had on so many families in this country.
“Some people speak Igbo because their parents worked in the Railway corporation, some people speak Hausa because their parents worked in the Northern part of the country at a point or the other in their lives all because of their employment with the NRC, indeed this corporation has done well in unifying the country.
“It is so unfortunate that this bedrock of social-economic development was allowed to die, to be laid comatose. At a time when we discovered oil and at a time when we even said at one time that we didn’t even know what to do with money.
“Honesty, I wish the incumbent President had come much earlier. However, it is better late than never. The foundation is laid and there is no going back. I don’t think any government will come after this and not continue with the Railway modernization program of this administration, which has been very robust.” he said.
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Amidst resurging fuel scarcity, Lagos commercial drivers threaten to go on strike.

—to embark on mass protest, service boycott over multiple extortions by garage touts.
The Eyewitness reporter.
 Amidst the resurgence of fuel scarcity in Lagos, the commercial drivers in Lagos State, under the aegis of the Joint Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (JDWAN), have threatened to embark on seven -day protest and boycott of services across the state over multiple and excessive extortions by the management of parks and garages in the state.
The association, in a statement by its National Leader, Akintade S. Abiodun; Chairman, Opeyemi Sulaiman; General secretary, Ajimatanarareje A. Feyisayo and Assistant Secretary, Taofik Hassan, has scheduled Monday, October 31, for the commencement of the protest, as it instructed its members to adhere to the instruction.
The drivers lamented that despite their dedication to their work, they had been subjected to indiscriminate extortion, and violent harassment by the management of state transport agencies, motor parks and garages and the Lagos State caretaker committee.
The statement read, “This is to notify members of the public and the Lagos state government over multiple and excessive extortions by the motor parks and garages management.
“The cost of transportation affects the cost of goods and services and consequently the cost of living, which has spiraled astronomically in Lagos State as a result of the effect of motor parks excessive and illegal ticketing and tolling at almost every bus stop.
“We have been sentenced to the extortion and violent harassment of the state transport agencies – Lagos State motor parks and garages management and Lagos State caretaker committee.
“On a daily basis, we lose half of our income to the motor park boys.
” We pay exorbitant charges in the garages and at every bus stop where we drop off passengers, whether we pick up passengers or not, we pay morning, afternoon and night.
“Some routes have 25 bus stops which also serve as illegal tax collection avenues.
“We crave the indulgence of the public to go through the meticulous breakdown of this unprecedented level of extortion we go through below:
“From Badagry to Mile 2, we pay N3,500 & N5,000 naira apart from 25 illegal tolling/ticketing by motor park hoodlums who collect two to three hundred naira per bus.
” From Seme in their park, they do collect N7,100 in the morning before loading our buses yet we are still subject to illegal collection on the highway.
“On Federal Mass & Coaster, we pay over N12,000 on each trip from Oko Afo to CMS or to Oyingbo, which includes loading charges and illegal payments at several bus stops till we get to our destination.
“From Ogijo to Ikorodu, we pay over N5,500 per day. Garage Ticket N850, Chairman ticket N1,700, King’s levy N200, Ita Oluwo N500, Odo Gunyon N1,200, Ile Epo Oba N200.
“We also pay N900 for passIng by whether you pick up a passenger or not.
(At Ikorodu Roundabout, we pay N1,000 in the morning and afternoon and we pay N500 in the evening which makes it N2,500.
“At Benson Bus Stop, we pay N900 for a whole day, loading at N300 each for morning, afternoon and evening.
“At Agric Bus Stop, we pay N200 to 8 motor park thugs. It is called welcome to Agric tax.
“When we stop to load for passengers at the agric bus stop, we pay an extra N300 which isn’t part of the N1,600 welcome to Agric tax.
“When we get to Aunty Kenny bus stop, we pay N200 before buying a Lagos state ticket for N500.
“At the Ogolonto bus stop, we pay N100. At Mile 12 bus stop, we pay N500 for plying the expressway and N1,000 for plying the service lane (for buses en route to Yaba Oyingbo).
“Mile 12 to Ojuelegba buses pay N1,500 while red coaster buses pay N2,000.
“Red buses from Ikorodu to Oshodi pay N5,000 to motor park boys in the morning and afternoon.
” At Ketu bus stop, we pay between N600 to N1,000 depending on the size of the bus for just dropping off passengers or picking up any single one.
“For buses plying Yaba to Ikeja, we pay N200 at Jibowu bus stop, total bus stop N100, Fadeyi N100, Onipanu N200, Elediye N200, Palmgrove N200, Anthony N100, Ikeja N200 – total N1,300.
“On our way back to Yaba, Palmgrove & Onipanu is N500, Fadeyi & Total N500, Yaba N200 with LASG N800 ticket making it a total of N3,300 in the morning alone.
“We pay N2,000 each in the afternoon and evening, which makes a total of N7,300 daily.
” Korope plying lyana Iba-Okoko to Agbara are paying N5,000 per day to motor park boys without the extra LASTMA & Police Department & Lagos Task Force daily extortion.
“When we resist the extortion, we get arrested and pay N10,000 for bail to the police while the motor park boys go scot free and we also have to bail our buses separately.
“Lagos drivers also pay for entertainment, security, unit chairman’s food”.
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FG mulls privatisation of rail services —as NRC bemoans running at loss

The Eyewitness Reporter
The management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation(NRC) has cried to the federal government for intervention as the corporation is running rail services at a huge loss.
The Chairman of the NRC Board, Engr. Ibrahim Alhassan Musa, made this disclosure yesterday during the courtesy visit of the board of the corporation on the Minister of Transpportation,Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, in his office.
Engr. Musa told the Minister that the high cost of Diesel has pushed up the operational cost of the corporation beyoud what it could cope with, thus calling for the timely intervention of government to safe the situation.
He said government intervention was critical at this point in time as the Railway Service is one of the things the present Administration prides itself on, especially the Lagos – Ibadan, the Warri – Itakpe and the Abuja-Kaduna railway lines.

However, the Minister informed his guests that the government was considering unbundling the Nigerian Railway Corporation to make its services more efficient and effective.

According to him, the Nigerian Railway Corporation cannot be the  Owner, Operator and Regulator at the same time, pointing out that ” the private sector is the engine of growth.
”Let someone else operate your lines efficiently. We cannot have an agency that is  Owner,  Regulator and Operator at the same time”.
Briefing the Board on what the Government is doing concerning the resumption of rail services, the Minister said commercial operations will resume after security measures are installed to forestall a reoccurrence of train attacks in the country.
“We are looking at how the rail lines can be safe by putting 24 hours surveillance and immediate response apparatus”.
Furthermore, he said the security measures would include short and long-term plans, with the short-term plans taking effect in November.
Speaking further, Sambo said that in addition to the security measures, he had promised Nigerians that rail services will become operational only when those kidnapped in the Abuja – Kaduna train service had regained their freedom and are reunited with their families.
“I’ve told Nigerians that I will not run the services until every captive is released. We are lucky today, they are all released and reunited with their families. We are also lucky that all of them are back alive and were all given proper medical care”, the Minister added.
In relation to infrastructural development in the country, the Minister said no Government had invested more in infrastructure than President Muhammadu Buhari’s  Administration.
In his words: ” I dare say that no Government has invested in infrastructure more than President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government”.
The Minister, further informed that a  National Transportation Policy that will articulate a seamless transportation system for the country will soon be launched, urging the Board to ready itself by looking for alternative sources of cheaper and cleaner energy for the transport sector.
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