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Twitter dumps Nigeria  —–sites African operations headquarters in Ghana

The Internet giant, Twitter, has chosen Ghana ahead of Nigeria as the headquarters of its African operations.
The preference for Ghana was despite the over 2.5 million users of Twitter in Nigeria, which is about the third-largest in the continent after Egypt and South Africa.

The Twitter Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Jack Dorsey, confirmed this on Monday, saying, “Twitter is now present on the continent. Thank you, Ghana, and Nana Akufo Addo.”

“The choice of Ghana as Headquarters for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news. The government and Ghana welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country,” Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo also tweeted on Monday.

In a release, Twitter reinstated that its mission is to serve the public conversation, and it’s essential, for the world and for Twitter, to increase the number of people who feel comfortable participating in it.

It said, “Today, in line with our growth strategy, we’re excited to announce that we are now actively building a team in Ghana.

“To truly serve the public conversation, we must be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent.

“As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate.

 Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa.

“Whenever we enter new markets, we work hard to ensure that we are not just investing in the talent that we hire, but also investing in local communities and the social fabric that supports them.

“We have already laid foundations through partnerships with Amref Health Africa in Kenya, Afrochella in Ghana, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) in Nigeria, and The HackLab Foundation in Ghana

” As part of our long-term commitment to the region, we’ll continue to explore compelling ways we can use the positive power of Twitter to strengthen our communities through employee engagement, platform activation, and corporate giving.

“We still have much to learn but we are excited to listen, learn, and engage. Public conversation is essential to solving problems, building shared ideas, and pushing us all forward together. We can’t wait for the next step on that journey.”

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Wale Bashir Adeniyi: One year of impactful leadership as Customs Field Marshal 

With his towering stature, Wale Bashir Adeniyi, the 14th indigenous Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs service, bestrides the landscape of the service with maximum impact in the last one year of stewardship.
In a blistering performance which has left many in admiration and awe, Adeniyi has revolutionized the administration and operations of the NCS in the last one year in office.
The new Customs Sheriff clocks one year in office today, July 19th, 2024.
His appointment as the Comptroller General of Customs on 19th, June, 2023 by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, marked a turning point in the annal of the agency.
The last eight years in the Nigeria Customs Service have been characterised by undulating performance.
It has been a mixed bag of fortunes and misfortunes, rise and fall and tragicomedy in the performance of the service.
During those years, the rating of the service plummeted in the eye of the public and the stakeholders who were detached from the cold attitude of the top hierarchy of the Customs were not amused.
Most of the policies and actions of the service, most of which were devoid of human face, brought the agency into direct conflict with the public and the stakeholders due to the leadership style of the man who directed the affairs of the service for those years.
During those years, the officers were muffled and the stakeholders were ruffled.
Then came Adewale Adeniyi, the new Sheriff in Town.
Adeniyi ascended the high stool of Customs as the Customs Comptroller General at a time when the morale of officers was at the lowest ebb.
However, his coming, within a year in office,  has brought hope, joy and renewed enthusiasm among the officers while it has sparked off a newfound love among the stakeholders who are elated over the crowning of the home-grown officer.
The fortune of the service which dipped during the last eight years and its public rating which plummeted within that period due to the rein of a non-customs officer as the head, have now suddenly sprang to life with the coming of the new Sheriff.
In June 2023, the appointment of Adeniyi as the new CGC by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu marked a turning point in the affairs of the Customs.
It signalled a rebirth of the service which has been grappling with unfavourable public opinion.
As expected, the appointment of the new Sheriff sparked a spontaneous jubilation and exhilaration among the staff of the service and the stakeholders.
This was expected given the professional acumen of the new CGC and his impressive track record in a service he had held sway for the past 30 years.
Stakeholders, especially the confraternity of the freight forwarders, are unanimous in their assessment of the one year in office of Adeniyi.
Babatunde  Mukaila Abdulazeez, the former  National Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) couldn’t hide his feelings over the inspiring leadership of Adeniyi.
“It is a personal roller coaster feeling for me. We have never had it so good.”, he declared when he was asked to assess the performance of Adeniyi in his first year in the saddle as the CGC.
Ada Ozomena Akpunonu, another frontline freight forwarder and a top-notch member of the ANLCA, was no less impressed by the performance of Adeniyi as the CGC.
“He could eventually emerge as the best CGC customs ever had” she declared.
Ibrahim Tanko, the Vice President, the Western Zone of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) who is also the National Coordinator of the 100 compliance team of the association, also acknowledged the uncommon professional ingenuity of the new CGC.
“He has done well so far”, he stated tersely.
Dr Boniface Aniebonam, the legendary founder of NAGAFF was no less enamoured by the sparkling leadership qualities of Adeniyi as displayed within his first year in office.
“He is a communication strategist” he declared as a matter of fact.
Adeniyi, as a thoroughbred professional in customs administration and human relations, immediately brought remarkable changes from the stiff and top-of-horse leadership approach of the last eight years.
As an astute public relations expert, Adeniyi immediately went on an extensive engagement with all his officers and critical stakeholders.
He first engaged the powers that be with his direct engagement of Mr President, Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwolu and the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu.
He also paid homage to the traditional rulers, including the Oni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.
He thereafter engaged the officers, one-on-one at the Headquarters, interacting with them in their various offices under the air of camaraderie, displaying a rare leadership style that was alien in the last years in the service.
He then followed this up with a tour of the commands where he met with the officers before he headed to the border communities where he made a lot of efforts to create an atmosphere of mutual trust, support and harmonious relationship with the host communities and the customs, a vital ingredient that have long been lost to the last eight years of deep-seated suspicion and acrimony that were engendered by the unfriendly posture of the last regime.
Not done, the new CGC also engaged the members of the maritime media, his constituency during his almost two-decade-long impressive rein as the super public relations officer of the service.
Adeniyi was not unmindful of his counterpart across the border in the Benin Republic to whom he paid homage in a bid to foster a harmonious working relationship that would promote trade and discourage smuggling between the two West African neighbours.
The lawmakers were also not left out in his extensive and strategic engagement as he hosted the members of the Senate Committee on Customs.
In addition, members of various government organizations and private bodies tasted the irresistible lure of Wale’s hospitality.
He didn’t leave the freight forwarders out of his public engagement as he made direct contact with them in their areas of operations.
Adeniyi also reinvigorated the  Corporate Social Responsibility(CRS) of the service by visiting a motherless baby home in Ibadan where he promised to reactivate the milk of human kindness in the Customs under his leadership.
There was hardly any segment of society that Adeniyi did not court its cooperation and support to have an inclusive administration that is anchored on the goodwill of the people.
Adeniyi also thrust the NCS to the consciousness of the global community with his visit to China recently where he sold the boulstered the international image of the agency.
That is the hallmark of leadership excellence.
Adeniyi, as a versatile public relations expert, achieved a dual purpose with this extensive and strategic engagement.
First, he used it to reunite the customs with the critical stakeholders who had hitherto felt alienated by the detached managerial style of the last administration in customs.
Secondly, it used the engagement to launch the customs into a new path of operational rebirth where the new management he leads will carry out its onerous task with full cooperation and collaboration of critical stakeholders.
Similarly, the disbandment of the controversial CGC strike force and streamlining of the mushroom customs checkpoints has also endeared the new Sheriff to the stakeholders, especially the freight forwarders, who had had cause to complain in the past about the excesses of those special forces.
According to Babatunde Mukaila Abdulazeez “It is a personal roller coaster feeling for me. We had never had it so good
“Wale has shown that he has the capacity and what it takes to take Nigeria Customs to the next level.
“He has shown that Nigeria can be at par with the rest of the advanced world in the deployment of trade tools.
“Within his first year in office,  he has shown uncommon courage, commitment and uncanny knowledge of customs operations and processes that are meant to facilitate trade.
“For instance, he introduced what is called the Advance Ruling which holds Customs officers accountable for whatever their position is on pre-importation requests.
“I can tell you that it takes courage to do that as no officer would want to be held responsible for his action.
“But Adeniyi has done that. He was the first CG to bell the cat on this novel idea. This shows his courage and passion to transform customs.
“Also, he introduced another novel idea by partnering with the Japanese government to establish a laboratory for Nigeria Customs.
“The issue of argument on chemical imports will be a thing of the past. This will not only help the customs but the NAFDAC as well.
“Adeniyi, in his first one year in office, has shown us that he knows what needs to be done and that he is a core professional customs officer.
“We can only pray for him to succeed. He has put on the table accountability and transparency, he declared
For Ada Ozomena Akpunonu, Wale is a professional customs officer and “we all know his rich antecedents”
“Unfortunately, he came at a time when Nigeria’s economy is in comatose. This will make his task a bit difficult.
“For instance, the exchange rate is too high and the Customs duties are equally high which have both combined to make goods clearance at the port very exorbitant.
“Wale is a team player. He carries everyone along.
“Through the deployment of his Area Controllers, he has shown the depth of his managerial acumen because his men at the Area Commands are square pegs in square holes.
“By the time he spends four year in office,  he will perform wonders. The atmosphere in the customs now is that of conviviality and sanity.
“If not for the instability of the naira and the bastardized economy, Wale could emerge as the best CGC ever.
Ibrahim Tanko believed Wale is doing well as the CGC.
“He has done well in terms of reducing the bottleneck in clearance procedures by reducing the number of units.
“For instance, he has disbanded the notorious CG strike force as well as border drills.
“He is also working hard to restore the core values of the Federal Operations Units ( FOUs) of the service by enhancing their professionalism.
“He is also doing well in the area of checking the excesses of officers.
“He is also doing well in attending to pending cases such as seizures, detentions, dismissals and suspensions.
“However, I would like him to define and delineate the functions of Customs Police, FOU and Provosts.
Their functions and duties should be well-defined and clearly stated to avoid overlap and clash.
Boniface Aniebonam said Wale is a master communication strategist.
” I commend him on the disbandment of the CG strike force.”The interventionist squad had abused the customs process under previous customs administrations.
“We appreciate him for that. He should also take a very strong stance against avoidable trade alerts from different customs units.
“This does not facilitate trade. He should coordinate and hamonise the alert system and I know as a listening officer, he shall look into this disturbing issue.
“There are lot to still be done. However, his one year in office is well and good.
“He should, however, contact critical stakeholders and partner them by using established platforms such as ANLCA and NAGAFF to reach out to the trading public.
“His one year in office has been avoidably aggressive in revenue target and collection.”But the modern-day customs practice is not about revenue but trade facilitation.
”If you raise the compliance level of the trading public, this will lead to high revenue. He should de-emphasize revenue and emphasize trade facilitation which leads to high revenue” retorted Aniebonam.
But Wale’s one year in office has raised the compliance level of the trading public.
The deployment of one of the trading tools which is the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) is an eloquent testimony to that.
Adeniyi also showed his vast understanding of customs operations when he made trade facilitation the fulcrum of his administration.
All over the world, the Customs has duties to facilitate trade, collect revenue, detect and prevent smuggling, with none of the functions running counter against the others.
But over the years, especially in the last eight years, trade facilitation has been subjugated to revenue collection to the chagrin of stakeholders, but the decision of the new CAC not to injure trade facilitation in pursuit of revenue and smugglers is welcomed by the appreciative freight forwarders.
It is more gratifying to note that the new CGC has promised to break away from the past crude method of anti-smuggling tactics which had led to the avoidable death of officers and innocent people.
He hoped to achieve this by relying more on the deployment of technology which will maximise performance and minimise casualties.
The triumph of brain over brawn.
As the 14th indigenous Comptroller-General of Customs and 31st since its establishment in 1891, Wale Adeniyi, a brilliant public relations expert who is well grounded in Customs operations, is fast becoming a new face of the customs, a beckon of hope for the officers and stakeholders who have been yarning for a change from the last eight years of mutual suspicion and acrimony between the customs and its publics.
Stakeholders have therefore hailed the  Nigerian Customs Service Act, especially Section 14(1)(a) of the Act,  which states that “The President shall appoint a career officer from the Service, not below the rank of Assistant-Comptroller General (who shall be responsible for the overall management of the service) and be accountable for all revenue collections and all expenditures made under this Act”.
It was this new Act that enabled President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to discover and unleash the talents and professional acumen of Wale Adeniyi on the customs for maximum impact.
Until his appointment, Adeniyi was in charge of Strategic Research and Policy at the Customs Headquarters in Abuja.
A professional who is conscious of the need to build a solid image for the agency, Adeniyi once served as customs spokesman for almost two decades until January 2017 when he was redeployed to the Apapa Area Command as a Deputy Comptroller.

He was promoted to the rank of Comptroller in 2017 and appointed Deputy Commandant of the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja.In 2019, he was redeployed to serve as the Controller of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Command, Lagos where he made the famous seizure of $8.07m cash.

He was promoted to the rank of Assistant Comptroller General in February 2020 shortly after he supervised the seizure of $8.07 million cash being illegally taken out of Nigeria through the E-Wing of the international airport tarmac.

 He was subsequently posted to head the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja as Commandant.

In recognition of his service, former President Muhammadu Buhari, on October 11, 2022, conferred the national honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) on Adeniyi.

Stakeholders are unanimous in their conviction that the Nigeria Customs Service will witness a galloping development, turn around of fortunes and professional excellence under the stewardship of  Adeniyi.

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Ade Dosunmu, former NIMASA DG, lauds FG move to wean 774 local Councils in Nigeria from states’ control 

Funso Olojo

The former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has lent his voice to the legislative move of the Federal Government to grant autonomy to the 774 local government councils in Nigeria.

It could be recalled that the federal government through the Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, has dragged the 36 states of the Federation to the Supreme Court in a bid to wean the hapless local councils from their control and grant them autonomy.
However, Dr Dosunmu has described the initiative as a landmark one that is long overdue.
In a press statement he sent to our reporter, Dosunmu observed that the lack of local government autonomy has hampered the progress of the country’s democratic journey.
“I commend the Federal government whose Attorney General Of The Federation,  Lateef Fagbemi SAN has approached the Supreme Court to pursue this landmark initiative.
 “There is no doubt that our Democratic journey has been very slow due to lack of Autonomy for the third tier of government as practiced in other Democratic climes” Dosunmu declared.
He however called the attention of the Attorney General to the ambiguity in the 4th schedule and section 7 of the 1999 constitution which is contradictory to the autonomy of the local government

“The office of the Attorney General Of The Federation should however, bear in mind the ambiguity in the 4th schedule and section 7 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which recognised local governments as the third tier of government but also in a contradictory manner gives some functions to State Government and Houses of Assembly with regards to Local Government Administration.

“This and other contradictory clauses need to be amended to reflect the complete financial and Administrative autonomy as it’s been operated in other federal systems,” he noted.
The erstwhile NIMASA boss commented on the bold initiative of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and urged him to go the full hog in breaking the jinx of local government autonomy.
He believed that autonomy for local government would lead to rapid development of the country at it lead to the devolution of powers to the grassroots.
“I commend the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR for this bold step and urge him to go all out to break this jinx by removing the clog in the wheel of our development and progress.
“You can imagine the impact that will be created if 774 local governments are independent and free from the apron spring of the state governments.
“Nigerians will immediately start enjoying the dividends of democracy directly across the country in all the 774 Local Governments and also have a say in determining the Political leadership at their Local Governments.
 “The fact that every Nigerian lives in a local Government underscores the strategic importance of granting full autonomy to the Local Governments” Dosunmu noted.
He urge well-meaning Nigerians to support this initiative as its benefits are immense
“The benefit of this initiative is huge and should be supported by all well-meaning Nigerians.
“The important benefit of this initiative is that it will attract more quality personalities to take part in the running of Local Governments and reduce the emphasis on the State and Federal Governments thereby widening the space for political inclusiveness.

 “This will invariably reduce the burden on Federal and State Governments allowing them to focus on broader policy issues.

“Other benefits of Local government autonomy include the power to govern and make decisions independently which can lead to efficient service delivery, it will also foster transparency and accountability as Local Governments will be responsible for their decisions, finances and actions leading to better governance.

“It will strengthen our democratic institutions by ensuring a more equitable distribution of power and resources.

“Finally, Local Governments being the closest to the people are in a better position to understand the needs of their community and provide the same.

“In summary, granting full autonomy to local governments in Nigeria will lead to better governance, increased citizen participation, improved service delivery, and accelerate development at the grassroots level.

“This is no doubt the way to go in our determination to achieve good governance and development” Dosunmu concluded.

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Lagos govt. commences clean-up of Apapa – Oworonshoki Expressway 

The Eyewitness Reporter 
The Lagos State government, through the Lagos Waste Management Authority(LAWMA), has commenced the final pre-commissioning cleaning of the recently rebuilt Apapa-Oworonshoki Expressway, focusing on the area around Coconut Bus Stop.

The first phase of the cleanup started a few weeks ago following the removal of the tankers and trailers that had for long queued along the highway, preventing access by LAWMA equipment to clean the rubbish deposited on the road by the unruly tanker drivers and their service providers.

This operation brings together three specialized LAWMA teams, namely,the Operations Team, the Marine and Vegetal Waste Unit, and the Highway Sanitation Sweepers.

The Operations unit will look after the bulk evacuation of waste and coordination of the cleanup operation.

The equipment used are  Payloaders, excavators, backhoes, and tipper trucks.
The target is to move over 500 truckloads of bulk waste, setbacks, medians, and drainage channels along the highway; safely transport and dispose at landfills

The Marine and Vegetal waste unit takes care of manual clearing of waste from drainages that cannot be reached by mechanical equipment.

The target of the unit is to ensure the safe and complete removal of remnant waste from drainage channels along the median and sides of the road.

The main objective of the highway sanitation unit is to clean and polish road surfaces to enhance the aesthetics of the highway, using the method of manual sweeping with hard brushes, cleaning with pressure washers to remove residual waste and beautify the area and final mop-up and polishing with mechanical sweepers

The Coordination, monitoring and sustenance unit is responsible for daily strategy sessions and quality checks to ensure the operation runs smoothly and meets high standards.
The unit will also coordinate with other stakeholders like the Nigerian Ports Authority, and Dangote Industries as well as make available double Dino bin locations to cater for public waste collection from markets and low-income communities.
It will also introduce waste monitoring, enforcement, and policing along the Expressway to prevent recurrence.

The cleanup effort by LAWMA  underscores its commitment to improving environmental quality and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of our roads and highways.

“Our overarching goal is to ensure a clean and pleasant environment for both residents and commuter” the agency said.
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