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I have the right to know what’s going on at NPA— Ameachi —says noise over suspension of Hadiza unnecessary.

 Eyewitness reporter

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has dismissed as unnecessary the controversy which the suspension of Hadiza Bala Usman, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has so far generated among Nigerians.

Ameachi, who made this assertion on Monday in Abuja while inaugurating the 11- man committee that will probe the alleged financial impropriety against the suspended NPA Chief, declared that he has the right, as the Minister of Transportation, to know what is going on at NPA.
Ameachi, who was apparently bemused with the hysteria that greeted the development, said it was ridiculous for people to say he should not exercise his oversight functions over the NPA or any other agency under his ministry.
He said as a Minister of Transportation for over four years, he hardly knew what is going on in NPA, adding that it was high time for him to know what is going on in the place.
“As the Minister of Transportation for four years, I hardly know what is happening and I want to know now”
He declared that investigation is part of the mandate of the ministry to oversee the activities of its various agencies.
“This is in the discharge of our responsibility as a ministry and I don’t see why anybody is complaining.

“What is wrong in looking at what is happening in NPA? I don’t see what is wrong with that.

“The President agrees with me that it’s my responsibility as Minister to find out what is going on.

“It worries me that people are saying we should not ask questions. Nobody has been indicted.

“It is just, can we know what is going on in NPA? That’s the question.
“If everything is right, why do we have to bother at the end of the day?

inauguration of NPA probe panel

Speaking in the same vein, the Minister of state,  Gbemisola Saraki, described the public reactions over the suspension of Hadiza as surprising, adding that the investigation was within the purview of the ministry.
“This is why the Ministry supervises and part of that role is looking, asking questions, and ensuring that things are done in due process.
“For the panel, there is so much noise,  so it’s best you block your ears,  keep your head down and do what is in the interest of the entire country,” Saraki charged members of the panel.
While admonishing the probe panel, Ameachi asked the members to be diligent, focused, and thorough in their assignment.
“When you have completed your assignment, we will be glad to pass on the report to the President, but don’t forget your assignment will include activities of procurement and its processes from 2016 till date.

“And that is why you do not have a time limit. So, it will take you some time. You are not auditing, but finding out the processes.

“Please be diligent,  invite anybody you want to invite, including the Minister, if there are infractions you need me to clarify,” he said.
According to Amaechi, NPA is an agency that manages maritime trading activities in Nigeria and should be able to get in a lot of resources for the government to run the country.
It would be recalled that on May 6th, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the recommendation of the Amaechi for the setting up of an Administrative Panel of Inquiry to investigate the management of the NPA.

Amaechi, while inaugurating the committee on Monday in Abuja, charged the members to be diligent and ensure they do a thorough job.

The committee’s terms of reference, he said, include examining and investigating the administrative policies and strategies adopted by NPA’s Managing Director, Hadiza Usman, and confirm compliance with extant laws and rules from 2016 till date.

”Examine and investigate issues leading to the termination of other contracts of NPA and confirm compliance with the terms of the respective contracts,  court ruling and presidential directives.

“Examine and investigate compliance with communication channels, as obtained in the public service.

“Examine and investigate the procurement of contracts from 2016 to date.

“Come up with suggestions and advice that would strengthen the operations of NPA and forestall such occurrences in the future.

“And any other matter that may be necessary for the course of the assignment,” the Minister said.

He thanked the committee for accepting to serve and also appreciated the Minister of State for Transport, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, for her diligence on the matter.

The Minister then reiterated that the public should allow the ministry to do its job.

“Let us reduce the shouting and allow the committee to do its job. Then, we will come out with a report, which we will avail to the public after it is being passed to the President,” he said.
The  Chairman of the committee, Mr. Suleiman Auwalu, Director of Maritime Services of the Ministry,  pledged the commitment of other members to diligently carry out the duties assigned to them.
 “I assure you that we are going to work; we are going to be honest and fair in the discharge of this responsibility.
”At the end of the day, we want to turn up a report that will be true and it will be in the interest of the country.

“So, we are seeking God’s guidance for us to do the right thing at the right time.”

It should also be recalled that President Buhari approved that Usman stepped aside for the period of the investigation while directing Mr Mohammed Koko, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the NPA, to serve as the Acting Managing Director of the agency.
The panel has no time limit to submit its report.
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Customs

Freight Forwarders applaud Customs over new VIN valuation

—- as reworked policy comes on stream Friday
Eyewitness reporter
In a rare show of satisfaction and mutual agreement, the highly critical freight forwarders have applauded the Nigeria Customs Service over the new Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy.
The new vehicle valuation, which was first introduced about two months ago, was greeted with uproar from the freight forwarders who described the policy as inhuman and unrealistic due to the high values it placed on vehicles.
This led to the suspension of the system by the customs authority which thereafter reworked and improved the policy by accommodating the observations and grievances of freight forwarders.
At the second stage of the demonstration and sensitization of stakeholders on the new VIN valuation held at the Apapa Customs command Thursday, the freight Forwarders were full of praises for the customs over the improved valuation system which they all agreed has addressed and accommodated their views.
“This is very good. The new VIN valuation system has accommodated all our observations, even though there is room for improvement.
“It has taken care of the savage vehicles and accidented vehicles, which the first VIN didn’t consider”, Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and one of the most critical voices of the system, said.
Earlier, the Customs Area Controller of Apapa Command, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf, who is the host, enjoined the stakeholders to take full advantage of the automated system which he said would make goods clearance procedure seamless and faster.
While welcoming the stakeholders to the sensitization meeting, Comptroller Yusuf urged them to be compliant with the extant guidelines to enable them to enjoy the benefits of the new system.
He assured them help desk would be created in each of the commands to help resolve the teething problems that are bound to crop up, adding that there would be continuous engagement and improvement on the new valuation policy.
He told the appreciative stakeholders that the VIN valuation policy is irreversible and will be deployed this Friday, May 20th, 2022.
Comptroller Festus Okun, the Customs Area Controller of Ports Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command said the Customs, through the VIN valuation, has imbibed basic principles of taxation which include predictability, neutrality, simplicity, and efficiency.

Comptroller Kunle Oloyede of Tin Can Island Port,  described VIN as a platform for robust gathering of statistical analysis and data for national economic purposes relying on the template of accuracy that will further integrate NCS with other ministries, departments and agencies.

Comptroller Hammi Swomen of Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command, who sought more cooperation from all stakeholders, stated that sincere declarations without tampering with relevant information contained in Single Goods Declaration or mismatching information will aid in quicker clearance and seamlessness of the VIN system.

Comptroller Anthony Udenze of the Tariff and Trade Department at Customs headquarters urged vehicle importers and their agents to avoid acts that would delay the process of clearing.

He explained that the process of identifying salvage and accident vehicles under the VIN regime would be very transparent as the declarant would be expected to attach photos showing the accidented vehicles.

He further explained that for vehicles to be treated as accidented, the chassis must be affected by the accident not just by removing fenders, bumpers and headlamps.

However, Farinto called for true declaration and compliance on the part of freight forwarders. w2hivh he said will facilitate their clearance of goods and also made the Customs to introduce more changes such as auto release for used vehicles.

Comptroller Yusuf promised that the issue of auto release of used vehicles, which is not yet accommodated in the new system, will be looked into by the Customs High Command.
The new improved VIN valuation policy has therefore addressed most of the major concerns of stakeholders who said they couldn’t wait to start using the system.
The new system has been given a human face as the assessed values are adjudged as fair and the process transparent by the freight forwarders.
It has also considered the two options of salvage vehicles and accidented vehicles.
It is harmonisation and unification of all the hitherto isolated different values at the commands.
According to Comptroller Udenze, the new VIN valuation considers all the variants and series of all vehicles.
The technological system, which is expected to promote trade facilitation, has also been amended to reflect the reduction in the value of vehicles..

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Foreign

U.S. picks 56 young Nigerians for Mandela Washington Fellowship

US President, Joe Biden
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Headlines

Prophet Akinpelu calls  for Southeast presidency

Prophet Oludele Akinpelu,

 

—condemns  criminal silence of politicians on Deborah’s death

Adebayo Obajemu

Popular prophet, Oludele Akinpelu, the presiding pastor of Living God Freedom Church  Àlagbado, has urged the political class to play by the rules and allow equity and justice to have a foothold, saying that it was time for the political system to allow for the president of Igbo extraction.

He made this call in a press release at the end of his annual 41- day of prayers and fasting.
The popular prophet noted for prophetic utterances which normally come to pass added that for the sake of equity and fairness, the Southeast of the country should be allowed to produce the next president of the country.
” For the sake of equity and justice, I urge all presidential contenders from all parts of the country in all the parties to withdraw for Southeast candidates who will then sort themselves out in the primary.
” A nation can not survive if it is built on injustice, honestly, my heart is with the people of the southeast on the issue of the 2023 presidential ticket.
” And I know I’m not alone in this. Pa Ayo Adebanjo expressed a similar sentiment. That’s the way to go if this country must survive.”
He also condemned politicians for not speaking out in the case of Deborah Samuel, who was murdered by fellow students at the Shehu Shagari College of Education for allegedly making derogatory comments on Prophet Mohammed.

” We must condemn jungle justice, if the lady had done something wrong let the court of competent jurisdiction decides.

“The two religions – Islam and Christianity have respect for the sanctity of human life, so I can’t understand where the murderers got their inspiration.
“Even the respected Sheikh Gumi said as much that Prophet Mohammed was insulted severally but he didn’t do anything harmful to his traducers.
“We must be guided by respect for law in our action.”
 The respected prophet urged the political class to put their house in order and do the needful to take the country out of economic hardship, insecurity, and pervasive poverty that pervade the land, warning that God’s anger is on those bent on sponsoring crises and insecurity in the country.

He  declared that “unless politicians repent and  seek the face of the Lord, sudden punishment awaits them for bringing the country to a shameful low in the eyes of the international community through their ill-thought-out economic policies, greed, self-aggrandizement and lack of concern for the welfare of citizens who entrusted them with power and representation.”

In his message to Nigerians, he urged the people to repent and seek the path of righteous living, adding that the current insecurity situation in the country calls for concerted prayers on the side of both Christians and Moslems.

It could be recalled that last June in his open-air crusade in Ikare Akoko which attracted over five hundred thousand people, he prophesied that the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic would wane in Nigeria from the first quarters of 2023, he also said that unless fervent prayers were offered, a notable religious leader in Nigeria would die in the first quarters of this year. All the prophecies have since come to pass.

He attributed the worsening insecurity in the country to the activity of forces of darkness who are bent on foisting a sinister agenda on the country, cashing in on poverty and illiteracy to recruit an army of jobless illiterates to carry out their agenda.

He blamed the current administration for not doubling down on countermeasures against bandits, wondering why the administration is reluctant to name individuals fingered as sponsors of banditry, but added that divine punishment awaited those sponsoring insecurity which had led to the loss of lives of innocent citizens of the country.

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