– As Nnadi moves to Tin Can Island Command
By Innocent Orok
Despite the closure of the Seme border to free flow of most international trade products , the command has hit it’s 2023 revenue target of N1.9bn as at 8th September 2023.
The Seme Command outgoing Area Controller, Comptroller Dera Nnadi in a press conference on Friday said the Seme border Command collected a total sum of N1,904,459, 390.77 only. This represents 97.2% of the N1,960,000,000 allotted target for the year 2023.
Comptroller Dera Nnadi took over the mantle of the Command on January 23rd , 2023.
“In the corresponding period under review for year 2022, the revenue was N885,543,098.11. The implication is that the Commands revenue profile witnessed a tremendous increase of N1, 018,916, 292. 33 (51.98%).
“This was as a result of painstaking efforts made by the leadership of the Command in partnership with our stakeholders to ensure compliance with our revenue generation agenda.
“In the area of anti-smuggling operation, you are already conversant with our past headline seizures (fake six million US dollars equivalent to two billion seven hundred million (N2.7b. This is in addition to other notable seizures recorded between January and August 2023 and listed below”, Nnadi said.
Aso under the seizures profile of the Command Thousand 9500, ( 50kg) bags of rice equivalent to sixteen trailer loads of foreign parboiled rice with Duty Paid Value of N312, 242, 064.93k. 13, 835 x 30 litres, Jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit equivalent to 415, 050 litres or 13 petroleum tankers with Duty Paid Value of 738,276, 461k and 15,389 of General Merchandise Goods. Hard Drugs and Narcotics:
Others are 41 parcels of Cannabis Sativa 4,900 tablets, 225mg of Tramadol Tamol-X,
3,600 tablets 225mg Tramadol Royal 225, 157 tablets of Heineken Ecstacy and 864 packs of Cigarettes .
In the same vein, Officers and Men of the Command acting on credible intelligence intercepted 1,364, 30 litres Jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit equivalent to 40,800 litres over one tanker load and with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N24, 663, 355 only at the early hours of Friday 8th September, 2023 along the Badagry Coast.
The total duty paid value for the items seized for the period, January to 8th September 2023 is N1, 827, 362, 619.
Comptroller Nnadi said “In addition to the above, in line with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) dictate of encouraging its personnels, the, Officers and Men of the Command that were involved in the seizures of fake Six million USD ($6,000,000) currency, fifteen fake international passports and ten Driver’s license, and that of Donkey skins in January, 2023 have been commended by the Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, dsm, fnipr, psc (+).
“The Commendation letters and Congratulatory letters from the Command would be presented to the beneficiaries today.”
The Seme Area Command advantageously lies on the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor (ALCO) which connects Lagos-Cotonou-Lomé-Accra-Abidjan. With a population of over 350 million people, this corridor and indeed the Command accounts for about 70% of the transit traffic in the ECOWAS sub-region.
This route is also a component of the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya (LAKAJI) corridor which extends from Lagos through Ogun, Oyo, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Kastina states in Nigeria. The LAKAJI corridor compliments the trade route from Abidjan through Cotonou to Niamey and even to Libya and Egypt. The significant of this corridor as an economic, cultural and political platform for regional integration of West Africa cannot be over emphasized.
Comptroller Dera Nnadi further said “Seme Area Command is the platform for the sustenance of the regional integration expected to be driven through the ECOWAS Protocol on the free movement of persons, goods, and services, the implementation of the various trade policies of the sub-region and the continent especially the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and the emerging African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“The objective of the ETLS and AfCFTA is to liberalise trade by abolishing customs duties and fees on imports and exports and the elimination of non-tariff barriers among member states. It is intended to achieve unhindered market access to the countries of the sub-region. Seme Area Command has worked assiduously to ensure that the region optimises this expectation”.
Among the trade blocks in Africa, the ECOWAS region has a population of 428.6 million people and ranks second in Africa after East Africa region with a population of 474.9 million people. It is expected that the potential inherent in this advantageous position will be translated to increased trade among countries of the ECOWAS subregion especially between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin with a combined population of nearly 250 million people.
Sadly, ECOWAS ranks fourth at 10%, when it comes to trade within the African Continent. Southern African Development Community (SADC) with a population of 69.2 million people ranks first in trading among themselves at 32. 12 percent, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) at 20.32 per cent, and Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) at 16.59 per cent. This is an indication that the ECOWAS region is yet to maximize the gains of ETLS. Again, this underscores the level of our limited preparedness for the African Continental Fre Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Several factors have been adjudged to hamper trade (between Nigeria and her proximate neighbour) within the sub-region especially transit trade across the countries and along the corridor. There have been several complaints by operators against the closure of the borders, the non-adherence to transit agreements signed under the ECOWAS, World Trade Organisation (WTO), World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff.
Again Nnadi said “Gentlemen of the Press, upon my assumption of duty on the 23 of January, 2023, I pledged to adopt new strategies to boost trade while enforcing the nation’s anti-smuggling laws along the Abidjan Lagos Corridor (ALCO) in line with the ECOWAS protocols on free movement of goods and persons.
“I also promised along with officers and men to encourage compliant traders along the corridor bearing in mind the challenges of the JBP as one that is still recovering from the effects of the border closure. We have kept faith with that as will be explained in due course.
It is important to note that the Nigeria 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures by the Federal Ministry of Finance lifted the ban on export of goods imported into Nigeria hitherto prohibited under item 8 Schedule 6 of the Common External Tariff. It is hoped that our stakeholders take full advantage of this gesture while our brothers from other countries in the sub-region particularly the Republic of Benin will reciprocate this gesture where there are existing trade barriers.
“It is gratifying to note that the CGC and the government of both countries and the stakeholders are all on the same page regarding the need to improve our relationship with a view to maximize the opportunities offered by the proximity of our two countries to the border and develop trade along the corridor.
“Let me appreciate the Comptroller General of Customs for his support to the Command and also appreciate the Seme Badagry Community for their cooperation and to officers and men of the Command for their gallantry and patriotism.
Our greatest appreciation goes to the media for highlighting our modest efforts in Seme Area Command.”