Sunday, August 21, 2016
Rising from an emergency town hall meeting, the community noted that any further delay could see the community cut off by erosion.
Felele community, linking Okene/Abuja road has been washed away by erosion leaving ditches which cut off the major road in the community.
Also the community further pleaded with both the state and federal governments to come to their rescue by embarking on recovery of the road through asphalt and drainage construction.
Abdullahi, however commended the Lokoja local government, Kogi State and the federal governments on their interests in the community but pleaded with them to see the erosion menace as an embarrassment to the state.
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Thursday, August 18, 2016
2. A shift in Convention Venue from Portharcourt to Abuja, Harmonisation of convention committee among the two factions, Adoption of the last congress executives as delegates and Co - convention chairmanship with Makarfi declaring convention open while Sheriff do the handing over to the newly elected PDP chairman. Both chairmen to address convention. All these were rejected by the said Governors.
3. Chief Bode George, Prof. Adeniran and High Chief Dokpesi resolved to jointly walk out of convention ground and hold a press conference over mutilation of delegates list in favour of an anointed aspirant.
4. Only Ondo and Ekiti state in south west will have their full delegates participating at the convention. Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos only has statutory delegates for the convention. Those state are having parallel executives while Oyo is yet to conduct congress.
5. Governor Fayose was blocked from leaving the Rivers state presidential lodge. He missed the re - arranged convention/ NEC meeting at the Rivers state PDP secretariat.
6. PDP Governors splits over Bode George and Jimi Agbaje. Governor Mimiko leading some governors for BG while Governor Wike/Fayose was leading others for Jimi Agbaje.
7. Some National PDP leaders including President Goodluck Jonathan, Fmr Senate President, David Mark, Fmr Speaker HOR Dimeji Bankole, Fmr Governors etc remain neutral in the PDP crisis therefore did not participate in the convention.
8. The botched PDP convention is a blessing in disguise since the outcome would have further polarised the Makarfi/Wike/Fayose/Mimiko faction.
9. A notable PDP leader/ Senator from Ogun State was alleged to be playing double game therefore leading to an open confrontation with another Ogun State National Assembly member.
10. The PDP crisis is more about positioning for 2019 elections and goes beyond the present gladiators. Crisis rumoured to be influenced by some APC bigwigs preparing grounds to launch their presidential ambition in PDP and some Governors promoting same to get the VP slot.
11. The court pronouncements in Abuja was aimed to create a vacuum in PDP leadership since the tenure of the Makarfi led CTC would have ended this weekend and the Governors countered this with the PHC FHC ruling. The party would have be left without a leadership or be forced to accept Sen. Ali Modu Sherriff had the convention fails to hold.
12. Arising from the irreconcilable differences in PDP leadership, it's becoming glaring that a new political platform is in the offing.
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Thursday, August 4, 2016
My dear Asiwaju,
I am compelled to write this open letter to you because of the state of affairs of the Yoruba nation. Firstly, I wish to acknowledge that fate has put you in a prime position to determine to a large extent the direction that the Yoruba people will go. The indisputable truth is that one may quarrel with your politics but your sagacity is never in doubt. Even those who don't see eye to eye with you agree that you are imbued with unusual native intelligence, uncommon people skills and unrivaled foresight. You, more than any other person, has been the game changer since the advent of democracy in 1999. It is for these reasons that I have chosen to direct this letter to you.
My singular purpose is to tug at the strings of your heart. I am not writing to appeal to partisan considerations but to see, if per chance, I can pour out my heart to you in a manner of speaking. God has blessed you even beyond your wildest imagination. You have installed Senators and Governors. You have removed Governors and even a President. You have also installed a President. There is nothing you have wished for or desired that you didn't get. Fortune has smiled on you. Goodwill follows you everywhere you go. You have done very well- more than most men ever will. However, there is one area that is begging for your urgent attention. This area may well define you and all you have ever achieved. This matter, in my opinion, is the only difference between you and the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Let me restate for the purpose of emphasis that this is the area in which the late sage and Leader of the Yorubas stand head and shoulders above you. It is the reason his name has been a constant denominator in our regional and national politics. It is the reason politicians, friends and foes invoke his name for political advantage and personal glory. It is also the reason why we can't stop talking about him almost thirty years after his death. What will anyone say about you thirty years after you have transited?
Asiwaju Sir, you may be wondering what I'm talking about? It is the issue of legacy. According to Peter Strople, 'Legacy is not leaving something for people, it is leaving something in people'. Legacy is building something that outlives you. Legacy is greater than currency. In the words of Leonard Sweet, ' What you do is your history. What you set in motion is your legacy'. You can't live forever, Sir. No one can. But you can create something that will. Enough of speaking in parables- I shall now speak plainly.
When destiny brought you on the scene, we were enamoured because you championed the case for true federalism. It was your belief then that the Yoruba nation will fare better under a restructured arrangement than under the type of unitary government we run while pretending by calling it a federal government. Everyone knows that there is nothing federal about our government at all. If truth must be told, the Yoruba nation has fared very badly since the advent of our new democracy. And this is not about holding power at the centre.
Let me bring this home: someone passed a comment recently that he would want Biafra to become a reality because he knows the Igbo nation will survive. That comment led me to deeper introspection as I wondered if the Yorubas can truly survive. Let me cite my first example. From Oyo to Osun, Ogun to Ondo, Ekiti to Kwara and Lagos, hardly will one see any serious industry or manufacturing concern owned by a Yoruba person. I am not talking about portfolio businesses or one-man business concerns. Most industries in Oyo State are owned by the Lebanese. The native business and industry gurus who dominated the landscape- Nathaniel Idowu, Amos Adegoke, Lekan Salami, Alao Arisekola, Adeola Odutola, Jimoh Odutola, Chief Theophilus Adediran Oni and others- are all gone with no credible replacements. I'm sure you remember the tyre factory of the Odutolas and how Jimoh Odutola was even asked by the Governments of Kenya and Ghana to set up a similar factory in their countries. Chief Theophilus Adediran Oni, popularly called T.A Oni & Sons started the first indigenous construction company in Nigeria. He willed his residence- Goodwill House, to the Oyo/Western state government, to be used as a Paediatric Hospital, which is now known as T.A Oni Memorial Children Hospital at Ring Road in Ibadan. This sprawling family Estate and residence was cited on a 15acre piece of land, 65 rooms, with modern conveniences, Olympic Swimming Pool and stable for Horses, etc.
People like Chief Bode Akindele started companies like Standard Breweries and Dr Pepper Soft drink factory at Alomaja in Ibadan. Broking House built by the late Femi Johnson, an insurance magnate, still stands glittering in the mid-day sun as an epitome to a rich history that Ibadan has. The most serious and only notable Yoruba entrepreneur we have now is Michael Adenuga. I say this quite consciously because most of the other names are oil and gas barons. Most of what stood as testaments of industry in Oyo State are gone- Exide Batteries, Leyland Autos and many others. In its place are shopping malls and road side markets but no nation develops through buying and selling alone- especially when you're not actually producing what you're selling. Hypermarkets and supermarkets have taken over because of the need to feed our insatiable consumer-appetite and foreign tastes. In one instance, an ancient landmark in the form of a hotel was demolished to pave way for a mall. That is how low we have sunk. If our past is better than our present- if we always look back with nostalgia frequently, then there is a problem.
The case of other states is not different. Osun's case is pathetic. Ditto for Ondo and Ekiti. Ogun State can boast of some factories at Sango-Otta and Agbara axis but most of them are not owned by the Yorubas. There is no significant pharmaceutical company owned by any Yoruba except for Bond Chemicals in Awe, Oyo State- and its wallet share is very insignificant. For Lagos State, more than 70% of the manufacturing concerns and major industries in the State are owned by the Igbos. If the Igbos were to stop paying tax in Lagos State, the IGR of Lagos State will reduce by over 60%. In contrast, Sir, go to the South East and look at the manufacturing concerns in Onitsha, Aba and Nnewi. Please don't forget those were areas ravaged by civil war a mere forty something years ago. The Igbos have certainly made tremendous progress but the Yoruba nation has regressed. I wish to state that this letter is not meant to whip up primordial considerations or ethnic sentiments but just to put things in proper perspective.
Asiwaju, I will like to also talk about the state of education in the Yoruba nation. Our education has gone to the dogs. We have a bunch of mis-educated and ill-educated young men and women roaming the streets. Ibadan, for instance, had the first University in Nigeria and the first set of research centres in Nigeria ( The Forestry Research Institute, the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIN), The Nigerian Cereal Research Institute Moor Plantation (NCRI), the NIHORT (Nigerian Institute of Horticultural Research), the NISER (Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research), IAR&T (Institute of Agriculture, Research and Training), amongst several others). Ibadan was the bastion of scholarship with people like Wole Soyinka, JP Clark, D.O Fagunwa and Amos Tutuola as residents. In the May/June 2015 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, Abia came tops. Anambra came 2nd while Edo was 3rd. Lagos placed 6th while Osun and Oyo was 29th and 26th. Ekiti was 11th, Ondo State was 13th and Ogun State was 19th. In 2013 WASSCE, only Lagos and Ogun States were the Yoruba States above the national average. If we do an analysis of how Lagos placed 6th in 2015, you will discover that it was substantially because of other nationalities resident in Lagos. For proof, please look no further than the winners of the Spelling Bee competition which has produced One-Day Governors in Lagos State. Since inception in 2001, other nationalities have won the competition six times (Ebuka Anisiobi in 2001, Ovuwhore Etiti in 2002, Abundance Ikechukwu in 2006, Daniel Osunbor in 2008, Akpakpan Iniodu Jones in 2011 and Lilian Ogbuefi in 2012). Sir, there is something seriously wrong about our state of education. From the vintage times of Obafemi Awolowo who initiated 'free education', we have regressed into a most parlous state.
Let me talk about roads, housing and infrastructure . The first dualized road in Nigeria, the Queen Elizabeth road from Mokola to Agodi in Ibadan was formally commissioned by Queen Elizabeth in 1956. The first Housing Estate in Nigeria is Bodija Housing Estate (also in Ibadan) which was built in 1958. The state of roads in the Yoruba nation has become pathetic. Our hinterland are still largely rural. Even some state capitals like Osogbo and Ado-Ekiti are big villages when you compare them to towns in the South East. How many new estates have been built over the last decade? Even Ajoda New Town lies in ruins.
We have abandoned the farm settlement strategy of the Western Region and only pay lip service to agriculture. Instead of feeding others like we once did, others now feed us. We plant no tomatoes, no pepper and the basic food that we require. The Indians have bought the large expanse of water body that we have in Onigambari village. The water body in Oke Ogun of Oyo State can provide enough fish to feed the whole of the South West. From being a major cocoa exporter many years ago, one can point to just a few vestiges of factories that still deal with Cocoa in the Yoruba nation. 80% of Cocoa processing industries in the South West have been shut down. The Chinese have taken over the cashew belt at Ogbomoso in Oyo State. They have even edged out the indigenes as brokers. They now come to the cashew belt to buy from the local farmers, sell on the spot to other Chinese exporters who now process the cashew nuts and import them back into Nigeria at a premium. Sir, there are only 7 major cashew processing plants in Nigeria and you can check out the ownership. The glory has departed from the Yoruba nation.
Apart from Asejire, Ede, Ikere Gorge and Oyan dams built ages ago, where are the new dams to cater for increased population and water capacity for the Yoruba nation? How have we improved on what our heroes past left us? Maybe apart from certain areas in Lagos State, others can't even supply their citizens with pipe-borne water.
Our youth which we used to take pride in are largely a mass of unemployed and unemployable people. Have you noticed the abundance of street urchins, area boys, touts and 'agberos' that we now have all across the Yoruba nation? Have you noticed the swell in the ranks of NURTW (I mean no disrespect to an otherwise noble union)? Have you noticed the increase in the number of Yoruba beggars? There was a time that it was taboo for a Yoruba man to beg- but no more. The spirit of apprenticeship is dead. There was a time that people who learn vocational skills celebrate what we referred to as 'freedom'. While that is largely moribund now in the Yoruba nation, the Igbos still practice it with great success.
The only thing we can boldly say the Yoruba nation controls is the information machinery- the press. We own largely the newspapers- the Nation, Punch, Nigerian Tribune, TV Continental and a few others. It is because of our control of this information machinery that we have rewritten the narrative in the country with the misguided self-belief that things are normal and we are making progress. A look beyond the surface will prove that this is so untrue.
We are largely divided. For the first time in the history of the Yoruba nation, religion is about to divide us further- and it is starting from Osun State. You are married to a Christian. My own father-in-law is an Alhaji. That is how we have peacefully do-existed but the fabrics are about to be torn to shreds because of poor management of issues. Afenifere has been reduced to a shadow of itself. OPC that once defended Yoruba interests has gone into oblivion. Yoruba elders have been vilified in the name of politics and partisanship. It is no longer news to see teenagers throwing stones at their elders because of their political indoctrination. Even under the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Yorubas never belonged to just a single party- yet our unity was without blemish. Now, our values have gone down the drain.
Asiwaju, I believe I have said enough. The task is Herculean but I believe Providence has brought you here for such a time like this. It is time for the Yoruba nation to clean up its acts. What do we really want? How can we quickly right the wrongs? The Yoruba nation is in a state of arrested development. The Yoruba nation is gasping for breath and crying for help. Will you rise up to the occasion? I am aware you understand that all politics is local and charity begins at home. Our fathers gave us a proverb: 'Bi o'ode o dun, bi igbe ni'gboro ri'. I know there are no quick fixes but I also know that if there is anyone who has the capacity to do something about our current situation, that person is you. This should be the legacy you should think of. Your legacy is our future.
Yours Very Sincerely,
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016
National President of Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Positive Change, Venatius Torkuma who spoke on behalf of the groups in Abuja on Wednesday cited the interest of Nigerians and national stability for calling off the planned protests.
Torkuma noted that the protests would be counter-productive if they end up creating instability that could further worsen the fuel crisis.
He said "We also have concerns that a mass action can be easily hi-jacked at a critical time like this since those behind the long fuel queues are desperate and would go to any length to have their way, which in this case is to ensure that they remove Dr Kachikwu as the Group Managing Director of NNPC and Minister of State for Petroleum for their own selfish reasons that have nothing to do with our desire to end the suffering of Nigerians.
"Our intention in planning the mass action is noble and we will not unwittingly play into the hands of those destroying the oil industry by helping them create a vacancy at the NNPC and Petroleum Ministry to install their puppet. If we allow this to happen then the tendency is for these heartless people to renew their hold on the oil industry in a way that will make Nigerians suffer more." Torkuma explained.
The group however appealed to Dr Kachikwu and President Muhammadu Buhari to speed up the reforms in the oil sector to ensure that Nigerians will never again have cause to spend days and nights on fuel queues once the current shortage has been addressed.
It urged that the Federal Government strongly think of measures to immediately cushion the hardship that citizens suffer particularly in the face of poor electricity supply that is concurrent with the petrol shortage.
The leaders of other organisations that were present as Torkuma spoke were Ahmedu Usman of Middle Youth Leaders Congress (MYLC); Labake Boboye, Executive Director-Stand Up for Nigeria (SUN); Ikpa Isaac of Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency; and Khadijat Babangida from the Advocates of Social Justice for All (ASJA)
Monday, January 18, 2016
Igbo Traders in the demolished Owonifari Market, Oshodi yesterday are demanding for 20 billion naira from the Lagos State government for properties and goods lost to the demolitions.
The traders under the Igbo Traders Congress while protesting the demolition at the market denied allegations that Biafra agitators were holding meetings inside the market.
Speaking on behalf of the traders, Chibuzor Onugha said the demolition was targeted at Igbo traders in the state.
"We are being punished because PDP won in this area, they alleged that the we are holding Biafra meeting its all false, they just want to punish the Igbo's for political reasons," Onugha said.
The traders said the state government breached the Court Injunction against demolition, saying its heading to court to seek compensation against the 20 billion goods lost to the demolition.
He said the markets accommodated about 5000 traders while the government only provided slots for 600 traders at the new Isopakodowo Market.
However the Lagos State Government defended the relocation of traders plying their trade in Owonifari Market to the newly built ultra-modern Isopakodowo Market in Bolade-Oshodi, saying the action was taken in the overall interest of public good, safety and security.
Speaking during a joint press briefing addressed by the State’s Ministries of Information and Strategy, The Environment, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and the Office of Civic Engagement, the Government said it constructed an alternative market stall for the traders which can conveniently accommodate over 600 shops and hundreds of kee Clamps, and agreed to subsidize payment by giving shops at the new market at a monthly give away price of N5, 000.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde said the traders were adequately notified before the exercise took place as required by law, and that government engaged with the leadership of the market severally before carrying out the demolition exercise on Owonifari Market.
While clarifying issues on the demolition which took place on January 5, 2016, Ayorinde said it was important for people to note that the issue of the market had been on for nothing less than ten years, adding that government had been engaging the leadership of the market to make them realize that it could no longer continue in the manner in which the market was being used.
He said unfortunately, the leadership of the market, in the last three years, refused to move despite the fact that the new market has over 600 shops apart from the kee clamps which takes the number of people that the market could conveniently accommodate to over a thousand all together.
Ayorinde said having been satisfied that government had provided a befitting alternative, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode through the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, invited the leadership of the market to the Executive Chambers and met with them on December 16, 2015, where he reiterated his plans for Oshodi and the need to move the traders to Isopakodowo which as at that time had been ready for a couple of years.
Giving a further background, the Commissioner said: “A few of them expressed certain misgivings but largely they felt that if their interest would be accommodated within the Isopakodowo Market, that they were willing and ready to move and on our part, we said that the discussion should be ongoing particularly regarding how much they would pay for each store within that market.
“After that, on Monday December 21, 2015, Governor Ambode went on a tour of that market area particularly at Isopakodowo in company with a few members of the Exco. Again, we met with the leadership of the market where it was eventually agreed based on the proposition by the leadership that what they were willing to pay for each shop at Isopakodowo was N5, 000.
“There is nowhere in Lagos where you will agree to be paying N5, 000 per shop not to talk of the central Oshodi, but the Governor agreed with them and we said we were ready to concede after which we now formally served them with a quit notice through the office of the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development,” he said.
Speaking further, Ayorinde denied allegation that many goods of the traders were destroyed in the demolition exercise, adding that such was far from the truth.
He said: “The intention of government certainly was not to destroy any goods and we did not destroy any goods because we believe that a good number of the traders, if not all, had moved because they were aware that they needed to move.
“Government, I should say, will not be blackmailed because we had done everything humanly possible and you know that the hallmark of this government has been compassion. It is a compassionate government.
“The intention was not to destroy the market or destroy properties or to make life inconvenient for them. We believe very strongly that Isopakodowo market is quite ideal; its a lot bigger store-per-store than where they had been removed now and the aim of government, as we stated earlier, is to ensure that that area of the market conforms with the type of image that we want Lagos to be, which is to return sanity to the place, to beautify the market, to construct a world class bus terminus around that place and to ensure that people who use that place on a daily basis – the commuters, traders, everybody enjoy what it means to go to a market in a mega city.
“We also believe that the exercise will largely reduce the gridlock that is associated with that area and then the criminalities that were rampant in that Oshodi. What we have done is in the interest of the generality of Lagosians,” Ayorinde said.
He added: “You will see from the reports that quite a good chunk of the traders acknowledged that they had been properly served and that they were ready to move which was why a good number of them, if not all, parked their things just before the end of last year.
“Along the line, we got intelligence report that during the holidays there were a number of criminal activities going on in the market and that the place was harbouring criminals and a number of untoward activities which of course necessitated the need to move immediately to safeguard lives, to safeguard properties and to ensure that there was no breach of peace which was what led to the demolition.”
Friday, January 8, 2016
Yesterday, the Lagos State government commenced the demolition of about 40 year old Owonifari Electronic market in Oshodi, which displaced over 1000 traders.
Traders in the market said the demolition has rendered over 10 thousand people jobless.
Officials of the Lagos State Government lead by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had stormed the popular market located at the loop in Oshodi early hours of Wednesday to commence the demolition exercise.
Ambode was accompanied by the Commissioner for Environment, Babatunde Adejare, officials of Kick Against Indiscipline, the police and other top government functionaries to supervise the exercise.
Traders however laments that they were deprived the opportunity to remove their goods before demolition; even after they rushed down to the market with the aim to remove their goods, "we were prevented from entering our shops by heavily armed officers," Ebuka Austin told our reporter.
Peoples Daily Correspondent who witness the demolition gathered that most of the traders whose property were destroyed had travelled home for the Yuletide and New Year celebration and are yet to return.
Few traders however were seen salvaging few properties from the rumbles of the demolition, lamenting that goods worth millions of naira have been lost to the demolition.
The Owonifari Market is famous for the sales of used and new electronics.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Peoples Daily (www.peoplesdailyng.com) Correspondent, Ayodele Samuel, who visited Idiroko border recently, reports that smuggling activities still flourish with new tactics employed.
Officials of the Nigerian Customs Service do not seem to be marching action with the words of the service's new Comptroller General, Col Hammed Ali, (rtd).
Ali, who was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in August this year, continues to talk tough against corrupt activities within the service, threatening fire and brimstone, but his men on Ota-Idiroko Highway do not seem to be on the same page with him.
Ali, while addressing his officers in Sokoto, warned that any Customs Officer caught involved in corrupt practice, would serve the maximum 10 years jail term prescribed by law.
"The minimum jail term for corrupt officers is five years, but I will make sure that any officer found to be corrupt gets the maximum jail term of 10 years.
"This is to serve as a deterrent to any officer who finds himself in the Customs to make money and not to earn money.
"I am not saying that there are no good, incorruptible officers in the service, but there are few bad eggs who are giving the service a bad name," Ali said.
Our interactions with some smugglers, however, showed that smuggling activities are not really trimming down despite those stern warnings from the new customs boss.
Officers manning several road blocks along Ota- Idiroko Highway leading to Nigeria's border with Benin Republic, were observed to engage in bribe taking, extortion and harassment of commuters.
From Atan to Idiroko, Custom Public Relations Department at Idiroko Border confirms that there are over 26 checkpoints manned by 'heavily' armed officers to curb smuggling activities.
"20 of the checkpoints are manned by officers from the Idiroko Command, Four are manned by operatives from the Federal Operating Unit in Ikeja, while the other two are manned by Special Anti-smuggling Task Force commonly called Abuja by Smugglers," Rashidat Jimoh of the Custom Idiroko Command
Public Relations Office said.
Our Correspondent gathered that at each checkpoint Custom officers hire touts, mainly highway traders to collect bribes on their behalf from smugglers.
At a Custom checkpoint close to Atan junction, our correspondent witnessed touts collecting money from commercial vehicle drivers conveying smugglers and their goods to allow passage.
"It depends on what you carry but we pay nothing less than N200 at each point," a middle-aged self-acclaimed female smuggler said. Customs officials wine and dine with smugglers, we know them and they can identify us," the middle aged woman told our correspondent.
"Yes, it is now very difficult but we still 'settle' to have our goods into the country," she said.
"I am a smuggler, it's my business for over eight years and I know my way on the route," she boasted to our correspondent in Yoruba.
Custom officers takes 'sex bribe'
Some Customs officers also allegedly take sex in lieu of cash as bribe. "It's either you settle with cash or they ask for sex, most female smugglers use their gender power in difficult times, if you put goods worth millions on the road you will stop at nothing to secure them," she added.
Funmilayo Ademide said many female smugglers give in to sexual advances of some Customs Officers to protect their goods and businesses.
Ademide described herself as an international clothier dealing in used clothes, saying, "I don't pay duty for my bales of used clothes but I'm a smuggler."
Idiroko Highway is busier at night, smugglers hide under the cover of darkness to move contraband goods in large quantities, carrying arms to resist arrests and seizures.
Customs officers also in turn, set up more road blocks but 80 percent of the smuggled goods still find their way into the Nigerian markets.
"At night we have more checkpoints because that's when the business thrives, more smugglers are on the road, this highway is always busy then because heavy goods will be on the road and the Customs will make more
money," an anonymous resident told our reporter.
According to him, some top Customs officials also control batches of smuggling rings who bring into the country all manners of contraband and cars without paying duties.
But Controller Federal Operations Unit, zone 'A' Ikeja, Comptroller Madugu Sani Jubrin, said he is deeply committed to eradicating smuggling along the nooks and crannies of areas under his watch.
The Unit recorded seizures of assorted prohibited goods valued at over fifty million naira (N50,000,000.00) recently.
Vowing not to rest on his oars, Madugu said, "the unit recorded four thousand, seven hundred and thirty three (4,733) different remarkable seizures, valued at forty five million, five hundred and eighty six thousand, nine hundred naira
(N45,586,900.00) between November 6th – 14th November, 2015."
Although Customs authorities reel out seizures of goods, for every goods confiscated, thousands have been allowed passage after bribe collection, our correspondent gathered.
"Goods seized by customs officials are because the owners could not meet their conditions of 'settlement'. When my goods were seized last month, I was asked to bring N100,000 which I could not raise before my goods were confiscated," Ademide said, adding that most of the goods end up in the custom officers' private warehouses or their wives' stores.
"When they want to invite you journalists they are always tough on us that week, or if a new officer just arrives or promoted they clampdown on us,"
According to her, inside sources warn ahead of such clampdowns, "we have groups and known each other, those who are closer to them will be informed about their operation, so they signal that the road is not clear for business and we keep off," Ademide, a graduate of Public Administration from a University in Ogun State explained.
Risky but too attractive
The major trade in Idiroko Area of Ipokia Local Government of Ogun State is smuggling, but more than 50 youths have been lost to the illicit trade in the last two years.
Community dwellers within the border points see smuggling as an enterprising business and are finding it difficult to refrain from the illegal trade despite constituting serious economic sabotage to the country.
A youth leader in Idiroko community, Segun Biola, said hundreds of smugglers also lost their lives to various road accidents along Idiroko Highway but it's not wading off new entrant into the illicit business.
Aside from deaths, smugglers also lost huge amounts of money and goods to confiscation, "that is the business risk," says Toyo Benta, who claim to have lost over 30bags of rice to Customs officials.
"In May 2015, over 30 bags were seized from me, I lost a lot of money because I tried bribing to get it out but I failed; I learnt it was taken to Ikeja," Benta said.
She added that smugglers also use black powers (Juju) in smuggling their goods, "I have a friend whose goods had never been seized, I am sure it's juju that is working for her."
An agent at the border, Ayeni Taofek, said hundreds of youths are daring the risks associated with smuggling due to increasing unemployment in the country.
He said sometimes, there are clashes between smugglers and Custom officers that claim lives.
"Those that smuggle through the bush are the dangerous ones because they carry guns and when they clash with customs they record casualties but for us here at the border we 'clear our way' with money," he hinted.
Taofek said he's making fortunes, noting that, "this is where I take my national cake, those in government are not ready to help us that is why we are here."
Semiu Olumide who also specializes in smuggling of cars blames his involvement on bad governance in the country.
Olumide said he dropped out of school after his parents could not afford his examination fees. For him, aside making brisk profit from smuggling activities, it's the only means of being engaged.
He said the increment in car tariff has also encourage smuggling activities. "Now that we pay high tariff on importing Tokunbo cars, dealers prefer to smuggle them in through the bush to make profit, although it's a 50-50 chance because you lose the vehicles once you are caught and some might just be killed in the process," he said.
Ayodele Samuel is a Lagos based Investigative journalist with special interest in human right activities, he can be contact via email@example.com and @ayodelesamuel9