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Customs seizes N1.3bn vehicles, 42,000 bags of rice

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Officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), attached to the Federal Operation Unit (FOU), Ikeja, have intercepted some contraband and 64 exotic vehicles at Omole in Ogba and Lekki, Lagos valued in the last one month.
The vehicles and other contraband were valued at N1.59 billion.
The service also noted yesterday that five smugglers were arrested in connection with 13,333 bags of rice and other contraband.
This came as the Controller in charge of the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Compliance Team, Mr. Ahmed Azarema, said that because of the intensified fight against smuggling and importation of banned goods into the country, the service had seized 42000 bags of foreign rice in the last six months.
The FOU Controller, Comptroller Mohammed Uba, noted yesterday that one of the smugglers in Lagos had been released on bail.
He explained at the Government Warehouse, Ikeja that the 64 vehicles alone were valued at N1.3 billion.
Uba added that while 57 of the vehicles were evacuated along Omole Estate, Ojodu and Olayiwola Close, Lekki Phase One, the remaining seven were intercepted during a patrol on Ijebu-Ode Expressway and Olorunda.
The FOU boss said that two bulletproof Lexus Jeeps and, one bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser, nine Toyota Hilux, eight Toyota Hiace buses, 26 Toyota Corolla, nine Land Cruiser Jeeps and five Toyota Camry, one Land Rover, one Nissan Sentra, one Pajero, all 2017 model, were seized.
He added that one Sienna 2015 model and one Lexus RX 350 were also seized.
Uba said that all the vehicles had no customs papers and end users’ certificates for the bulletproof vehicles. According to him, nobody has come forward to claim ownership of the vehicles.
The comptroller listed other seizures as 15 parcels of India hemp, 205 bales of second-hand clothing, 1,390 cartons of frozen poultry products, 1,101 pieces used tyres, 835 jerrycans of vegetable oil, 17 containers laden with wood, 385 cartons of Tiffany biscuits, 2,300 cartons of chocolate cream fudge and toffee sweet and 137 cartons of block engine cylinders.
Meanwhile, speaking when he led the Compliance Team to visit the Imo/Abia Command of the NCS, Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, Owerri, Imo State, Azarema disclosed that the service seized 25,000 bags of foreign rice in Lagos alone, while 11,000 bags and 7,000 bags were seized in the North, South-East and South-South respectively last month.
He added that the service made the huge interceptions because the awareness on smuggling of banned products was gaining grounds.
The Customs chief also disclosed that the service had seized 1,258 bags of 50kg rice, 1,028 bags of 20kg rice and 111 bales of second-hand clothing with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N74,854,000, N8,224,000 and N10,656,000 respectively, totalling N93,734,000 on Asaba-Onitsha, Port Harcourt-Aba and Aba-Umuahia expressways.
He nevertheless, said that the smugglers met their waterloo in the areas under the jurisdiction of NCS Zone C, owing to the diligence and dexterity of the operatives of the zone.
He wondered why the smugglers would be thwarting the economic efforts of the Federal Government now with the availability of resources to support local production of rice in greater quantity and generate more employment for citizens.
Azarema, however, regretted that Nigerians frown at goods locally produced adding that they were more interested in the ones imported.
He said: “Nigerians don’t like to eat the rice produced here but can spend fortunes to buy the ones imported from China, Brazil, Singapore and Switzerland among others.
“As you can see, this seized rice is imported from Dubai.”

Our people need to understand that for every bag of rice imported from outside the country, you are creating jobs for youths of those countries and impoverishing our economy and the Federal Government is not prepared to take that.”
Azarema also disclosed that most of the goods imported were preserved with chemicals, just as he added that the chemicals used in the preservation were dangerous to human health.
He advised Nigerians to avoid importing goods the Federal Government placed ban on because, according to him, the government in its wisdom has cogent reasons for such bans.
According to him, from every indication, made in Nigerian rice tastes better and is more nutritious.
Azarema added that when patronised, it would boost the economy and create jobs for the unemployed youths.
Fielding questions from journalists, Azarema said that the NCS was more interested in seizures of rice and other contraband now that the Yuletide was fast approaching.
The comptroller added that efforts were on by the operatives of the NCS to seize smuggled goods and arrest smugglers in the country.
He said: “We will continue to intercept and seize any contraband and arrest smugglers. This is because it is one of the surest ways of stopping smuggling in this country and so far, we have arrested two suspects in this command.”

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I married my sister to obey God, avoid divorce –Brother

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Twenty-five-years old Mr. Cornelius Chiadi Ezeibekwe, from Ekwulobia town in Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra State has become the buzz of the moment following his wedding to his younger sister, aged 17 years.

The youth of the community who couldn’t comprehend the taboo burnt down the Sabbath Church where the two were joined as husband and wife. Chiadi who is the sixth of the 10 children of Mr. Louis Ezeibekwe, is a Mathematics teacher at Community Secondary School, Isuofia, also in Aguata local government area.

When Saturday Telegraph visited the home of the newly wedded couple at Agba village, Ekwulobia, Chiadi was seen busy marking examination scripts in a tension free environment while his wife remained indoor throughout our correspondent’s visit to the couple. According to Chiadi, his sister and wife was a student of Federal Government Technical College, GTC, Awka, but had to leave school sometime ago to enable her observe Sabbath rites known as ‘Shimta’. “It was during the observation, which lasts for one year that the marriage took place.

In that period of ‘Shimta’, she must remain in the compound for one year. It was further learnt that Chiadi’s sister had already left school because of the controversy generated by her marriage to her elder brother.

On the reasons why he married his sister, Chiadi said: “I am a Sabbath and when I searched through the scriptures, I discovered that Bible permits marriage between a brother and a sister. So, I went ahead with the arrangement to marry my younger sister.

“The marriage ceremony was observed in our family compound, which also serves as a place of worship for us. My immediate elder brother, Paul Ezeibekwe, the pastor, was present during the ceremony.

“What happened was that when we decided to get married, we told our parents our intention and my father asked us if we knew what we were about to do. I told him that we searched through the scriptures and that God sanctioned it. It was after this that our parents consented.

“However, our other relations objected to the idea when they learnt of the plan and when we ignored them and went ahead with the marriage, they and other villagers burnt the Sabbath Church where we used to worship because they thought it was in that place that we worship, not knowing that we had since abandoned the place and are worshipping in our compound.

The burning of the church does not mean anything to us. “God told me to marry my sister and she also saw the same vision I saw earlier. There are places in the Bible that support such marriage. Those in doubt should read Songs of Solomon Chapters 4 and 5 and 1st Corinthians Chapter 7. “Since we took this decision, I have not felt anything unusual, or felt that I did anything wrong. In the school where I teach, many people asked me about it and I boldly refered them to the Bible.

“One of the reasons for marrying my sister is to avoid divorce which is rampant these days because even if we divorce each other, we will remain in the same family. Besides, by marrying one’s sibling, there will not be the possibility of introducing ugly situations, like diseases or social vices into the family. “

However, their 78 years frail looking father, appeared not to be in total control of the behaviour of his children, His eldest son, Emeka, who is a member of the Winners’ Church and resides in Port Harcourt, condemned the marriage, saying it was a taboo. He said: “I cannot support evil no matter how it is painted.”

Though the family was originally Catholics, they later changed to Seventh Day Adventist Church before switching to their own brand of Sabbath worship, with one of the children of Louis Ezeibekwe, Paul, as the pastor.

The issue drew the attention of some elders of the community a they immediately went to the traditional prime minister of Ekwulobia, Chief Gabriel Ezeukwu to lodge a complaint following the absence of the traditional ruler of the area, Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke, who is currently out of the country. Following consultations with other elders in the community, Ezeukwu ordered that the marriage be dissolved and a cleansing of the community of the bad omen be done to avert any calamity.

The Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia is had begun the cleansing. On whether he would submit himself for cleansing by the Catholic Church, Chiadi said; “Inasmuch as I would not like to break the law of the land, I would leave everything to God to decide because it was God that gave me the vision to marry my sister.

“Except my eldest brother, Emeka, every other member of the family supported this marriage. Our father only changed his mind following the chaos our marriage generated. “It is not the beauty of my sister that made me to marry her. The attraction is that when God wants you to do something, you should do it.”

The traditional prime minister of Ekwulobia, Chief Gabriel Ezeukwu, a Mass Communication lecturer at Madonna University, Okija, said the people of that village reported the matter to him.

He said: “Before coming to me, they were considering various options, including whether to involve the police, adopt a jungle justice or to parade those involved round the town before subjecting them to other rituals. “But I advised that the first thing was to investigate the matter thoroughly. I personally went to their compound and met their parents. I did not see the young man involved and when I was told that he was teaching at Community Secondary School, Isuofia, I went there, but still did not find him. “I saw a burnt structure that looked like a church beside their house and I urged those who gathered at the scene to disappear in their own interest.’

‘Twenty-five-years old Mr. Cornelius Chiadi Ezeibekwe, from Ekwulobia town in Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra State has become the buzz of the moment following his wedding to his younger sister, aged 17 years.

The youth of the community who couldn’t comprehend the taboo burnt down the Sabbath Church where the two were joined as husband and wife. Chiadi who is the sixth of the 10 children of Mr. Louis Ezeibekwe, is a Mathematics teacher at Community Secondary School, Isuofia, also in Aguata local government area.

When Saturday Telegraph visited the home of the newly wedded couple at Agba village, Ekwulobia, Chiadi was seen busy marking examination scripts in a tension free environment while his wife remained indoor throughout our correspondent’s visit to the couple.

According to Chiadi, his sister and wife was a student of Federal Government Technical College, GTC, Awka, but had to leave school sometime ago to enable her observe Sabbath rites known as ‘Shimta’. “It was during the observation, which lasts for one year that the marriage took place. In that period of ‘Shimta’, she must remain in the compound for one year. It was further learnt that Chiadi’s sister had already left school because of the controversy generated by her marriage to her elder brother. On the reasons why he married his sister, Chiadi said: “I am a Sabbath and when I searched through the scriptures, I discovered that Bible permits marriage between a brother and a sister.

So, I went ahead with the arrangement to marry my younger sister. “The marriage ceremony was observed in our family compound, which also serves as a place of worship for us. My immediate elder brother, Paul Ezeibekwe, the pastor, was present during the ceremony. “What happened was that when we decided to get married, we told our parents our intention and my father asked us if we knew what we were about to do. I told him that we searched through the scriptures and that God sanctioned it. It was after this that our parents consented.

“However, our other relations objected to the idea when they learnt of the plan and when we ignored them and went ahead with the marriage, they and other villagers burnt the Sabbath Church where we used to worship because they thought it was in that place that we worship, not knowing that we had since abandoned the place and are worshipping in our compound. The burning of the church does not mean anything to us.

“God told me to marry my sister and she also saw the same vision I saw earlier. There are places in the Bible that support such marriage. Those in doubt should read Songs of Solomon Chapters 4 and 5 and 1st Corinthians Chapter 7.

“Since we took this decision, I have not felt anything unusual, or felt that I did anything wrong. In the school where I teach, many people asked me about it and I boldly refered them to the Bible. “One of the reasons for marrying my sister is to avoid divorce which is rampant these days because even if we divorce each other, we will remain in the same family. Besides, by marrying one’s sibling, there will not be the possibility of introducing ugly situations, like diseases or social vices into the family. “

However, their 78 years frail looking father, appeared not to be in total control of the behaviour of his children, His eldest son, Emeka, who is a member of the Winners’ Church and resides in Port Harcourt, condemned the marriage, saying it was a taboo. He said: “I cannot support evil no matter how it is painted.” Though the family was originally Catholics, they later changed to Seventh Day Adventist Church before switching to their own brand of Sabbath worship, with one of the children of Louis Ezeibekwe, Paul, as the pastor.

The issue drew the attention of some elders of the community a they immediately went to the traditional prime minister of Ekwulobia, Chief Gabriel Ezeukwu to lodge a complaint following the absence of the traditional ruler of the area, Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke, who is currently out of the country. Following consultations with other elders in the community, Ezeukwu ordered that the marriage be dissolved and a cleansing of the community of the bad omen be done to avert any calamity.

The Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia is had begun the cleansing. On whether he would submit himself for cleansing by the Catholic Church, Chiadi said; “Inasmuch as I would not like to break the law of the land, I would leave everything to God to decide because it was God that gave me the vision to marry my sister. “Except my eldest brother, Emeka, every other member of the family supported this marriage.

Our father only changed his mind following the chaos our marriage generated. “It is not the beauty of my sister that made me to marry her. The attraction is that when God wants you to do something, you should do it.”

The traditional prime minister of Ekwulobia, Chief Gabriel Ezeukwu, a Mass Communication lecturer at Madonna University, Okija, said the people of that village reported the matter to him. He said: “Before coming to me, they were considering various options, including whether to involve the police, adopt a jungle justice or to parade those involved round the town before subjecting them to other rituals.

“But I advised that the first thing was to investigate the matter thoroughly. I personally went to their compound and met their parents. I did not see the young man involved and when I was told that he was teaching at Community Secondary School, Isuofia, I went there, but still did not find him. “I saw a burnt structure that looked like a church beside their house and I urged those who gathered at the scene to disappear in their own interest.”

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Truck crushes man, 2 siblings to death

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There was pandemonium yesterday in Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State when a truck laden with granite crushed a middle-aged man with three children. The incident happened at Oru- Ago-Iwoye junction, along the Ijebu- Ode/Ibadan Road when the victims were riding a motorcycle on their way to school at about 7:30am. Saturday Telegraph gathered that the tragic crash claimed the lives of the man and two of the kids on the spot.

The incident sparked riot in the area as aggrieved youths and residents set the truck ablaze in protest against the killing of the victims. Another unsuspecting truck, which drove into the scene, was also intercepted and set on fire by the protesters. Police as well as operatives of Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE) had hectic time to control the situation.

The FRSC Sector Commander, Clement Oladele, who confirmed the incident, said the fourth victim, a female child, was injured in the crash. Oladele, who spoke through the FRSC Public Education Officer, Ogun State Command, Florence Okpe, attributed the crash to overspeeding and dangerous driving on the part of the truck driver.

The FRSC boss gave the vehicles involved in the crash as an unmarked Shacman truck and a Chigjeng AX100 motorcycle marked OG7613BA. He explained that the injured female child was taken to a private hospital in Oru, Ijebu while the dead were taken to the mortuary of State Hospital, Ijebu-Igbo.

He said: “The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Ago-Iwoye rescue team reported promptly and succeeded in rescuing one of the victims, a young female child, to Blessed Hospital Oru Ijebu for immediate treatment. “Upon returning to the scene, youths and students who were already on the rampage started destroying the truck involved and one other truck that drove into the scene. “The bodies of the dead were evacuated in the heat of the chaos to State Hospital Ijebu-Igbo mortuary.”

The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, could not be reached for comments on whether the truck driver had been arrested or not.

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Metro and Crime

Osinbajo extols late Adebiyi

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Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday, led other dignitaries to Otun- Ekiti, in Moba Local Government Area of Ekiti State, for the final burial ceremony of a foremost educationist and selfless community leader, Pa Daniel Olajide Adebiyi (JP). Pa Adebiyi, a product of the prestigious Christ School, Ado- Ekiti, and London School of Economics, died on October 23, 2017, at the age of 95. He was survived by children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, who gave him a befitting burial deserving of his royal status.

Extolling the deceased at the farewell service held at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Otun-Ekiti, the VP said that the late Adebiyi’s life and times were exemplary and worthy of commendation, hence his decision to dignify the event with his presence.

Osinbajo said, “This is a celebration of the life of a distinguished educationist. Our nation needs men and women like Adebiyi. He devoted his time and existence to serving other people and he did so with integrity and honesty.

“When we write and think about him, we think of only greatness and his contributions to the life of others. And we know that here is a man who set an example of good character, hard work and service to man and God. This is why we are celebrating his life.”

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