Ogun Customs Celebrates Arts to Promote Trade As Comptroller Shuaibu Charges Youths on Skill Acquisition

The Customs Area Controller of Ogun 1 Command, Comptroller Ahmadu Bello Shuaibu has urged youths in the border communities to embrace viable skill acquisition and noble cultural practices as means of earning legitimate living to avoid crimes like smuggling.

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Shuaibu said this while addressing participants and guests during a five day Festival of Art for Economic Development programme that began February 10, 2024, and ended on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 on the theme “The Role of Nigeria Customs Service in Economic Development and National Security.”

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The customs controller who used the opportunity to highlight activities of the NCS to the people and discouraged youths from smuggling,identified cultural integration and values as tools to building sustainable societies through legitimate trade.

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He used the opportunity of the five day event to show some youths around the command formation where seizures were stored and explained why they should be law abiding to avoid smuggling and related vices.

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Participants were shown how the NCS disposes perishable goods like poultry products, volatile petroleum products and other seizures in the sentry area of the command.

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According to a press release issued by Customs Public Relations Officer for Ogun 1 Command, CSC Hameed Oloyede, the event was attended by participants from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Yaba College of Technology, and selected secondary schools in Ipokia Local Government Area, government and private sector stakeholders from the Republic of Benin among others.

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Oloyede in the release gave a chronological account of the event which ended with prize presentation to some deserving winners for outstanding performances.

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He said in the release that “The Integration Art Palace and Tour company, in collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun 1 Area Command, organized a Festival of Art for Economic Development programme. The programme lasted for 5 days, commencing on Saturday, February 10, 2024, and concluding on Wednesday, February 14, 2024. This marks the 3rd edition with the theme: “The Role of Nigeria Customs Service in Economic Development and National Security.” The event was attended by participants from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Yaba College of Technology, and selected secondary schools in Ipokia Local Government Area, among others.

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“On the first day, participants paid homage to the Oniko of Ikolaje Idiroko, Oba John Olakunle Ojo JP. On the second day, Sunday, February 11, 2024, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Hammed Oloyede, took the participants on a tour of Sentry Customs House, where seized vehicles, petroleum products, and perishable items were warehoused. The destruction site for seized frozen poultry products and the circumstances surrounding the seizure of prohibited items were explicitly explained to the participants.”

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A symposium was held in the Conference room of the Command’s Headquarters to mark the third day of the event. Dignitaries in attendance included the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Ogun 1 Area Command, Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu, his management team, Director of DSS, Mr. IK Ikiriko, heads of other agencies, and the Deputy Mayor of Ifoyin Municipality, Igolo, Republic of Benin. In his welcome address, the CAC commended the organizer, Dr. Bonny Botoku, for his initiative. He congratulated the participants, especially the younger ones for the opportunity to participate. He described the programme as a panacea for youth restiveness and encouraged the development of skills in creative art. He also emphasized the importance of creative art in attracting tourists and as a viable means of livelihood. The CAC reassured continuous support from the Command for the festival’s sustainability.”

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Dr Bonny A. Botoku, the programme initiator, stated during his speech that his passion for art inspired him to initiate the festival to encourage the younger generation interested in it. He mentioned the careful selection of event dates, especially Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2024, to celebrate youth in a more constructive manner aimed at preventing unwanted pregnancies. He explained his collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) due to its significant contributions to the economy and national security. He appreciated the Command’s support in ensuring the festival’s success.

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“Assistant Comptroller of Customs Emmanuella Chukwu, the guest speaker at the symposium, highlighted the core functions of NCS, including revenue generation, suppression of smuggling, facilitation of lawful trade, and security of the nation’s borders. She identified various revenues generated from import duties, excise duties, auction sales, and export proceeds as parts of the way NCS contributes to the development of our dear nation. Additionally, she emphasized NCS’s role in anti-smuggling activities and counter-terrorism efforts as a means through which it contributes to national security.

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“The grand finale, marking the end of the occasion, took place on February 14, 2024, at the Integration Art Palace and Tour Cultural Centre in Idiroko. Certificates of participation were presented to the participants by the Customs Area Controller, represented by Deputy Comptroller Administration, DC Charles Ogunesan. Prizes were awarded to the top three secondary school participants based on performance, with consolation prizes given to the others for encouragement. The art exhibition was officially opened by the CAC’s representative” the release stated.

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