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Customs have no right to seal our marts – Automobile dealers to Buhari 

NAAM has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter between auto dealers in the country and the Nigerian Customs Service. 

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National Association of Automobile Marketers (NAAM) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter between auto dealers in the country and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). 

The group appealed to the President to unseal the premises of all the automobile dealers that were shut down by the Customs. 

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[READ MORE: LCCI condemns Nigeria Customs Service shutdown of car marts]

In a statement made available to the public, the auto dealers’ association maintained that the Customs have no constitutional right to seal their premises. The group also said that none of its members was involved in smuggling and so did not possess any smuggled vehicles, yet their businesses were shut down.  

The statement read that the NCS’s action was not backed by any order of the court as the Customs and Excise Management Act did not give the Customs the right to seal off business premises without first identifying contraband goods within the premises 

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The group made known that if at all any action should be carried out to get rid of smuggled vehicles, it should be from the Customs licensed clearing agents and the NCS and not marketers because they are in charge of the documentation of automobiles imported through the Nigerian Seaport.  

“It is very important to note that before the seal off, no court order was obtained, neither was any notice issued to us. We did not receive any communication or correspondence from the Nigeria Customs Service informing us of the reasons behind the seal off. 

“We are also conscious and well aware of our rights and should our premises continue to remain shut, we shall be constrained to enforce our rights and seek legal redress,” the statement read.  

[READ ALSO: Commentary on tariff hikes and Nigeria Customs’ rising revenue]

Recall that 272 car marts were shut down by the NCS as part of a crackdown to catch auto dealers who sell smuggled vehicles. The raid was conducted across the country in Lagos, FCT, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi.

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Chidinma holds a degree in Mass communication from Caleb University Lagos and a Masters in view in Public Relations. She strongly believes in self development which has made her volunteer with an NGO on girl child development. She loves writing, reading and travelling. You may contact her via - [email protected]

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NUPENG gives reasons it directed petroleum tanker drivers to embark on strike in Lagos

NUPENG said its members are being consistently extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups.

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The National leadership of the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has disclosed the 3 major reasons why it directed Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) to withdraw their services from Lagos.

NUPENG revealed that the 3 major challenges that were being faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers include; Extortion of money from the petroleum tanker drivers by various security agents, the menace of containerized trucks at Apapa, Kirikiri and Beach Land axis of Lagos State and the harassment and extortion by area boys and area godfathers.

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This was contained in the press statement that was issued by NUPENG on Friday, August 7, 2020, and signed by its National President, Comrade Williams Akporeha, and its General Secretary, Comrade Olawale Afolabi.

While directing petroleum tanker drivers to withdraw its services, the national leadership of NUPENG said it cannot afford to fold its arms while its members are being consistently and continually extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups and segments in Lagos.

On the extortion of money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers by various security agents; NUPENG said that it is really disturbing that security agents who are expected to ensure free-flow of traffic and protection of road users now use their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers. The union pointed out that this reprehensible conduct by the security agents is taking serious tolls on the psychological, emotional and financial state of Petroleum Tanker Drivers and their capacity to effectively and efficiently deliver services to the nation.

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On the menace of Containerized Trucks at Apapa, Kirikiri and Beach Land axis of Lagos State and collusion of government officials hindering Petroleum Tankers from loading activities at depots and tank farms;

The union said that the persistent traffic gridlock and indiscriminate parking of containerized trucks on major Lagos roads and bridges leading to Apapa port, Kirikiri, Beach Land, Satellite Town, Ijegun, are another major setbacks bedevilling the smooth running of the operations of Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State.

NUPENG disclosed that as at today, MRS depot has been held captive for more than 3 months from discharging products to Petroleum Tanker Drivers despite heavy availability of Petroleum products stockpiled in their tank farm facilities.

They explained that for safety reasons, Petroleum Tanker Drivers cannot continue to struggle with these containerized trucks in these corridors considering the inflammable nature of the products their members carry and cannot afford to undermine safety standards, procedures and protocols in the course of rendering their services.

Some of the locations faced with this situation include Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Ojuelegba Bridge, Iponri, Constain roads, Ikorodu road through Funsho Williams Avenue (formerly Western Avenue) to Ijora inward Apapa and Oshodi-Apapa Expressway through Mile 2 to Berger Yard inward Tincan Island. These locations have been overwhelmed with indiscriminate parking of these articulated vehicles, aggravating the gridlock faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers that ply the roads daily to lift products.

On the harassment and extortion by Area Boys and Area god-fathers; The union said that it was really worried that Lagos State which is known to be a megacity and centre of excellence has now become a safe haven for area boys and area god-fathers who now see Petroleum Tanker Drivers as soft targets, extorting money from them on a daily basis, assaulting them and vandalizing their trucks in some instances, especially when some of the Tanker Drivers show restraints in paying them illegal fees and levies.

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They said that the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) now battle with both Area Boys and Area God-fathers amidst the deplorable state of the roads in Lagos State, and this is really causing PTD lots of havoc on a daily basis.

The union pointed out that a distance of just about 10 kilometres, now takes 7 to 8 hours of manoeuvres by petrol tankers, many of which break down in the process, upturning their contents, killing PTD members and endangering the lives of several other Nigerians who traverse the roads.

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They revealed that Tanker Drivers whose activities cut across Oguntedo, old Ojo road, Ijegun-Egba, Abule Ado and its environs in Satellite town, Oriade Local government Area, and Apapa corridor of Lagos state have continued to work in fears, following incessant attacks by members of various notorious groups who have developed a penchant for extorting money forcefully from Tanker Drivers.

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They are known for operating unchallenged and freely around Apapa, Kirikiri, Mile 2, Maza-Maza and Abule-Ado, near Trade Fair flank and so on.

NUPENG said that they decided to embark on the indefinite strike after consultations with the different leadership organs of the union and stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.

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Ogun State initiates tax relief scheme to cushion effects of COVID-19

Governor Abiodun urged taxpayers in the state to make use of the relief packages.

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The Ogun State Government has announced that its Internal Revenue Service would launch tax relief packages to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on taxpayers in the state.

This was announced by the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Saturday morning through a statement that was issued via his official Twitter handle.

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Governor Abiodun urged taxpayers in the state to make use of the relief packages which include a 6 month extension of the 2019 income tax returns deadline for self-employed residents from March 31, 2020 to September 30, 2020.

He also granted an “8-month extension of filling of 2019 annual PAYE returns by PAYE operators/tax agents from January 31, 2020 to September 30, as well as complete waiver of interest and penalty for late filling for the extension period.”

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Other packages include a total waiver of interest and penalties for late remittances of PAYE for the extended period, and a waiver for late payment of Personal Income Tax, which would run from January 1, 2020 to December 31.

Finally, the state granted a waiver on weekly tax payments by operators of betting and pool businesses from April 1 to June 30, 2020.

The Governor said that the state’s Tax Audit Reconciliation Committee (TARC) would run its operations through video conferencing to “continue ensuring ease of doing business while maintaining physical distancing.

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Update: Fuel scarcity looms as NUPENG directs Tanker drivers to withdraw services in Lagos

This was disclosed in a press statement by NUPENG on Friday, August 7, 2020.

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The scarcity of petroleum products appears to be looming in Lagos as the leadership of Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has directed its members to withdraw its services in Lagos with effect from Monday, August 10, 2020.

This is due to the failure of government authorities to address the various issues that have been causing serious pains and harrowing experience on the petroleum tanker drivers in the state for several months now.

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This was disclosed in a press statement by NUPENG on Friday, August 7, 2020.

READ MORE: Why NUPENG threatened to ground Chevron’s operations

NUPENG in its statement revealed that the entire rank and file members of the Union are deeply pained and frustrated by the so many challenges being consistently faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State.

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They said that they are left with no other option but to direct its members to withdraw their services in Lagos State until the State Government and other relevant Stakeholders address these critical. challenges.

The statement from NUPENG reads, ‘’The National Leadership of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has directed the withdrawal of services of Petroleum Tanker Drivers from Lagos State with effect from Monday, 10th August 2020 following the failure of various authorities in the State to address three major issues that have severely caused pains and harrowing experiences on the hapless Petroleum Tanker Drivers in the State for several months now.’’

‘’The entire rank and file members of the Union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonized by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until Lagos State Government and other relevant Stakeholders address these critical challenges.’

READ MORE: NUPENG, PENGASSAN support FG’s ban on fuel supply to border petrol stations

The Union reiterated that It is sad and disheartening to note that they had made several appeals and reports to Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.

They said that they cannot afford to fold their arms while their members are being consistently and continually extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups and segments in Lagos.

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