By Stephen Ubanna
Boniface Aniebonan, a retired senior Customs officer and founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight
The latest to visit the NAGAFF Village was KC. Ekekezie, an Assistant Comptroller General ,ACG, and Coordinator, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Zone A, Lagos on Thursday, June 14, 2019. Accompanied by top Customs officials from the Zonal Headquarters including Mohammed Aliyu, Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, who she calls ”double-double”, , because of his aggressive anti-smuggling drive in the south-west geo-political region.
Ojeogwu, had exposed to the hearing of the Zonal Coordinator, that there were multiple alerts at the port on suspected Containers. At the last count, she had named nine of such multiple alerts coming from the Command alone. Given an insider information, Ebby Integrated Logistics Services and Mercy From Above,CEO, had cited the CAC and Compliant Unit alert, Enforcement Alert, Admin Alert, Valuation alert , to name but a few. This is in addition to the Headquarters alert, which the renowned freight forwarder said has not really helped trade facilitation in the country.
Musa, the Tin-can Island Area Comptroller who, was not at the meeting to defend his Command on the multiple alerts being complained about the agents, as he was away to Abuja , on official engagement. Aba Kura, his counterpart wh also faced the agents sharp tongue was not at the meeting.
Musa may have sent Dera Nnadi, a Deputy Comptroller, in-charge of the Command Enforcement Unit to represent him at the parley.
In apparent reaction to the multiple alerts, Aliyu, the FOU, Zone A, Area, Comptroller, who could not find it funny, described it s unnecessary, noting that one alert was enough for all the Units where such alerts emanate to take the opportunity to carry out 100 percent examination on the Consignment at the same time instead of issuing different alerts still on the same Consignment.
The Tin-can Island Deputy Comptroller may have been forced to speak out when he disclosed that most of the frauds that had been traced to some agencies had been committed by their Staff who use their passwords. He urged CEO, of Freight Forwarding Companies, to ensure that they change the password given to them while collecting their license or renewing their operating license at the Customs Headquarters to ensure that their passwords were not faked to do bad jobs. More worrisome, was the accusation , that most of the Freight Forwarders who were issued operating license to clear imports have commercialised it to third parties who uses it to do bad jobs.
An elated Ekekezie, who could not hide his feelings described the NAGAFF forum as a ”veritable platform for NCS and members of the Association to come together to rub minds , share ideas and learn from one another with the aim of achieving a better business environment for the overall growth and development of the Freight Forwarding business and the Nigerian economy in general”.
She noted that ”it is the pivotal role played by freight Forwarders in the importation of and release of goods that has made it a ”key Organisation to consider when matters that border on the ease of doing business at Nigerian seaports, airports and land Borders are being discussed”.
According to her, ”as an
There is no gain saying the fact that during the third Regulatory Conversion (RC3.0), of the Presidential Business Environment Council, PEBEC, launched on March 14, 2019, the government has made it clear that its intention is to ensure that ”all entry and exit points for goods and services are user friendly”. This may have led to the improved revenue generations at the ports and land Borders in the recent time.
She attributed it to the fact that many Customs Brokers have aligned with the reform policies of the present management through ” honest declarations”, which maritime analysts believe was fuelled by the full automation of all Customs processes . She also confirmed that there have been a continued rise of the daily revenue generations of the service .
Recall that Ali, the Comptroller General, had
She is optimistic that with importers and their agents ”due Compliance to import and export regulations, processes and procedures, proper documentation and correct description of items imported and exported for Customs purposes, the service daily revenue generation will further go up.
Appealing to Freight Forwarders and the public not to see Customs personnel as enemies, the ACG, disclosed that the Enforcement Units at the Commands are now well equipped to protect lives and properties and ensure compliance but frowned at a situation where Abubakar Adamu, the Inspector General of Policemen, IGP, on the road are gradually taking over Customs job.
She revealed that 8,000 Enforcement officers are currently being trained on weapons handling to avoid accidental discharges. Recall the recent incident at Shagamu, Ogun state, where a Customs officer accidental discharge killed a Camp boy.
Critics saw it as an opportunity to drag Customs to the people’s Court by alleging that the victim was shot because he refused to part with N5,000.00 demanded by the Customs officers at the checking point. Aliyu , the FOU, Zone A, Area Comptroller, whose patrol team, were linked to the killing of the Camp boy has a word of advice to the public: that the Customs officers do not just stop vehicles on the road without information.
He cited the bus that was flagged down at Shagamu which led to the accidental discharge, noting that one of the