By Stephen Ubanna
It was not unexpected when Muhammed Abba- Kura, Comptroller, Apapa Command, announced a N203.26 billion that was generated between January and
An elated Abba-Kura, told The Value News that from the onset, he had assured the officers and stakeholders ”we are going to facilitate genuine trade”. He further disclosed that he adopted an ”open door strategy” in running the Command. This is evident going by the way he threw his door pen to industry stakeholders who approach him with one trade Complain or other. Some were said to have approached him with their personal challenges which he never hesitated in solving it for them.
The fallout was that the importers with their agents became compliant in taking delivery of their Cargoes without cutting corners. Those who attempted to shortchange the government would never forget their experience in a hurry as they were issued outrageous Demand Notice, DN, thus, pushing up the monthlyrevenue generation of the Command.
Only recently, KC. Ekekezie an Assitant Comptroller General , ACG, in-charge of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Zone A, Lagos, could not hide his feelings that Apapa Command could make a daily revenue generation of N5 billion. The Customs Comptroller noted that the level of revenue collection by any Customs Commands on the Consignment and the rate of duty to be paid by the importer as contained in the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Common External Tariff, CET.
TECOWAS CET, according to Customs sources cover 2015 to 2019, fiscal periods, composed of three categories made of an import adjustment list of 173 tariff lines, a nationalist consisting of 91 items and an import prohibition list which is applicable to certain goods originating from NON- ECOWAS member States. Note that member countries are at liberty to review the rates either upwards or downwards, which the government had done several times.
Note that in the last four years , President Muhammadu Buhari, had repeatedly approved some fiscal measures for implementation together with the ECOWAS CET . Recall that in 2026 alone, the Katsina state born Nigerian President had given approval for the reduction of duty on 26 items but left the tariffs on 144 items unchanged.
It is not surprising why the Apapa Customs Comptroller had said that the duty collection of the Command actually depends on a number of factors: the Consignment and issuance of DN, to NON Compliant traders.
Despite the strategies adopted by the Apapa Customs Comptroller to boost the revenue generation of the Command within the last six months, he also attributed the sustained success recorded to ”professionalism and sensitisation of officers as to their responsibilities and working in line with the standard operational procedures for optimal revenue collection”
Abba -Kura, may have successfully
The Customs Comptroller, who had had Headed the Customs post-Audit Department may have known about the fraud associated with the Command that he was said to have beamed his searchlight on exports through the port. These may have forced many of the fraudulent exporters and their Customs Collaborators to go underground.
Given his decision to facilitate genuine trade, he disclosed that the Command handled a total of ,95,229.15 metric tons of exported goods to different parts of Europe and the Asian country of China and the United States, US. The Free On Board , FOB, value of the exported Cargoes, mostly Agricultural and solid mineral products was put at about $46,613,453.75, which is equivalent of nN14.24 billion, going by the exchange rate of N326.00 to a dollar recently approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria, for the clearing of all imported and exported cargoes.
The Command Enforcement officers may have been alive to their duties as they were said to have impounded 29 Containers loaded with
The items that were said to have been discovered in the Containers during a hundred percent examination by Representatives of all the approved security agencies at the seaport including a Representative of the Comptroller General, CGC, Strike Force, include tomato paste, vegetable oil, Ladies and girls fashion foot wears. Perhaps, if the Command Enforcement Unit , had not made the seizures , it would have fallen into the waiting hand of Mohammed Aliyu, FOU, Zone A , Comptroller, Usman Yahaya, a Deputy Comptroller and Coordinator, of the Strike Force team, Zone A, Lagos.
Many believe that the seizure of trucks laden Containers which had contravened the country’s import procedures released at the Apapa seaport by FOU, Zone A, personnel, , had dropped in the recent time. Maritime analysts would want the Customs Comptroller to extend the same control he has at the port on the Bonded terminals affliated to the Command , described to be a haven for fraudulent agents and their Customs Collaborators.
Aliyu, the FOU, Zone A, Customs boss , could not hide his feelings at a recent talk shop at the at the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders , NAGAFF, premises, dubbed NAGAFF village, at Apapa.
The Apapa Customs Comptroller have word of advice for stakeholders: to change their attitude of doing business to avoid falling into the waiting hand of Customs personnel at the port.
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