Customs: Why Apapa Command Holds The Key For the N5.1 Trillion, 2024, Revenue Target To Be Met; Ogun I, Surprises 

By tephen Ubanna

In spite of the downturn in the global economy and the drop in the volume of cargoes handled at the nation’s premier port, Apapa, Lagos, the nation’s Comeercial nerve centre, which contributes over 60% of the service total revenue collected and paid into the Federation purse, annually, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi,  MFR,Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs service, NCS, is optimistic that the target will be met and surpassed.

The Customs Comptroller General who had admitted that ’’we are in a country where the economic operators, importers and Exporters depend so much on the Customs processes, commitment and efficiency to remain in business’’ had said that, the service under his Leadership cannot afford ‘’to fail industry stakeholders and the government’’.

The Customs helmsman who understands the language of success and who had been at the corridor of power for years before mounting the saddle of Customs Leadership on June 19, 2023, may have thrown a challenge to the Area Controllers of the various Customs Formations, across the country, both the big and the small to endeavour to deliver on their monthly and yearly revenue targets.

This may have informed why the Customs Area Controllers have been competing among themselves to win the heart of the Customs Comptroller General by to doing everything within their powers meet their revenue targets and even surpass it.  The Customs Area Controllers who were said to have restrategised in their revenue collection drive were said to have effectively blocked all the areas of revenue leakage in their respective Commands.

The deployment of Comptroller Babatunde Olomu, who had served as a-one –time Deputy Comptroller, overseeing the Premier Command Enforcement unit, and who may have known all the various loopholes capitalized upon by the Fraudulent importers with their agent to shortchange the government was said to have taken advantage of taking over Leadership of the Command from Compt. Babajide Jaiyeoba, rtd, to adopt new measures of revenue generation.

Despite the sharp reduction in the volume of trade, the Customs Comptroller, had said that ‘’extra measures have been put in place to prevent loses’’ at the various terminals under the control of the Command. The Apapa Customs boss may have known that there may be lapses in its revenue collection drive  that he had set up  a revenue recovery  Committee  comprising of  seasoned and  dedicated officers  with a mandate  to carry  out  more detailed look into areas  of leakages, particular,  in the bonded terminals under the Command. He may have gotten right as the Committee members are doing a good job which is evident with the over N1.024 trillion collected and paid into the government coffers in six months within six of its operations this 2024.  

Compt. Olomu: Area Controller, Apapa Command

 Described as a workaholic, who talks and dreams about how to improve the Command revenue generation on a daily basis was said to have provided all the necessary support to the foursome of Deputy Comptrollers, Wale Adenuga, Revenue, Ibrahim Turaki, APM , described as one of the biggest private terminals  within the West and Central African sub-regions, Nwanze, Enforcement, and Frank Oyeka, exit gate,  believed to be doing good job .

The Collaboration of the four senior officers holding strategic positions in the Command may have forced the importers with their agents who are used to doing bad job in to do the past to shortchange the government ‘’to turn a new leaf’’.

 Indeed, those who had failed to change their old ways of doing business at the port would never forget their experience in a hurry as they were said to have played into the waiting hands of   DC. Oyeka and his vigilant officers at the exit gate and subsequently issued with aDebit Note, DN, duly approved by the Area Controller, for contravening the government fiscal policy, through under declaration, resulting in under payment of duties

 An insider had confirmed that sometimes the suspected cargoes are   rerouted to the Enforcement unit, under the close watch of DC. Nwanze, who is ever hungry to detain and carry out another round of physical examination on such Consignments.

Compt. Olomu may have alluded to this when he disclosed that the Command is leaving no stone unturned   to deal decisively with the economic saboteurs  using its  ‘’non- intrusive  inspection, NII, regime’’, which had been put in place over the years , ‘’ where scanners are deployed  for cargo examination   with support of physical examination  where and when necessary’’.

The use of the non –intrusive regime where scanners are deployed for cargo examination at the terminals under the control of  the Command was said to have resulted in the interception and seizure of 11 Containers  loaded with Contraband items ranging from expired  and unregistered  pharmaceuticals , foot wears, used clothing, armoured cables, frozen poultry products, with a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N424,109,775.00   as against  42 seizures  with a DPV  of N1.4 billion made in the corresponding period in 2023.    

The Customs Comptroller was emphatic that that its efforts at ‘’promoting trade facilitation are yielding results with the attendant ease of doing business, prevention of revenue loses, closer interactions with the other government agencies’’ host Communities and private sector stakeholders.

It is not surprising why the Apapa Command Area Controller, could go to bed with his two eyes closed because he has capable Lieutenants who could do the job at their various duty posts with little or no supervision as obtained in Ogun I,, Command, where Compt. James Ojo, the Area Controller, according to an informed sources has a resourceful and ever vigilant DC. Enforcement, one Yisuf, believed to be giving the smugglers operating in the state tough times.

The Apapa Command Customs boss appears to have sent a message to Adeniyi, the Customs Comptroller General and his Management team that the Apapa Command is ever ready to break fresh grounds in the area of revenue collection and Enforcement.

Recall that the Command had made an earth shaking daily revenue  collection of about N18 billion , in the month of June, 2024,  a record yet  to be matched by any Customs formation, not even the Apapa Command when it was still handling its full compliments of 100%cargo throughput when the economy was good.Note that it was in the same month of June that the Command had generated and paid into the Federation Account N16,1,677,640.32 as against the N15,139,540,592.28, collected in the month of May , 2024, when he took over the mantle of Leader of the Apapa Command from Compt. Jayeioba, rtd.

An elated Compt. Olomu, who had recently paid a courtesy call on Rilwan Akiolu,Oba of Lagos, had announced at a crowded press conference on Monday, July,8, 2024, that   it had collected and paid into the Federation Account , a mouth watery sum of about N1.024 trillion  between January and June.

He had said that the revenue generation in the first six months of 2024, shows an increase  of  143 % , compared to the N21 billion that was said to have been collected and paid into the Federation account  within the same period the previous year, precisely, January to June, 2023.

Many believe that that he Command could achieve the feat with ease because of the continued devaluation of the naira which current exchange rate at the Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, AFEM, used in calculating the country’s import duties as recommended by Olayemi Michael led Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to the NCS, currently put at N1,516.36 to the United States one dollar.

Compt. Ojo
Compt Ojo: : Area Controller, Ogun I Command speaks

We turn to the Ogun I, Command which record in revenue collection in the recent moths remain very surprising, considering the total blockage of the Command areas of jurisdiction  by the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A, and Operation Whirlwind, personnel,  in the guise of prosecuting the Command anti-smuggling war  and tackling fuel smugglers respectively.

Compt. Ojo, had  stated categorically that  the  Command its through’’ concerted efforts  and strategic operations’’, as employed by the Apapa Command in its revenue generation have helped it in making ‘’impressive revenue generation’’ of  N92,69,227.00  t in the second quarter of 2024, compared to the N53,983,622.00 in the same period in 2023.

 The Ogun I, Customs Comptroller may have surprised the  public when he confirmed that  the Command, under his Leadership  had surpassed its monthly revenue target  of N34.,122,666.90 in of the month June 2024, by 7.86%.

Given an insider information, Compt. Ojo,  had said that  the high revenue collection  collected and paid  into the Federation of account  in  the month of June alone, was a testament  ‘’to the diligence,  commitment , and professionalism’’  of the men and officers of the Command  to ensure  that ‘’we meet  and exceed  their revenue targets’’.  

He had revealed that the Comptroller General who had championed ‘’the service principles consolidation, collaboration, innovation and visionary Leadership and had provided enabling support which was instrumental in enhancing the Command revenue drive in the last three months. Vintage Ojo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *