A chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr. Ojo Peter Akintoye has accused the Nigeria Customs Service of paying more attention to old vehicles than the new ones.
Akintoye who said this last week in Lagos, also charged the officers of the service to re-channel the energy they use in blocking properly exited cargoes especially, vehicles from the seaports into curbing the activities of smugglers who are having a free hand at the nation’s porous borders.
He condemned the operations of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’, Ikeja, saying that the most painful aspect of their activities is that they would arrest a cargo or vehicle based on value, he questioned if there were no valuation officers to do the job.
He also decried the multiplicity of customs check points from different units of the service on the highway, all in attempt to frustrate trade in the country.
“The CG Monitoring Team will intercept a container based on value. We know that we have bad people in this country; that may in one way or the other still want to bring some items that is not good for the consumption of the citizens but if you identify that, why can’t you deal with it accordingly? Nigeria Customs is seeing all the Nigerian importers as being fraudulent, does it mean that it is true? Don’t we have those that do their businesses legitimately as importers? , he asked.
“And the most challenging issue is that all the used vehicles are their problem. 2019 model of vehicles are out now, they would not focus attention on those ones, rather they will be placing alerts on the vehicles of 2004, 2008, 2009”, he stressed.
“It means that we should cover our faces in shame; it means that we still have a lot to do within the Nigeria Customs Service. There is the need to change the orientation of the officers and men of the Service. They are not facilitating any trade especially in Tincan Island, because it is one of the most difficult commands you can work in, in terms of alert but we had a meeting recently with the command and they are looking for a permanent solution, but it hasn’t come”, he added.
Speaking on the insecurity of the Nigerian borders, he maintained that the customs cannot be efficient because of the insecurity at the borders, adding that with the high level of porosity on the borders, there is little anybody can do.
“Customs cannot be efficient because the Nigerian borders are too porous. I was privileged to travel to the north; Zamfara and Kebbi states, there is little man can do because of the porosity of the area leading to neighboring countries. So, if government wants to do it, first, we need more of customs in the border side than in the areas where they are pursuing containers up and down. The Nigeria Customs needs collaboration in Nigeria to manage our borders. Nigeria Customs should stop pursuing used vehicles, used containers outside Lagos metropolis; they should go to the borders”, he concluded.