A licensed customs agent, Chief Achike Molokwu has accused internet hackers of aiding vehicles smuggling through the land borders.
Achike who made the accusation in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Apapa last week, maintained that sometime they hack up to 100 Tax Identification Number (TIN) and they will sell it to those vehicle smugglers.
He added that sometimes agencies lose their licenses to customs because they were hacked.
“Some of us who had suffered from these boys at the border side, you know they hack into our systems, and those cars coming illegally through the borders to the country, they will get TIN from the system and they will pay rubbish as duty. Sometimes they don’t even pay at all and at the end of the day agencies are blocked because their licenses were hacked. Some of us they will hack up to 50-100 TIN without you knowing”
“I don’t know whether they work with customs officers, but without the agency knowing they will hack into system and they will get these TIN numbers and be distributing them to all those cars and vehicles that were smuggled through the border. So if it is those cars that the customs are going after, I proudly support them”
The chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) however lauded the officer of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for the recent raid of some car marts across the country.
Explaining further, he said under the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), the service has the right to enter anywhere where they suspected to house contraband.
“When you come to the Customs Intelligent Unit (CIU) notice of the customs, they have equal right with the Police to stop and search, they have that authority, in the law establishing them, they have that power, they can stop anybody anywhere and if it is contrary to their law they can seize it, so they have that authority. So going to the shops or hotels to cease vehicles, they are correct; they have the backing of the law”
Achike however urged auto dealers and stakeholders to cooperate with officers of the Customs and ensure that they abide by the law.
“The dealers should corporate with customs, in developing or developed countries, if you go to Ghana for instance, the dealers and the stakeholders cooperate with the authority”
According to him, “even in Benin Republic here, the law is unified, you don’t go against it, the stakeholders know the law and they work within the law. If you are a foreigner, they will tell you, this is our law and you have to follow the law”
“If we say we want the progress of this country and we want customs to succeed, we should go by the laws. The dealers and stakeholders should respect the law and go by the law. They say that if you know you have paid duty, come with your document and when they confirm you have paid the duty, they will allow you to go with your vehicle, it is as easy as that. It is a problem of corruption and not following the law” he concluded.