A maritime expert; Dr. Eugene Nweke has commended the customs raid on car marts, saying that by the Customs Exercise and Management Acts (CEMA) that establishes the Nigeria Customs Service gives them the right to go into any automobile market, home or anywhere to inspect any vehicle suspected to have been smuggled into the country through un-approved routes.
Dr. Nweke who spoke to Shipping Position Daily recently in Lagos, also said that looking at the way and manner the customs go about these things, the question is how the cargoes found their ways into the market?
“Customs by CEMA has the right to enter into the market and remove anything they feel is contraband where ever the thing is. So if you look at vehicles, they are cargos it is classified as car, so anywhere it is the customs has the right to go and investigate and bring it out. But the issue is if you look at that law very well and look at what we called efficiency in the performance of the customs the question will now be, where they were when these cargoes were coming through the unapproved routes”, he said.
He also blamed the influx of smuggled vehicles on poor surveillance and policing of our border areas, even as he accused government of not making adequate funding available to customs for proper policing of our border areas.
“In this case, you can now look at what we call poor surveillance and policing of the border stations and if you look at it from that point again you will also blame the government because they have not provided enough money for customs to properly police all the unapproved routes’’.
We have more unapproved routes than approved routes within the border areas of this country. So the customs knowing very well that there are porous borders also know that vehicles could be smuggled into the country through these borders. So what they do is to go to car marts from time to time and inspect and see if there are vehicles that came through the unapproved routes. So to me they are still doing their jobs that the truth from time to time they will still be doing it. The way and manner they do that is good, they are still doing their legitimate jobs’’, he added.