The Nigeria Customs Service has charged clearing agents, especially those handling vehicles to report any officer involved in extortion to the Customs Area Controller in charge of the command for appropriate actions.
The Customs Public Relations Officer in charge of Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) of the command, Muhammad, Yakubu, who said this in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week, was reacting to the accusation against the command that officers attached to Car Park ‘C’ of the terminal were short-changing the government through under declaration.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that the Apapa, chapter chairman of the International Freight Forwarding Association (IFFA), Dr. Osita Chukwu last week, accused officers of the service attached to Car Park C at the terminal of extorting agents and vehicle importers thereby shortchanging the government.
Chukwu accused the officers of reducing year of manufacture of vehicles and thereby not paying complete duty on the vehicles, even as he said that the officers also harass anybody that questions them.
But reacting to this, Yakubu disagreed with the accusation, saying that with the constant routine check of the Customs Area Controller in charge of the command, it will be difficult for such thing to happen at the command.
He also charged the agents to report any officer caught to the Comptroller for appropriate actions.
“On the issue of extortion by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, I disagree with that because I know my controller is up and doing, she has a system in her office where she goes to control documents daily where she checkmates officers and what they release to ensure that such act of extortion does not happen. So I doubt if really these things are happening here in PTML because she is up and doing;
checkmating officers. We have other units like the CPC, Valuation and all of them are doing their jobs. So for you to say that a 2017 vehicle is declared by officers as 2015, I find it very delicate to say that these things still happen at PTML. We have determined officers at the gate, the Officer in Charge (OC) gate is up and doing, the people at the releasing side are doing their work and even the CAC is doing her work. And if these things are discovered you can bring it up to the CAC and she will handle it”, he explained.