By Joshua Yousouph
Clearing agents operating at land borders and Customs warehouses have confirmed that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) electronic auction system is no longer working and that auction is now being done manually as against the electronic bidding system, which the Customs had promised.
This is even as they confirmed that auctioning of seized goods take place at the border stations through a manual ballot system that is void of transparency, while also alleging that even with the manual ballot system Customs still finds a way of selling the seized consignments to their cronies, with a letter from the Customs headquarters in Abuja.
Giving details of how this manual ballot system of auctioning takes place, the Chairman of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Idiroko Border Chapter, Alhaji Shina Ibrahim in a chat with our correspondent, confirmed that the NCS has stopped auctioning seized consignments usng the online platform.
Alhaji Ibrahim said the seized consignments such as, vehicles and containers are auctioned directly from Abuja, adding that none of his members at the border have benefited from the e-auction.
He disclosed that most of the beneficiaries of the auctioned goods are forced to sell the consignments to clearing agents or residents of Idiroko border, after discovering that the auctioned goods are scraps.
In his words: “The auction is usually done on the internet. But now, they have stopped that. They auction it from Abuja and they bring the letter to wherever they have allocated the auction to go and collect the consignment. But nobody here has benefited from it in Idiroko.
“Any auction going on at Idiroko, the paper was brought from Abuja. When they bring the auction paper, they will think it is a better consignment, but unfortunately they might find scraps or whatever. It is then they will decide to sell it to the people in Idiroko ”.
Also speaking, the Ikorodu Chapter Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Rev. Nwosu Edmond told Shipping Position Daily that most of the auctioned allocations come from Abuja and were given to Customs cronies.
He informed that the documents now used for auctioning seized consignments by Customs are now generated through manual balloting system from Abuja. According to him, none of the clearing agents and other stakeholders at Ikorodu have benefited from the e-auction.
“Nobody is benefiting from the e-auction here. Most of the allocations are issued in Abuja there. We only hear that they just come and pack the motor or container. None of us have access to the auction or the allocation. We are not benefiting. They just gave some people documents in Abuja to come and carry the consignments.
“The customs are using ballots. Initially, the Customs was using e-auction but there was no letter to that effect that they have changed from e-auction. The documents we see are just from balloting. They are selling it to their people and not the public” Nwosu alleged.
On his part, Elder Abel Ayokunle a member of ANLCA Board of Trustees at Idiroko also lamented that nothing including the e-auction has been working at the border. He said he is optimistic that things will change after the elections and a new government comes in place.
“Nothing in Idiroko has been working, we just gather with little or no jobs. Every day we look forward to the fact that the border will be opened for all these opportunities. We hope that after the election things will pick up” Ayokunle said.
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