Three Weeks After Borders Reopen, Customs Procedures Still Delay Goods Entry Into Nigeria

Findings by Shipping Position Daily newspaper have revealed that three weeks after the Federal Government reopened major land borders across the country, some importers are still finding it difficult to get their trapped goods across the borders into Nigeria.

Our correspondents also discover that the delay is caused by rigorous customs procedures that need to be met before the goods are allowed access.

Recall that importers had lamented loss of revenue owing to long closure of the land borders, this is even as members of the various freight forwarding associations lamented that their members were dying due to the closure.

Owing to the outcry, the Federal Government was persuaded to reopen the borders last month and directed that goods trapped at the border post should be allowed to come into Nigeria.

A visit by our correspondent to the ever-busy Seme border revealed a long queue of trapped trucks loaded with assorted goods that are meant for Nigeria.

Some importers and clearing agents confirmed that, three weeks after the directive was given by the government, they still found it difficult to move their goods into the country, even as they lamented customs overbearing bureaucracy in the clearance of the goods.

In a chat with our correspondent, the Chairman of Seme border Chapter of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Barr. Bisiriyu Fanu, he stated that the procedure for the movement of the goods trapped at the Seme border may likely start by Monday (today) after which people can start moving their goods across the borders.

According to him, “everything is procedure, the procedure for the movement of the goods should start on Monday, you know Customs is not Immigration that will stamp passport, Customs has to go by procedures, so by Monday the people that have their goods will come and start procedures for the movement of their goods, so effectively hopefully reassessment may commence on Monday”, he said.

Speaking to our correspondent as well, an importer at the Idiroko border; Mr Muyiwa Olaosebikan, lamented the procedures that importers have to go through before the trapped goods are allowed to move into Nigeria, even as he also complained that Customs officers are making the procedures difficult before they are allowed to move their goods.

Reacting to complaints about the cumbersome procedures at the border, the Customs Public Relations Officer at the Seme border, Husseini Abdullahi explained that the Customs officers are ready to allow movement of goods into Nigeria once their importer meets extant guidelines.

He explained that new guidelines and procedures were introduced to ensure that the goods are properly exited.

“The borders have been re-opened, customs are ready; the border closure took a lot of time and people have to be patient, and you know import procedures have process; it is not just something you will go and buy and come back immediately, so people have to be patient, once you meet with the new extant guidelines, you can move your goods across the borders”, he assured.