War on smuggling: Customs to seize containers inside seaports

The Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali (retd), has mandated the NCS Strike Force to be involved in cargo examinations at the ports and to make seizures inside the ports without hindrance where necessary.

The NCS said the Strike Force, an anti- smuggling unit set up by the CG, was in the ports to examine goods which were  not properly examined by the ports resident officers and that the Customs Area Controllers would  be held responsible for any non- compliance with the new order.

This new directive was contained in a circular EII/2019/ Number 002, titled, ‘100% Examination of Cargo at the Ports.’

The circular dated April 25 reads in part, “It has been observed that 100 per cent examinations of cargo at the ports are not done properly by the officers assigned to do so.

“Consequently, the following instructions must be carried out with immediate effect and Area Controllers will personally be held responsible for non-compliance.

“Henceforth, every Area Controller must respond accordingly to Strike Force intervention alerts.

“The Strike Force team has been authorised henceforth to intervene right in the ports. Non- compliance to this circular will attract severe sanctions.”

The Customs Strike Force has been involved in cargo examination inside the ports in the last three weeks.

This has attracted huge cries from agents and their importers who have threaten to down tools in the ports.

Our correspondent gathered that the presence of the Strike Force also threatened the functions of resident officers at the ports, while agents and importers were scared of the new Customs cargoes examination order.

The Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Dr Osita Chukwu, remarked that the new order was a hindrance to trade facilitation and free flow of trade as championed by the World Trade Organisation and World Customs Organisation of which NCS was a signatory.
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