Clearing agents fault customs for relaxing presidential order
The Comptroller General (CG), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, has been faulted for unilaterally relaxing the Presidential Order on Ease of Doing Business at the seaports, airports and land boarders in the quest to curtail further importation of arms into the country.
Ali had recently declared that the NCS would now priortise 100 per cent examination of cargoes that are coming into Nigeria without recourse to the Ease of Doing Business, by putting the seaports, airports, and land borders on red alert.
Clearing agents, under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), said Ali might have acted ultra vires by making such declaration at the expense of the Presidency.
The Coordinator, Western Zone of ANLCA, John Ofobike, said: “It is very wrong for the CG to say that the Executive Order of the president is null and void. The order is good for the nation and it will reduce the cost of things in the market. The Vice President has done a good thing, and I think it should be strictly complied with.”
Condemning the influx of illegal importation of arms into the country, Ofobike said the Customs needs to be stricter in dealing with mushroom agents and groups involved in corrupt practices that may jettison the objectives of the service.
He therefore called for an improved collaboration with the licensed agents, whom he said had been partnering with government to generate revenue since 1954.
According to him, “there has been no time ANLCA members were involved in such shoddy deal. There are many Customs officers that are clearing agents in uniform, that is why government needs to partner with us, so that we can reveal these antics to sanitise the system and ensure proper documentation and examination of cargoes,”
He alleged that the accused groups always sought approvals for ‘transpire’ to move containers to satellite bonded terminals where a lot of unwholly cargoes find their way to the society.
Ofobike therefore seek proper and strict adherence to extant regulation of entry to secure customs port environment.
He also urged the NCS to increase intelligence collaboration between the service and ANLCA alleging that many declarations are now being done through hacked licenses.
The clearing agent also enjoined the NCS to adopt a whistle blower approach to the security breach situation.
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