Wednesday, 10th August 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

AMATO laments seizure of 100 trucks by customs

By Adaku Onyenucheya
27 June 2022   |   1:25 am
The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has lamented the seizure of their trucks totalling 100 by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). The National President of the association, Remi Ogungbemi, raised the alarm on the impoundment of the trucks at the just-concluded second edition of the Port Industry Town Hall Meeting organised by the Journal…


The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has lamented the seizure of their trucks totalling 100 by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

The National President of the association, Remi Ogungbemi, raised the alarm on the impoundment of the trucks at the just-concluded second edition of the Port Industry Town Hall Meeting organised by the Journal NG in Lagos.

Ogungbemi who said the trucks are being held in the custody of Customs at the Lagos and Eastern ports, said appeals to the concerned authority for the release of the containerised trucks have not been fruitful.

“Over 100 of our trucks are in the custody of customs. Our members are suffering from the ignoble and unpatriotic activity of some importers and their cohorts in the maritime industry who failed to honestly declare the content of the containers to the customs, which is the reason for the arrest and impoundment of the containers with our trucks.

”We have written to the Comptroller General of Customs for the revalidation of the circular sent to us on the subject matter, but no favorable response has come from them,” the AMATO president said.

Recall that the group had in an appeal letter addressed to the Comptroller General of Customs, dated January 24, 2022, called for the revalidation of the format approved in 2017 to enable its members to remove all their trucks under customs detention so that they can start on a clean slate with the usage of the format.

The letter titled: “Passionate Appeal for Revalidation of Circular No.001/2010 Titled Directive on the Reprieve for Trucks Used as Means of Carriage Offending Containerised Cargo,” reads in part: “We humbly and passionately plead that you kindly revalidate the circular to enable us to remove all our trucks under Customs detention so that we can start on a clean slate with the usage of the format that you have graciously approved for usage of which thereafter if anyone among we truckers or agents fails to comply, then it can be considered to have criminal intent.”

Responding to the event, the Acting Controller in charge of Non-Intrusive Inspection, Paul Ekpeyong, cited the truck owners’ inability to ascertain the nature of goods in the containers they are conveying to the final destination as reasons for the seizures.

He said most truck owners contact roadside drivers without carrying out background checks on them, adding that the drivers convey goods contrary to the specified contents the trucks are licensed to transport, which are however seized by the customs.

“Truck owners should subject their drivers to roadworthiness tests. Check his license and his drug use before giving him your truck. We arrested a truck, which was specifically for loading beer, but the driver went to load bags of rice,” he said.
Ekpeyong said truck owners don’t enter into a contract with the owners of the containers/goods they transport.

“The clients you transport their goods to, in most cases, you don’t have a contract with that person. You just ask for the bill of laden from the importer, you don’t sign any documentation ascertaining the content of the container you are transporting. You all know that if something goes wrong with the container, the importer and agent will abscond, leaving the truck drivers,” he explained.

He urged truck owners to get legal representations that will enable them “sit down and draw agreement with your clients that if they give you their containers, you must be able to do an x-ray of what is inside the container. He must sign for you so that you have a fallback just like insurance guiding containers in the vessels.”

In this article