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Stakeholders urge FG to probe smuggling, counterfeiting through borders, seaports

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Seaport

In line with the recent closure of the borders, some stakeholders have urged the Federal Government to do more to properly tackle smuggling, importation of substandard products and alleged connivance by Customs officers.

The Social Integrity Network (SINET), a non-governmental organisation, urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to deploy the policy of monitoring seaports to reduce “massive economic losses” through the acts of saboteurs.

The National Coordinator of the group, Ibrahim Isah, while receiving a delegation of the Nigerian Association for Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and representatives of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), hinted that Nigeria lost about one million tonnes of steel manufacturing products between 2017 to date, due to high rates of illegal entry of products, alleged conspiracy, as well as wrong declarations of goods in the tune of over 200 containers.

Isah, however, lauded the decision to close the border, saying Nigeria could no longer afford to sit back and do nothing.

He advised the president to issue an Executive Order compelling the Comptroller-General of Customs to fish out corrupt and complicit officers.

“We cannot fold our arms and allow smuggling to take over our economy, thereby subjecting us to high economic risk and massive downsizing of industrial workers. Many local industries have collapsed due to high rate of importation of substandard products such as coloured corrugated roofing sheets, aluminium roofing sheets as well as galvanised corrugated roofing sheets.

“It is saddening to see that while the nation is gradually winning the war against smuggling through the closure of inland boarders, no attention is given to seaports where containers are checked into the country without adequate inspection thereby paving ways for substandard goods as well as dangerous weapons into the nation. There can’t be significant success without paying cognisance attention to seaports and creeks,” he said.

The coordinator further observed that despite the hues and cries of Nigerians on the influx of the nation with smuggled goods, the Customs Service was yet to make any public arrest of economic saboteurs, “thereby confirming the fact that there is strong conspiracy existing within the system.”

“The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has played significant roles of shutting down some warehouses with substandard roofing sheets in Imo and Anambra States. We want the president to set ‘eagle eyes’ on the seaports for effective monitoring policy.”


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