Following increased complaints by Customs licensed agents and other port users about series of irregularities in the Lagos ports, the Zonal Coordinator, Zone “A”, Assistant Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, ACG Eporwei Charles Edike recently visited some of the sea ports in Lagos (Apapa and Tin Can) disguised as a clearing agent.
Edike mingled with agents and Customs officers inside Customs offices in order to ascertain the level of efficiency and quality of service rendered by Customs officers to port users.
Dressed in plain jeans and tin T-shirts, the ACG was in Apapa in the morning to see if reports that customs officers come to work late were true. He walked around unrecognized by agents who had also arrived waiting to be attended to.
However ACG Edike was forced to reveal his identity in order to address the chaotic situation at the APMT office in Apapa where a huge crowd of agents caused a scene as they pleaded with APM officials to attend to them.
Edike warned the APMT officials to avoid delaying agents unnecessarily.
In his words “Time is money. Every second counts, by delaying these people the cost of doing business is increased. It also makes our ports unattractive to customers. We must eliminate delays to reduce time and costs if our ports are to be competitive and attractive to port users within the West African Sub Region”.
The ACG also entered customs offices unannounced. He inspected the offices and officers and charged them to sit up and live up to national expectations.
It was back at his Zonal Headquarters; Edike told his officers of his mission to Apapa and Tin Can and what he discovered. He implored officers to remain dedicated to duty, professional in service and to shun all acts capable of compromising their judgments/duties.