By Kenneth Jukpor
Following the allegation by the House of Representatives that freight forwarders at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport obstruct the officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) from carrying out their duty of 100% of cargo examination, the ANLCA Airport Chapter has set-up a team to make findings on the matter.
This allegation was contained in a statement which was signed by the Chairman, House Committee on Customs and Excise, Honorable Leke Abejide and sent to the association recently.
The statement titled, “Allegations of obstruction of Nigeria Customs Statutory duty of 100% physical examination of containers and cargoes,” read in part: “The House Committee has received numerous petitions about your members’ refusal to cooperate with the Nigeria Customs in its bid to carry out its statutory duty of 100% physical examination of containers and cargoes making its way into the country.
“It is no more news that undeclared arms and ammunition and contraband continuously make its way through the Nigerian Ports, Airports, and Border Stations.
“The House Committee hereby uses this medium to unequivocally express its displeasure towards the ceaseless allegations alleged against your members, and further wishes to remind your members that such illegal acts do not only frustrate the efforts of the Federal Government and the Nigeria Customs Service in its drive to prevent illicit inflows but also short changes the revenue that should be earned by the Federal Government.”
However, in a press conference which took place at the secretariat of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Muritala Muhammed International Airport, branch, the Chairman, 100% Compliance Committee of the Association, Alhaji Lameen Aliyu told journalists that the committee has been set up by the President of the Association, Tony Iju Nwanunike to enforce rules guiding cargo declaration and clearing.
He noted that the setting up of the committee was borne out of the concern expressed via the statement sent by the House of Representatives alleging the association of hampering the operation of the Nigeria Customs. He however pledged the committee’s support to the agency.
“This committee was set up by the President of ANLCA, Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike to remedy the allegation raised against the association by the House of Representatives which suggested that we are obstructing the operations of the Nigeria Customs Service. The committee members are here to say we are ready to synergize with the Nigeria Customs Service by enforcing discipline in terms of cargo declaration and payment of duties especially.”
“When we went to the Comptroller General, Col. Hameed Ali, for a meeting in Abuja, he said when he resumed office he was nicknamed, “carry and go Comptroller.” However, he said, now nothing of such would happen again, that duty would be paid on every container.
“We must cooperate with the federal government in generating revenue to the coffer of the country and this would be achieved by enforcing compliance on our members and other port operators,” he said.
Meanwhile, he added that if anybody is caught, he should be ready to face the wrath of the law because the committee members would be physically present to enforce the compliance.