By Kenneth Jukpor
As part of efforts to prioritize automation at Nigerian seaports, airports and land borders, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) will be equipped with over seventy scanners under the ongoing Customs modernization project also known as E-Customs.
The Zonal Coordinator of Customs, Zone A, ACG Modupe Aremu, said this yesterday while assuring in another that scanners to be deployed in three ports would arrive in the country this month.
Aremu was speaking during a working visit to some commands in Lagos as she visited Apapa, Tin Can Island and the Port Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) commands.
Describing herself as a promoter of automation, ACG Aremu encouraged the Area Controllers and Deputy Controllers to prepare to support the innovation as it would usher in enormous benefits and enhance Customs operations.
The Zonal Customs boss noted that the first set of scanners will be deployed in Apapa, Tin Can Island and Onne ports to help strengthen the activities there and curb smuggling.
Her words: “With e-Customs we are also going to have about seventy scanners that will deployed to all the Customs commands at the seaports and airports. E-Customs is about end-to-end automation to eliminate human contact at the ports. The scanner is a pictorial of everything that is in the container and that is very important. Government is making efforts to achieve this.”
Meanwhile, the ACG commended the Apapa command for the remarkable feat of generating N87.8 billion in August 2021, noting that the figure is the highest collected by any Customs Command in one month.
“This is impressive, but the CAC of Apapa, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf did not achieve this by himself, but with the contribution of officers in his command. You should keep the flag flying and not let the figure go down,” she addressed the Apapa Customs leadership.
At Tin Can Island Command, Aremu also commended the Area Controller, Comptroller Musa Abdullahi and his team as the command has collected over N320billion from January 1st to September 9th, 2021.
Earlier, the Tin Can Island Area Controller noted that the 2021 revenue figure represented an improvement of 28.63% by over N72billion when compared to 2020.
ACG Aremu, however, frowned at the numerous cases of frivolous impediments at the command arising from alerts which delays cargo evacuation from the port.
“On the issue of examination, when you do proper examination and you input your Inspection Act properly, you don’t have anything to be scared of. If you examine and do your Inspection Act properly, you can use it to close the numerous alerts. I have heard that officers keep some jobs for weeks saying the consignments have been alerted and sometimes they drop names from the Customs headquarters but that’s not the way to go and we will talk about that privately,” she said.
At the PTML Command, she expressed delight at the fact that none of the seizures by the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Ikeja, were consignments released from the command.
The ACG, who served as Area Controller at PTML years ago, also commended the efforts of the PTML team for generating over N20billion monthly when she thought she had reached the peak at the command with N10billion years ago.
During the tour, ACG Aremu also assured officers that the Comptroller-General, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd.) is concerned about the welfare of officers.
“The CG is really concerned about the welfare of officers and that is why he sent the DCG, Financial Administration and Technical Service (FATS), DCG David Chikan to Lagos to look for where to get land for a hospital of about 50-beds for Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). Contracts have also been awarded for building 132 two-bedroom flats for Customs officers. With this development, very soon our officers would have a beffitting apartment in the discharge of their duties,” she posited.