Customs Denies Aiding, Abetting Cargo Smuggling Out Of Ports

Customs Denies Aiding, Abetting Cargo Smuggling Out Of Ports

 Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) has denied the allegation that it aids and abets smuggling of fake and substandard goods out of the nation’s seaports by routinely denying the Standard Organisation of Nigeria(SON) access to joint examination of cargo at the ports.

In a press statement on Friday, NCS said the allegations were not true, with attached redacted documents of proof, while expressing shock at the statement credited to the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim.

Salim, in the statement, was credited to have accused the Service of being

responsible for revenue losses, following the preponderance of fake and substandard products out of the nation’s ports and alluded that officials of SON were routinely excluded from joint examination by officers of NCS.

According to the statement signed by the National Public Relations Officer(NPRO) of NCS, Deputy Compt. Timi Bomodi,” We want to state that the allegations are untrue. The Nigeria Customs Service fully cognizant that strategic cooperation among security and regulatory agencies lies at the heart of national security willfully works in tandem with other security and regulatory agencies including SON to achieve national goals.

“Under the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS II), SON

and other regulatory agencies of government are linked directly and

frequently make inputs in reference to items of significance to their

operations. At no time has NCS refused to oblige them with any request.

 Indeed, the Nigeria Customs Service even without intervention from SON on

its own directs suspicious items bordering on brand and intellectual property

rights infringements to them, ”he added.

The statement had attached redacted documents buttress their claim that SON has access to their systems, “are informed and fully participate in examinations and even go as far as collect product samples where necessary during examinations for their investigations. Even the field inspection process chart on the SON official website shows the involvement of SON at the ports and borders during examinations. There exists open channels of communication between, officials of SON and NCS Area Commands should the need arise for clarifications or interventions.

The statement further read:“Therefore this statement ascribed to the DG creates a totally false narrative and is viewed as an attempt to portray the NCS in negative light. It is questionable, raises serious concerns and calls for scrutiny by discerning members of the public. It is also self-condemning, regrettable and exposes SON as being incapable of living up to its mandate. If after issuing certificates,participating in examinations, taking samples for further investigations and authorizing release to the NCS, substandard goods find their way into the open market the DG SON should look inwards.”

Advising that the nation at this  critical time needs inter-agency collaboration to achieve results, the statement added, ”While success is said to breed opposition, the success of the NCS is not achieved by tarnishing the image of another agency just to look good or score cheap points.

“ We urge the DG SON and his agency not to be self-seeking, leave the path of rivalry and collaborate towards achieving national interest,” NCS noted.

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