Amid concerns about increased activities of smuggling through the ports and border routes, the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics in Nigeria (APFFLON) has indicted officers of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for the menace.
In a press statement issued at the weekend, the group stressed that no container can be smuggled into Nigeria without the support of Customs officers.
This is coming on the heels of the revelation that over 400,000 vehicles are smuggled into the country annually, disclosed at the weekend by the Comptroller-General of NCS, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd).
Meanwhile, the freight forwarding group condemned the recent invasion of some warehouses and markets in the South-West region by the Strike Force unit of NCS.
The advocacy group through its National President, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, described the raid by Customs as an indictment on their part saying that the revenue collectors have been playing the ostrich.
Ogunojemite accused the organization of complicity, pointing out that 80% of goods that flood the Nigeria markets and warehouses are goods duly released by officers and men of the Customs Service.
Although the Co-ordinator of the CG Strike Force has stated that based on the proactive measures by the Unit, smugglers have found it difficult to move smuggled foreign rice from the border in large quantity.
The National President of APFFLON vehemently condemned the action, saying that Customs clandestinely collect money from importers to release contraband goods after which they move into their warehouses to cart away same, describing the action as treacherous.
His words, “the height of corruption we witness in every sector of the economy is amazing. How would Customs exornorate themselves in all these. The foreign rice and contraband goods that flood our markets come in either through the land borders or the seaports; none passes underground”.
“If Customs due to greed and love of money compromise professionalism and allow most of them to find their ways into our markets, and come back to paint pictures of patriotism and diligence, l think that’s a high level of hypocrisy.”
The Association called on the Comptroller General of NCS, Ali to review the ethical standards and the level of patriotism of personnel at cargo entry points to avoid continued embarrassment to the country and disgrace to his leadership.