ANTI-SMUGGLING: Customs Raise Alarm, Says We are Losing Our Cases in Court

…ACG Zone A Warn Officers Against Multiple Alerts, Delay Of Cargoes

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Nigeria Customs Service has raised an alarm that it is losing most of its cases in the court of law because its officers fail to compile case files properly.

Area Controller, Tin Can Island Command of Nigeria Customs Service, Compt Musa Abdullahi (right) presenting a souvenir to the visiting Zonal Cordinator Zone A, ACG Modupe Aremu in Lagos yesterday

This was stated on Thursday by Assistant Comptroller General of Customs in charge of Zone A, ACG Modupe Aremu when she toured various commands under the Zone including, Apapa Command, Tin Can, and PTML Commands.

Speaking at the Tin Can Island Command, ACG Aremu also lamented that Customs officials after making seizures are not always willing to testify in court and this lead to a loss.

On various alerts on cargoes, the customs boss called for proper examination and input of the Customs Inspection Act, warning that officers should stop delaying cargoes for several weeks under the guys of the cargo being on “alert”

The ACG, Modupe Aremu in a group photograph with officers at Tin Can Island Port

Speaking, she said “We are losing most of our cases in court because our case files are not properly compiled.

“Your case file has to be properly compiled and detailed. When we go to court we lose most of our cases because most of our officers are not willing to testify in court.
You cannot make a seizure and you are not willing to testify in court, we would lose the case.

“This is why the legal adviser has been hammering on proper compilation of case files and the officer needs to be able to testify in court” she said

Speaking further, ACG Aremu said “I must emphasise the need for proper examination, when you do proper examination and you imput your inspection Act properly, you don’t have anything to fear, even if you see alerts from anywhere, and you examine and you are sure you input your inspection Act properly, you can use it to close the alert.

“I have heard officers keeping jobs for weeks, saying that it’s alerted, they drop names of people from headquarters, this is not the way to go.

“To whom much is given, much is expected, the CGC is committed to improving the image of the service, and we also have a part to play” she stated

The customs boss encouraged the Deputy Comptrollers at the commands to mentor and train the officers under them, saying that the service is in dare need of attitudinal change.

“You can do an on-the-job training maybe 30minutes daily when you come early, we need to talk to ourselves and mentor officers, it’s a source of inspiration, when we talk to them, they would change, because we need to change, we need attitudinal change”

She assured that scanners would soon be deployed to the Apapa Port, Tin Can Island Port and Onne Ports.

According to her, by the time the modernisation of the service popularly called e-customs kicks off, about 70 Scanners would have been deployed to various port locations.

Shr said about 300 customs trainees are on standby for the marine arm of the service, and that automated tracking systems would also be deployed.

“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.”

ACG Aremu also assured that the Comptroller General, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) is really concerned about the welfare of officers and that had 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 the service.

She said contracts have also been awarded for building 132 two-bedroom flats for Customs officers.

With this, she assured that officers would have a beffitting apartment in the discharge of their duties.

Speaking at the Tin Can Port visit, the Area Controller, Tincan Island Command, Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Abdullahi Musa said that the command generated N320.96 billion from January to August, 2021.

He said that the command, during the same period last year, generated N248.89 billion.

The comptroller said that a comparative analysis of revenue collection for the two periods indicates a difference of N72.06 billion, representing an improvement of 28.63 percent.

“In the period under review Jan. 1 to Sept. 9, Tincan Island Port (TCIP) Command’s operation aligned with the statutory obligations of the NCS which include revenue generation, trade facilitation and protection of national borders.

“To achieve our strategies goals, the TCIP Management Team devised and implemented strategies that enhanced the command’s ability to mitigate threats of non-compliance as well as the challenges of inadequate logistics and infrastructure at the Ports hitherto.

Earlier at the Apapa Command, the Command’s Area Controller; Malanta Ibrahim Yusuf noted that the command generated an unprecedented N87.8 billion as revenue in the month of August 2021.

This is the highest revenue ever collected by any Customs command in a single month.

According to Malanta, the Apapa Customs Command revenue collection between January and August 2021 stood at N526.9 billion which translates to 63.9% against the corresponding months in the year 2020.

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