The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has decried at the incessant interception of properly released containers on the highway by the operatives of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A, Lagos describing the development as unhealthy for the economy.
The National President of NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche who made the feeling of the association known in an address during a courtesy visit by the association to the Zonal Coordinator Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service, ACG Aminu Dahiru in Lagos observed that a situation where a container duly examined by a proper customs officer at the port would arrested on the highway by operatives of the FOU Zone A was not in line with the Ease of Doing Business policy of the federal government.
“It shall be our wish to see that during your tenure as the Coordinator of the zone, that you should be able to address some of the issues pertaining to irregularities in customs examination and cargo clearance. A situation whereby a container duly examined by a proper customs officer at the port and the same customs officers attached to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) is not healthy for the industry and it is not in tandem with the mandate of the federal government on the policy of the ease of doing business.
“Conversely, we request that as you carry on your oversight function on various commands under your watch, that you should ensure enforcement of extant laws guiding freight practices and customs official procedures”.
He frowned at the delays encountered in conducting customs examination adding that one cannot book containers for examination and carry out such examination within a given period at the Tincan command coupled with the extortions that are inherent in the system.
Also speaking, the National Chairman, Trade Facilitation, NAGAFF, Prince Ignatius Nwachukwu frowned at a situation where incessant alerting is the order of the day at Tincan command of the service saying that officers at the command commit atrocities with impunity.
He made a case where he pointed out that an officer of Deputy Comptroller status would examine a container and okays it for exit only for the operatives of the FOU A who by far are junior to the clearing officer at the port would intercept the same container thereby querying the knowledge and integrity of his boss who cleared the container at the port.
Prince Nwachukwu bemoan the boldness of the officers at Tincan who when corrected would tell you that it was the headquarters that posted them there wondering why an officer serving under a command would not take orders from his immediate bosses.
On his part, the founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam called for a committee comprising of NAGAFF members and officers of the Zone A office to fashion out a working document ti aid the ACG in executing his duties during the period he be in charge of the zone.
He noted that the zonal office headed by the ACG was strategic reminding him that he is in charge of the zone and therefore should be seen ti do what he was supposed to be doing to coordinate everybody and report to headquarters.
According to him,”We cannot continue to go to Abuja, some matters can be resolved here. We will give you and give you evidence so that when NAGAFF gives you evidence, you now meet the CG, the CG will always tell us give us evidence.There must be intervention, we can’t continue this way”.
Responding, the Zonal Coordinator of the Zone A, Aminu Dahiru, an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs said that he had started doing something as regards FOU A adding that he was aware of the problem but that such problem could be resolved if everybody weigh in, doing the right thing at the right time.
“What I intend doing concerning FOU intercepting consignments outside port, I want them to be using information or intelligence whichever one they have, let it be shown to the Area Controllers because it makes work easier and convenient for all departments that worked on the consignments while still under customs control and as for compliance team, they are yet to give report.
“As for Enforcement Unit, I tell you that the right person to inform is the CAC but now that the information is on my table, I will call him to check his Enforcement because there is no way they could be operating differently from what we have already worked on because if something is released, it is assumed that the Controller is satisfied and for any DC or whatever he may be called or any officer to intercept the container, it’s wrong and I will discourage that Insha Allah.
“So, Tincan in essence, since I came here, this is the first time somebody is complaining about Tincan but it is good now I received a complain, I will personally communicate with him I assure you. So, with the FOU, there is no problem, we are working out how to make things work without creating additional burden on our body”.
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