The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A, Ikeja, Lagos has described as untrue an allegation by some licensed customs agents that operatives of the unit now stationed one of its vehicles permanently at the Leventis axis of Apapa obstructing free movement of already exited cargoes from the port.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto had last week accused the operatives of the unit of permanently positioning their vehicle at the Leventis area of Apapa where they collect SGDs of already exited cargoes from the port describing the development as illegal and absurd.
Farinto also alleged that over five hundred vehicles of frozen poultry products find their way into the country from the unapproved routes around Seme within the hours of 5.am and nobody intercepts them wondering why operatives of the unit would go about accosting and extorting those who had suffered so much to bring out their goods from the ports.
“In Lagos now, perhaps you don’t know, besides FOU, we have the Comptroller-General’s Taskforce Monitoring unit stopping our cargoes on the highway. It is either this FOU people and the CGC’s Compliance team should come to the port and do the needful or you allow any consignment that is exited to go to the consignees’ warehouse. That can be done, we have the might”, he said.
However, the spokesman of the Unit, Mr. Jerry Attah stated that he was not aware that there was a check point along that area adding that the only approved checkpoints in the Southwest Zone as approved by the federal government were Gbaji and Agbara along Seme axis and Papalanto and Ajilete along Idiroko axis even as he admitted that all other illegal checkpoints had been dismantled.
“However, you will see our patrol vehicles on surveillance and patrol information. There are situations that warrant our officers to go on patrol based on information and they are not supposed to last more than 24 hours. So, if you see our vehicle in the place that you talked about, it is possible they went there based on information not that there is a checkpoint there.
“One thing we need to understand is that there is difference between checkpoints and patrol bases, when they have information, they move and come back not that they are supposed to be there more than 24 hours. And if you see any of our vehicles or any team stationed in any axis apart from the ones I mentioned, more than 24 hours, then it is illegal, you draw our attention to it and we take it up with them here in the office. What we need is make sure you give us the vehicle particulars because these are some of those things”, he added.
He further described as frivolous allegations that smuggled frozen poultry products pass approved customs checkpoints without being intercepted by customs operatives on duty, even as he accused peddlers of that allegations as those who wanted their voices to be heard and who were in the habit of tainting the image of the Service.
“That is a very frivolous allegation on our operatives. We have approved checkpoints and there is no smuggled item that will pass through these approved checkpoints. If there is any allegation, it is from people who want their voices heard; they are always trying to taint the image of the Service. It is not true. There is no how a proper customs officer on duty will see a contraband item like frozen poultry product he knows is not good for our health and allow it to pass, it is not true at all”, he said.
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