Sharp Practices: Ajuzie advocates for separate Area Controller to oversee bonded terminals


A former Chairman of the Apapa chapter of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Fred Ajuzie has advocated for a Customs Area Controller (CAC) for bonded terminals distinct from the ones controlling Apapa and Tincan Area commands.

Ajuzie who made this advocacy in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos recently posited that such development if allowed to be would check incidences of malpractices in cargo clearance and boost government revenue.

He said,” Bonded terminals are operational and bonded terminals are under a Controller of a particular area. I will advise government to now institute a Controller for bonded terminals and a Controller for the ports. Let one Controller don’t control the ports and the bonded terminals because that is where the loopholes are because if a Controller has 13 or 14 bonded terminals like in Apapa alone, if they have a Controller that is in-charge of bonded terminal and there is a revenue tag on him, he will never allow malpractices to happen in bonded terminal”.

While pointing out that there were too much duplication in the Nigeria Customs Service, Ajuzie however observed that if there was no collaboration within the system, issues of under declaration and false declaration would persist insisting that if the system was tightened up, everybody would fall in line.

“When APMT was building this white house for customs purposes, I was thinking that everybody, anything customs because that was what we were made to understand will be in this white house so that your document will pass every unit as much as it has exited and get to terminal, the container is as good exited, there wouldn’t be any issue of mounting road blocks. All these units; Strike Force, Compliance Team, CIU, let them bring them to one place”.

On corruption in the cargo clearing process, he said, “If government wants trade to move as long as trade facilitation is concerned, I have been a Chairman for eight years, I have seen it all and whatever I am saying, I am saying out of experience because I have seen all the units and know what is going on I don’t want to say this one is collecting money and that one is not collecting money, everybody is collecting money; be you customs, be you NAFDAC, be you NPA, be you SON, none of them is exempted in money collection.

“When government is bringing in Strike Force or whatever nomenclature to stifle trade, it is increasing corruption in the ports. If corruption is 20%, they have increased it times two to 40% and so on. Please, let government forget this Strike Force this or Task Force that, these are causing confusion because an officer you see as DC here will later become an officer that will lead Valuation, it is the same officer that will lead Strike Force, it is the same officer that will lead Compliance Team, who is fooling who? It is still the same officer they will send on Investigation. If he comes here, is it the container that he released before that he is going to investigate?

“Let us say the truth and let Satan be shamed. I am saying this, let them forget the issue of Strike Force, whenever they want to disband them, they will go and seize one consignment to make a press show as if they are working. When an officer declares that he refused to collect N50, 000.00 as bribe, did he tell you the ones he collected? If an officer should refuse N100, 000, 000.00, you know he has collected N500, 000,000.00. These things are very clear and government should not pretend not to know.

“A customs Controller does not receive up to N1, 000, 000 as monthly salary, a customs Controller is driving a Prado to office which costs N21, 000, 000 and you call such officer and give him award and he is driving a Prado that costs N22, 000, 000 and his salary is not up N1, 000, 000 in a month and he will say that he inherited properties from his father. When he joined Customs, how much did he inherit, let us do an assessment. Corruption is everywhere, government should forget about Task Force this, Task Force that, they are duplicating things and they are making things worst.

“When you set up a Strike Force and send them to the ports, the man you sent from Abuja to come and man the terminal, the man is no longer competent? Is the person that you are now sending more competent than him? You made a roster and send an Area Controller to come and implement reforms and before you send an Area Controller to a terminal, you know that such an Area Controller is competent and capable, if you now want to set up a Strike Force, that means you are negating the man you sent to come and implement something. The man will not be happy. A visitor cannot be better than a house owner because there is a place I will hide things in my house, even if a visitor comes to search my house from today till next year, he can’t find it. It is only the man that owns the house that can find it. So that is how resident officers are to the people that come visiting the port”, he submitted.

Send your news, press releases/articles to Also, follow us on Twitter @ptreporters and on Facebook on or call the editor on 07030661526, 08053908817.


1 Comment

  1. Ben Uche Ndee on

    Thank you so much Dr Fred Ajuzie.
    It is indeed heart renching to watch the brazen affront and assault on cargo clearance process in our ports and other gateways by the so called multitude of Taskforces while the leadership of CRFFN Accredited Freight Forwarding Associations remain passive.
    The much talked EODB mantra of this Government is a farce afterall if all that matter to these Taskforces is their individual Revenue Target by threat of seizure and coersion of hapless agents and their importers through all manner of alerts while smiling to their banks.
    The collapsed port access roads seem not be of concern rather an added impetus to them as it takes almost a month to exit cargo out of Lagos ports while Eastern ports lie in waste due to dirty politics.
    The present Nigeria Customs in whatever guise in our ports,highways and border stations is a big scam,shame and embarrassment.
    We may need to invite America or Britain to administer and retrain them if only they will learn and change for the overall image of Nigeria.
    It has never been this bad in my several decades in practice,I weep and bleed in my heart over the monumental corruption and rot that has befallen the entire cargo clearance chain under a Government anchored on fight against corruption .
    The CG may not truly know the havoc these thieving Taskforces are wrecking on the economy and what is left of the integrity Nigeria Customs Service hence the urgent need for an emergency maritime stakeholders meeting in Lagos on SITREP.
    A very big shame indeed.

Leave A Reply