The Customs Area Controller, Lekki Free Trade Zone Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Comptroller Mohammed Babandede has described as false, the allegation of charging money on Transshipment Cargo by the authorities of the command to facilitate the Transshipment from the Lekki Deep seaport to other ports.
Babandede who was reacting to a comment by a member of the Nigerian Ports Consultative Council, NPCC, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara during a question and answer session at the 2024 Roadshow organized by the Lekki Port and Lekki Free Port Terminal in conjunction with the Lekki Free Trade Zone Customs Command in Lagos recently, said that the allegation was unfounded as Transshipment cargoes were not meant for Nigeria hence no document would be presented to the customs in that regard.
He said, “How can someone say customs is demanding money on something it doesn’t see? They have nothing to do with it. It’s not every story that you hear that you will be believe. We are available, you can meet us, ask us questions. We don’t see anything related to transshipment, they will only give us the manifest, two hundred boxes transshipment and that’s all. Nobody comes for declaration or am I asking the terminal operator or the port managers to give me money? These are not stories that should be believed.
“We have nothing, as the Area Controller, I only see documents relating to transshipment, the ones that want to do stuffing box or the container was damaged, they write application that we should give them approval to change the boxes. That’s all, we have nothing to do with that.”
While dismissing the allegation as the handiwork of mischief makers, he urged the stakeholders and the general public to ignore it as it could only happen on the figment of the imagination of those making the allegation which he said lacked merit.
Speaking on his passion for promoting export out of the country, the Controller maintained that the command had done everything possible to achieve export in the zone adding that “The success of export especially around the Lagos axis cannot be anything without mentioning my name.”
“At the port, we are doing everything to either give you empty boxes from the terminal, to stuff it there, to also make sure that you book the vessel that will be leaving in time. The customs are 21st century customs and we have keyed into our CGC’s agenda of collaborating and cooperating with you to ensure speedy delivery of import and export”, he added.
On Post Clearance Audit, the CAC disclosed that in the last one week alone he had signed 20 containers belonging to Dufil, 16 containers belonging to Nexus, a fast track beneficiary as well as those belonging to Smart Foods based in Ibadan, Oyo State. “The containers will be escorted to the owner’s premises and my officers will go and examine not officers from Apapa or Tincan or any other command.
“My officers are available, they will go within a day and examine your containers and come back to release your consignment”, he said noting that PCA and CIU units were domiciled in the command.
On exchange rate, he confirmed that “The exchange rate has nothing to do with customs. Monetary policies are made by the CBN, we are just boyi, boyi. They will say, change your system, we change our system, that’s all, we have nothing to do with that not even the CGC.”
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