In a bid to find solutions to corruption challenges and address complaints by customs licensed agents and port users, the Zonal Coordinator, Zone “A”, Assistant Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), ACG Eporwei Charles Edike over the weekend visited some of the sea ports in Lagos, Apapa and Tin Can, unannounced.
Without escorts or aides, the Customs chief, who disguised as an agent, mingled with other agents and customs officers inside customs offices in order to ascertain the level of efficiency and quality of service rendered by Customs officers to port users.
Dressed in plain jeans and T-shirts, the ACG was in Apapa in the morning to see if reports that Customs officers come to work late were true.
He walked around unrecognised by agents, who had also arrived waiting to be attended to.
At the APMT office in Apapa, Edike met a huge crowd of agents who were begging APM officials to attend to them.
Edike, who had to reveal his identity in order to address the situation asked the APMT officials to avoid delaying agents unnecessarily.
The visibly angry Edike said: “Time is money. Every second counts, by delaying these people cost of doing business is increased. It also makes our ports unattractive to customers. We must eliminate delays to reduce time and costs if our ports are to be competitive and attractive to port users within the West African Sub-region.”
The ACG also inspected Customs offices and officers and charged them to sit up and live up to national expectations.
At the Tin Can port, he interacted with clearing agents, made enquiries on what their challenges are before entering Customs offices to inspect officers and men of the Service.
The ACG met with the CACs of the two commands to find lasting solutions to the identified gaps.
He charged the Area Controllers to be on their toes and ensure that ports users enjoy efficient services. Edike also tasked the CACs to ensure that not a kobo accruing to government as revenue is lost under any guise.
According to the ACG, “These are very trying times for everybody; government needs funds to carry out developmental projects and to meet its obligations locally and internationally. The Nigeria Customs has a mandate to collect revenue on all imported cargoes. We must work hard to ensure that there are no leakages and every kobo must be collected as revenue.”
He implored officers to remain dedicated to duty, professional in service and to shun all acts capable of compromising their judgments, duties.
He urged all CACs within Zone “A” to ensure discipline and effective supervision.