Customs Intensifies Campaign against Trade Malpractices, Smuggling

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Eromosele Abiodun

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said that it has renewed its campaign against trade malpractices and smuggling as part of efforts to implement the ease of doing business policy of the federal government.

To that end, the NCS said that it has come out with series of posters and flyers, urging importers and agents to make genuine declarations.

According to a statement, the agency also urged members of the business community, particularly importers and their agents, to avoid importation of prohibited items and harped on the need to pay appropriate customs duty always.

After the recent approval by the Controller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, for the service to commence electronic auction of seized and condemned goods, the customs had released a video sensitising members of the public on the forthcoming auction regime.
Aside pasting enlightenment posters at strategic points of various customs formations, its recent drive is seen across various social media platforms where it hopes to bring information about its activities closer to the masses in an easy to understand and cheaper to access format.

As a way of bringing its officers in sync with recent directives by acting President Yemi Osinbajo on the need to facilitate legitimate trade in the country, the customs’ recent moves is seen as an awakening to officers and stakeholders to always ensure compliance with rules.

Commenting on the development, spokesman for the service, Joseph Attah, said that the management of customs is keen on improving on transparency level of its relationship with stakeholders.

Attah, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs added that where there is improved compliance among importers and agents, cargo clearance at the seaports, airports and border stations will be faster.
”Our campaigns are targeted at a broad audience base because the more we dominate the various conventional and new media outlets with the true information for public consumption , the more difficult it becomes for unsuspecting members of the public to be misled or scammed.

”We had come out with a video that was shown on major television stations including Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on our weekly Customs Duty Programme. This is one sure way of fighting ignorance, which we all know is not an excuse for anyone caught on the wrong side of the law. The Controller General is committed to transparency and lawful ways of transacting government business and utmost integrity in relationship with our fellow government agencies and private sector stakeholders,”Attah said.
Meanwhile, the customs recently reaffirmed its resolve to begin the auction of condemned seizures from July 1, 2017 when its auction online portal will be open for access by members of the public.