Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has been called upon to as a matter of urgency investigate Customs Pre-shipment Inspection cancelled by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) during the tenure of Alhaji Dikko Inde as Comptroller-General as a means of fighting rising insecurity in the country.
A non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Social Integrity Network (SIN), in a petition sent to the leadership of the Senate, noted that the Pre-Shipment Inspection that was cancelled has further paved way for bandwagon effects, including illegal importation of dangerous weapons.
According to the group, “We want to categorically ask: ‘was the cancellation approval granted by the President, the leadership of the National Assembly, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice or by their personal decision?
“It is on record that the manufacturers have been clamouring for the return of Pre-Shipment Inspection but unfortunately, no attention has been given to their request while many companies that have been found to be culpable in this regard are yet to be sanctioned. Destination Inspection imposed is full of corruption due to lack of efficiency and transparency in the exercise.”
The group stated further that “if Nigerian Government is really serious about the fight insurgency, they must revisit the matter and reverse the action with immediate effect because it is through this means that dangerous weapons are finding their ways into the country.
“Despite all the money being spent on insurgency operations, the federal government is yet to overcome the ugly challenges which have ravaged many states in the Northeast while many innocent souls have been lost.”
The petition further said: “It is our desire to swiftly respond against the looming crises of economic sabotage which is posing serious threat to the means of livelihood of average Nigerians.
“It would be recalled that recently, we all woke up to a widely spread reports by a group under the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN)-Galvanised Iron and Steel Manufacturers Association (GISMA)-with the alert of planning to lay off 20,000 workforces into the labour market.
“The 30 days warning alert was given due to the collapse of some sectors of Nigeria economy precipitated by massive smuggling of substandard products into Nigeria, targeted at collapsing the local manufacturers.”
The group added that “our investigation has revealed that smuggled substandard steel products have flooded every nook and cranny of Nigeria thereby subjecting local manufacturers to serious economic and social investment misfortune.
“Our Questions now is: What are the agencies saddled with these responsibilities such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) doing about it in order to support President Muhammadu Buhari in his efforts to industrialise Nigeria?”
“Information at our disposal is that some member-companies under GISMA are planning to start shedding their workforce under the euphemism of ‘stood off’, workforce rationalisation and outright sacking of workers because they are yet to get meaningful success in their plights of ridding the country of smuggling and illegal importation activities.”