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Agents Battle Customs over Multiple Checks in Cargo Clearance

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Nigeria Customs Service
  • Agents Battle Customs over Multiple Checks in Cargo Clearance

There is a growing agitation among freight forwarders plying their trade at the Lagos ports over what they described as the proliferation of Customs units which they alleged are being used for extortions and to encumber the clearance procedures at the ports.

The concerned agents, who warned that their patience was running out over what they claimed was the mindless extortions they are being subjected to, alleged that the multiple Customs units not only complicate and elongate the clearing process, but have also added to the cost of doing business at the ports.

Speaking on behalf of agents, Vice-President, Western Zone of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Tanko Ibrahim, lamented that apart from the resident Customs officers and Federal Operations Unit (FOU), the Customs authority has created what it called Strike Force team and Customs Police.

According to him, “We have never witnessed what is happening now in customs clearing process. Apart from the traditional resident Customs officers and the FOU, which are involved in cargo clearing process, there are other units newly created by Customs hierarchy to muddle up cargo clearance procedures.

“They are CG strike force and Customs Police. All these units are doing the same thing. They all want to be part of cargo clearing process. When your goods have been cleared by the resident Customs officers at the ports, these other units, which are alien to the cargo clearance procedures, will delay your goods through issuance of indiscriminate alerts and inordinate engagement in arrest of containers. This frustrates quick clearance of goods, make nonsense of ease of doing business initiative of the Federal Government and add to the cost of transactions.”

However, the Customs authority said any freight forwarder who does not have anything to hide should not be agitated over the new structure.

The Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Joseph Attah, said it was not within the jurisdiction of any freight forwarder to question the structure in the Customs or how Customs should do its duty.

He explained that the strike force team is not involved in cargo clearing process but to act on information to impound containers that are enmeshed in infractions in clearance procedures.

Attah, further disclosed that the Customs Police is a new creation meant to instil discipline in the service.
“The Customs Police is just like military police. It was created to restore discipline within the service. They can invite, arrest and detain Customs officers based on any disciplinary breach.

“They do not interfere in clearance procedures but unless there is a reported case and need for their intervention in a case that involves agents and customs officers. Their primary duty is to restore discipline in the service,” he insisted.

He said the strike force is known to Customs operations and whoever states otherwise is being mischievous.
“The authority created three layers of security to check abuses of clearing process and plug revenue leakages. The first layer is the resident Customs, the second layer is the FOU while the strike force is the third layer.

“If you beat one, you can’t beat the others. There is no way you can beat all the three layers,” Attah declared.

He said rather than condemn the structure and engage in generic accusation of all the units, the agitating agents should identify any officer in any of these units who is involved in any form of malpractices for appropriate sanction.

However, Tanko insisted that these units do not confine themselves to their so called primary duties, but rather want to be involved in examination of cargo.

“Whether your container is involved in any infraction or not, the strike force will arrest your container and knowing what you will face if the container is taken to the Customs training school where they are based, agents quickly part with money to avoid delay,” he alleged.

According to him, if a container is taken to their office, the officers will subject the owner to inhuman treatment before they ask him to pay for unloading the contents for physical examination and loading, even when nothing incriminating is found.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Siemens Energy Nigeria Appoints Seun Suleiman as Managing Director

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Seun Suleiman is the New Managing Director of Siemens Energy Nigeria

Mr. Seun Suleiman is the new managing director of Siemens Energy Nigeria, the company announced on Wednesday.

According to the statement released by the energy company, Suleiman will be responsible for the entire management of operations and decisions on business policies and corporate strategy.

Commenting on his appointment, Suleiman said, “It is an absolute honor to lead the business for Siemens Energy Nigeria and I look forward to delivering on the brand’s promise of excellence.

Suleiman joined Siemens Energy in 2014, bringing over 15 years’ experience and deep expertise in the private sector across Europe and West Africa.

The statement said, “He is an accomplished business strategist and success-driven leader with strong business acumen. Suleiman has also been a core member of the executive management team at Siemens Energy serving in roles as Sales Director West Africa – Service Distributed Generation Oil & Gas and Vice President Service & Digital.

“Prior to this, he also held various functional and managerial positions with ABB Ltd UK, ABBNG Nigeria, Schneider Electric Nigeria and Dresser-Rand Nigeria Ltd.

It added that Suleiman was experienced in establishing operational excellence with specific competence in the power, oil and gas sectors.

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

The Federal Government on Monday said the Osubi Airport in Warri has been reopened for daylight operations.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki, disclosed this in a tweet.

The airport was closed in February 2020 over mismanagement and debt allegation involving aviation service providers and airport management.

However, Oberuakpefe Afe, a lawmaker representing Okpe/Sapeie/vaie federal constituency, recently moved a motion for the Federal Government through the ministry of aviation and relevant authorities to reopen the airport for flight operations.

On Monday, Hadi Siriki said “I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in VFR conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth.

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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