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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.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Africa’s Richest Man, Aliko Dangote Ready to Sell Refinery to Nigerian Government

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Dangote refinery

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest entrepreneur, has announced his willingness to sell his multibillion-dollar oil refinery to Nigeria’s state-owned energy company, NNPC Limited.

This decision comes amid a growing dispute with key partners and regulatory authorities.

The $19 billion refinery, which began operations last year, is a significant development for Nigeria, aiming to reduce the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

However, challenges in sourcing crude and ongoing disputes have hindered its full potential.

Dangote expressed frustration over allegations of monopolistic practices, stating that these accusations are unfounded.

“If they want to label me a monopolist, I am ready to let NNPC take over. It’s in the best interest of the country,” he said in a recent interview.

The refinery has faced difficulties with supply agreements, particularly with international crude producers demanding high premiums.

NNPC, initially a supportive partner, has delivered only a fraction of the crude needed since last year. This has forced Dangote to seek alternative suppliers from countries like Brazil and the US.

Despite the challenges, Dangote remains committed to contributing to Nigeria’s economy. “I’ve always believed in investing at home.

This refinery can resolve our fuel crisis,” he stated, urging other wealthy Nigerians to invest domestically rather than abroad.

Recently, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority accused Dangote’s refinery of producing substandard diesel.

In response, Dangote invited regulators and lawmakers to verify the quality of his products, which he claims surpass imported alternatives in purity.

Amidst these challenges, Dangote has halted plans to enter Nigeria’s steel industry, citing concerns over monopoly accusations.

“We need to focus on what’s best for the economy,” he explained, emphasizing the importance of fair competition and innovation.

As Nigeria navigates these complex issues, the potential sale of Dangote’s refinery to NNPC could reshape the nation’s energy landscape and secure its energy independence.

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Dangote Shelves Steel Project to Prevent Monopoly Allegations

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Aliko Dangote - Investors King

Aliko Dangote, chairman of Dangote Industries Limited, announced the company’s decision to halt plans to enter Nigeria’s steel industry.

The decision comes just two months after the conglomerate had initially unveiled its intentions to invest in the sector as part of efforts to expand the economy.

Addressing journalists at his refinery in Lagos, Dangote explained that the board’s decision was driven by concerns over potential accusations of creating a monopoly.

“We have decided against pursuing the steel business to avoid being labeled a monopoly,” Dangote stated.

He explained that the company’s operations focus on adding value by transforming local raw materials into finished products.

The industrialist dismissed claims that his group enjoys monopolistic advantages, pointing out that their business practices have always fostered a competitive environment.

“When we entered the cement market, Lafarge was the only player, yet no one accused them of being a monopoly,” he stated.

Dangote further encouraged other Nigerian investors to explore opportunities in the steel industry, suggesting that there are ample resources and space for new entrants.

“There are many Nigerians with the financial capacity to invest. They should seize this opportunity to contribute to our nation’s growth,” he urged.

The billionaire’s call to action extended to Nigerians living abroad, inviting them to invest in their homeland.

“Bring your resources back from Dubai and other parts of the world and invest in Nigeria,” he said, reinforcing his commitment to seeing the country’s economy thrive through diverse contributions.

This decision marks a strategic shift for Dangote Industries, focusing on dispelling monopoly myths and promoting a collaborative business landscape.

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Goya Foods Takes Legal Action to Assert ‘Goya Olive Oil’ Trademark Ownership

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Goya Foods

“Goya Olive Oil” trademark in Nigeria, Goya Foods Incorporated has initiated legal proceedings against the Registrar of Trademarks under the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

The case, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2023, was brought before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Goya Foods, a prominent producer and distributor of foods and beverages across the United States, Spanish-speaking countries, and Nigeria, seeks to enforce a longstanding consent judgment issued by the court in December 2006.

The judgment directed the Registrar to rectify the Trademarks Register to reflect Goya Foods Incorporated as the rightful owner of the “Goya Olive Oil” trademark, without any further formalities.

The lawsuit, exclusively revealed to sources, underscores Goya Foods’ determination to safeguard its intellectual property against alleged infringements.

According to court documents, Goya Foods obtained the consent judgment against Chikason Industries Limited, which was accused of marketing “Goya Olive Oil” in Nigeria, thus infringing on Goya Foods’ registered trademark.

Legal counsel for Goya Foods, Ade Adedeji, SAN, emphasized the necessity of rectifying the Trademarks Register to protect their trademark interests effectively.

Despite appeals to the Registrar, the requested rectification has not been implemented, prompting Goya Foods to escalate the matter through legal channels.

The case has been adjourned to September 27, 2024, for further proceedings, highlighting the complexity and significance of trademark disputes in the global marketplace.

Goya Foods remains committed to upholding its brand integrity and securing its proprietary interests amidst the evolving landscape of international trademark law.

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