Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has vowed not to sacrifice national security and the nation’s economic interest on the altar of trade facilitation.
The warning came from the acting controller of FOU, Zone A, Hussein Ejibunu, following a recent complaint by the Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA) and Freight Forwarders about the presence of officers of the unit along the port’s access corridor.
Ejibunu said the unit will never compromise national security and economic interests on the altar of trade facilitation by either allowing dangerous goods to pass unchecked or leaving consignments that haven’t paid full customs duty to leave without collecting the shortfalls through demand notices.
He said, “Only persons or companies that have things to hide or have breached sections of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) should be worried about the presence of my officers anywhere they are seen.
“Traders or importers who are not dealing in contraband or absolute prohibitions and have paid the right duty without attempting to falsely, under declare or conceal to smuggle should go about their businesses normally. These categories of persons have nothing to worry about because we are not after them.
The customs boss further reiterated the resolve of the unit to continually suppress smuggling and prevent loss of government revenue through seaports, airports, land borders and warehouses across the South West.
He described flawless compliance by importers, agents and freight forwarders as a major contributor in achieving seamless cargo movement across the Unit’s areas of coverage.
“Barely a month after my resumption, all containers and trucks brought to my unit in the course of our operations were justifiably intercepted either as seizures or found to have evaded full duty payment. Some were also discovered to have concealed bags of rice under cement, a situation that could endanger consumers of such food commodity.’’