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Agents still on strike at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport

Clearing agents operating
at the Murtala Muhammed Intl. Airport are yet to resume activities since they
started the protest against a new policy by the Nigeria Customs Lagos Airport
Command, planned for takeoff from July 13.


According to agency report,
the Customs Area Controller of the Command, Jayne Shoboiki, had directed that
from the stated date for commencement, all consignments should be on Form ‘M’.

In reaction, leaders of
clearing agents ordered their members to vacate the premises while the command
hierarchy locked the long room.
The aggrieved clearing agents accused the customs of
tripling the charges for clearance of consignments at the airport.
They described the directive as retrogressive, stressing
that some of the consignments could not come with Form ‘M’ as they were not
major goods.
Chris Nwabuzor, an official of the Association of Nigerian
Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at the Lagos airport, told journalists that
most of the policies introduced by the comptroller could not work at the
Nwabuzor said some of their consignments could not fall into
the category directed by the command.
He said the clearing agents had begun an indefinite strike
to register their grievances, vowing that they would not resume until the
command address their grievances.
“Since this new comptroller came on board, it has been from
one crisis to the other,” he said.
“Initially, she claimed that customs introduced a new system
which will enhance clearance of cargo at the airport. In fact, most of the
consignments we were supposed to clear entered demurrage in the process.
“Today again, the command sent out a circular that as from
July 13, which is two weeks from now, all consignments, must be on Form M,
which is not possible.
“Form M is for huge consignments, but some of our
consignments do not fall into that category. For instance, if you want to clear
a kilogramme good now, it must be on Form M.

Haruna said the command had new machines which were
installed recently, adding that the system recognises only that information.
In response, Ephraim Haruna, the command public relations
officer, confirmed the circular, saying it is not for immediate implementation.
“Even, at the seaport, car importation and clearance does
not fall under Form M; how come goods of just one kilogramme and more will now
fall under this category?”

“We ought to have commenced the policy immediately, but they
complained that some of the consignments were already ordered and we gave them
enough time to plan ahead.

“We have not given any deadline; we just issued them a
circular today informing them that from July 13, they should make sure all
their consignments coming into the country are on Form M,” Haruna said.

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