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Customs’ Strike Force empowered to examine, seize goods inside seaports

The CGC, Rtd. Col. Hameed Ali

The Strike Force of the Nigeria Customs
Service is empowered henceforth to be involved in cargo examination and to make
seizures when necessary inside the nation’s seaports.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) made this
known in
  a circular Ell/2019/Number 002,
titled ‘100 % Examination of Cargo at the Ports’ saying that the Comptroller
General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali(rtd) gave the mandate.

Passing a vote of no confidence on resident
customs officers whose duty it is to carry out cargo examination, the NCS said
the Strike Force, which is an anti- smuggling unit set up by the CGC, would be
in the ports to examine goods that were not hitherto properly examined.

The NCS also declared that the Customs Area
Controllers would  be held responsible for any non- compliance with the
new order.

The circular dated April 25 reads in part,
“It has been observed that 100 per cent examinations of cargo at the ports are
not done properly by the officers assigned to do so.

“Consequently, the following instructions
must be carried out with immediate effect and Area Controllers will personally
be held responsible for non-compliance.

“Henceforth, every Area Controller must
respond accordingly to Strike Force intervention alerts.

“The Strike Force team has been authorized
henceforth to intervene right in the ports. Non- compliance to this circular
will attract severe sanctions.”

The development, which has seen the Strike
Force in action inside the ports for some weeks now, has made importers and freight forwarders express concerns, even as the action could amount to duty duplication or  making the resident officers redundant at the end of the day.

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