Stories By Ajibola Abayomi
New Assistant Controller General of Customs in charge of Zone A, Aminu Dahiru, has charged officers under his watch to be very vigilant to forestall attempts at smuggling arms and ammunition into the country.
Dahiru, who was addressing officers and men of Ondo Ekiti Command as part of his tour of Customs formations in the South-west, said customs officers have a duty to contribute to national security and citizens safety..
He urged the officers to see their duties as a contribution to national social and economic growth adding that their acceptance to serve as customs officers could be likened to oaths of allegiance which must not fail.
He advised officers to see themselves as part of the change agenda of government adding that the change is working even if many are yet to feel it while urging them to maximise the benefits of available logistics.
On boosting customs operations, Dahiru said the headquarters is working on provision of patrol and other vehicles to enhance customs operations.
According to him, it is proven that increased economic activities associated with the yuletide periods also come with some attempts at committing infractions like smuggling, duty evasion through under declaration and concealment.
He advised officers to be very vigilant and avoid any act of truancy that will result in them abandoning their duty posts or absenting from duty without official leave (AWOL)
”You all should see yourselves as part of government’s journey to entrench change. We must shun selfishness and continue to give in our best at all times. This our professional calling is a service to humanity. We have duties to protect lives and the economy.
”Let’s also sustain and improve on our cordial relationship with our host communities. I am not saying should be cowards but please be always law abiding. The service will not protect any lawless officer caught contravening the laws.
”I am starting this tour with your command and wish to state that all commands are important. This doesn’t mean that the command I will visit last is the least. You all have your various contributions to our overall goal as a service.All commands are equal” he said.
‘Shipping coys responsible for manipulation of manifests’
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have vowed to clampdown on vessel making changes on ther manifest while on sea. In the same vein, the NCS accused Shipping lines and agencies aiding shipment of illicit items into the country.
Comptroller General of Customs (CG), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) said this during a meeting with shipping companies, terminal operators and other critical stakeholders in the maritime industry in Lagos.
He said the Customs would not hesitate to prosecute shipping companies caught in the act henceforth in order to safeguard the interest of the nation.
Ali explained that ships sailing to Nigeria change their manifests at sea from what they originally stated was the content from the point of origin of such cargoes.
Speaking against the background of the interception of over 2,000 pump action rifles at Tin Can Island Port, Ali said the documents from Turkey stated the original contents of the containers but these were changed when the ship got to Morocco.
“Shipping lines are responsible for shipping illicit items to Nigeria and I say this with all sense of responsibility because what we discovered in the case of arms is that in the last two months, when we went to Turkey, we discovered that they were documented as pump action rifles.
“So, the exit certificate from Turkey indicates the actual content because to them, they did not know that the pump action rifles are on the restricted list in Nigeria. Therefore they did not need to contact us before allowing their export it.
“But the importers of these weapons knowing that it is prohibited in Nigeria, when they got to Morocco, they changed the manifest and concealed the weapons with sanitary wares,” he said.
He queried shipping lines on why they accept the change of manifest in the course of transporting goods to Nigeria.