Customs informants disrupt cargo delivery, says NAGAFF

Ibrahim Tanko

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has lambasted the Nigeria Customs Service for abetting informants to disrupt cargo delivery.

The activities of informants, according to NAGAFF, have caused importers, freight forwarders and customs agents to lose a huge amount of money to demurrage.

Addressing the media yesterday in Apapa, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, National Coordinator of NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, said the leader of the informants had been identified and declared war on the inimical activities of the informants.

Tanko maintained that freight forwarders and customs agents were not against Nigeria Customs engaging informant in performing its functions but the cumbersome process involved in the release of seized containers and the impunity way and manner the informants go about the information supply.

While ruing the overbearing role of the Federal Operations Unit Zone A Ikeja in the whole process, Tanko advised that controller of the command where the seized cargo was released initially should be allowed to exercise power on the final release not the Abuja authority because of long wait while demurrage piling up.

“Informants have taken over our job. They pick container numbers either from shipping companies or terminals and send them to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) which the FOU officers and men on the highways use to arrest our containers. We are not against informants supplying information to Customs, our complain is about the cumbersome process which the containers are subjected to before final release.

“We want the controller of the port where the cargo was released initially to give final decision on the release not the Abuja authority. We have lost a lot of money to demurrage while waiting for the Abuja verdict, which often takes a lot of time to arrive.

“We have identified the leader of the informants. We have reached out to him and told him that we had concrete evidence against him. He denied any involvement in such act. This guy and his cohorts have caused many of our members to lose a lot of revenue to demurrage. I am a victim. Time is now to declare war on activities of informants. And we have now declared the war,” said he.

Tanko who described the informants as kidnappers said the standard of the scanners in the ports fall short of the expectations of the port users especially importers, freight forwarders and customs agents becuase “the scanners could not identify drugs, arms and ammunition and other security-threat items.”

He called on the federal government to replace the scanners with the ones that can scan and identify hard drugs and weapons. “We must have scanners that can detect any incriminating objects. It is not about revenue issue; we should talk more about security.”

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