FOU will continue to intercept suspected containers on highways, says Customs CG

The Federal Operations Unit(FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service will continue with its mandate to intercept any suspected container on the highways, to check any perceived fraudulent practice.

The Comptroller -General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali, stated this at a news conference in Lagos where he briefed the press on his working visit to Lagos. 

The customs boss said it would not renege on its duty to police it's jurisdiction to ensure that revenue due government is not unduly lost.

"In 99 per cent he cases of highway interception of containers by our officers, it is discovered that they did not have papers to prove they were cleared.

"The unit does not just intercept any container, but it does on intelligence report.

"Henceforth, we will trace the container to know the officers on duty and get them punished also because this can only be done in connivance," Ali said.

On the issue of the Senate summon for him to give reasons for lifting the ban on rice importation through land borders, the comptroller general said "there was never a ban on rice importation."

He said it was the customs that restricted the collection of duty on rice importation to the ports, but found now that people took advantage of the disparity to import through land borders.

He said that was what informed the lift on the restriction, seeing that it was no longer necessary.
Ali, however, clarified that on waivers; only diplomatic cargoes would enjoy that privilege after proper scrutiny. 

He said his administration as the customs boss, would focus on how to create an enabling environment to support the drive for more revenue into government account.

"The drive for improve revenue generation will entail getting the scanners to work at the port.

"It will also require reforms that will help people change their negative attitude."

The CGC said that while misconduct and fraudulent practices would not be tolerated, he would make the system work, but not by sacking.

"We cannot sack everybody because we need people to do the job. My duty is to make the system work and not to sack," he said.

He said there was no doubt that some officers were corrupt elements in the system, but his overall impression was that the operatives were doing well.

On his choice of not appearing in public dressed in the customs uniform, Ali said it did not matter, so long as he worked satisfactorily on his mandate for the service.