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.