Customs laud media reports on anti-smuggling activities

By David Adekunle, Lagos

The Nigerian Customs Service has urged the media to support the service in sensitising the public, especially the border communities, not to connive with smugglers.

The Area Controller, Nigeria Customs Service-NCS, Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Ikeja, Comptroller Mohammed Umar commended the media for regular dissemination of information on anti-smuggling activities of the service.

Umar told journalists in Lagos that the media had been able to educate the public on the dangers of smuggling and its negative effects on the economy.

He said that the service usually released information to the media as at when due.

“Customs and maritime reporters have symbiotic relationship,’’ Umar said.

Balanced information
He urged the media to keep on publicising the laudable achievements of officers and men of the service.

“I am not saying that we do not have bad eggs among officers; balance your reports and also appreciate us when the need be,” he said.

He stated that there was no way Customs officers could extort money from importers or agents nowadays because cargo clearance had become digital.

Umar stressed that before now, when cargo clearance was operated by analogue, the system encouraged human interface which aggravated corruption.

The controller, however, observed that terminal operators had not been releasing their revenue reports.

Umar advised agents and shippers (importers and exporters) to always make honest declaration to assist government achieve the 48-hour cargo clearance target.

He added that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Colonel Hameed Ali, had warned that any officer caught extorting money from agents or shippers would be punished accordingly.