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Apapa Customs uncovers covert method to bring in banned items —-as command rakes in N159.5 billion in three months.

Eyewitness reporter
The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has uncovered a covert but ingenious method of some importers to bring in tramadol, a banned harmful substance.
The Area Comptroller of the command, Comptroller Yusuf Ibrahim Malanta disclosed that in an attempt to beat the dragnet of the customs officers and other security agents, the manufacturers of the illicit drugs, in active connivance with some fraudulent importers, now conceal the identity of the banned drugs under different names.
Malanta, while giving an account of his eventful and impactful performance of the command within the two months he took charge, said the illicit drug of tramadol now comes in different names of  Gebedol, Fakadol in an effort to beat the eagle-eyed security agents at the nation’s ports.
“They now call tramadol with different names such as Gebedol, fakadol and Royal. All these are classes of tramadol.

“You can imagine the extent that people can go to import things that can destroy fellow citizens. You can see the way the drugs are concealed. If not for intelligence, we won’t be able to see it. Making money should not be at the detriment of your fellow human being.

“They are all unregistered pharmaceutical drugs,  that is why they did not secure NAFDAC permit,” he revealed.

However, the command deployed the robust synergy it has created under Comptroller Malanta with other security agencies to detect and beat the importers of the illicit drugs to their game.
“With the synergy and information sharing with other government agencies, this kind of information can never pass through our eyes.
“We are profiling the importer if he has previously imported and be sure if there are others in the system,” he said.
According to him, all the importation are in breach of section 46, 47, and 161 of the Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004 and schedules 4 and 6 of the Common External Tariff.
Meanwhile, the command also grossed about N159.5 billion as import duties and other charges within the first quarter of the year.
In addition,  a total of 116 million metric tonnes of goods with a Free on Board (FOB) value of $109.6 million was exported through the Apapa port in the first quarter of 2021.

Comptroller Malanta disclosed that exports from the port were boosted by agricultural products such as cashew nuts, hibiscus, sesame seeds, and other mineral resources as well as soap, textiles, and noodles worth N41.5 billion.

The amount, he said, represented a 44.8 percent increase in duty collection compared to the revenue of N110 billion generated within the same period in 2020.

“The difference recorded was made possible because of robust stakeholders’ engagement, officers resolute in discharging their duties, and an increased level of compliance in the traders’ zone,” he said.

Speaking further, he said that the command made seizures of 28 containers of contrabands with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.8 billion.

He disclosed that the seized goods include unregistered pharmaceuticals such as tramadol, codeine, foreign parboiled rice, and used clothing among others.

He conducted journalists around the seized drugs in the company of the Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Apapa Special Area Command, Samuel Gazama.

The Customs boss added that the command has improved on its existing collaboration with other government agencies in the areas of information sharing and other areas that will further make it difficult for perpetrators of trade malpractice to succeed in the port.

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Customs

Performance of Apapa Customs scanning officers excites Comptroller Jaiyeoba

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Area Controller of Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba has lauded the uncompromising attitude of the officers of the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Unit (NIITU) which he said has been invaluable to the overall success of the command.
Comptroller Jaiyeoba, who was on an unscheduled visit to the scanner site, reminded the officers of the importance of teamwork as a strong basis to sustain the gains of compliance and revenue collection recently recorded by the command.
He thanked Deputy Comptroller Salamatu Atuluku, the Officer in charge of the scanning site and encouraged the unit not to be deterred by complaints coming from persons who were made to pay accurate duties to the government after issuance of demand notices
According to him, no business person who is made to part with money will be happy with officers who refused to compromise the ethics of their job
” The main reason for me coming here is to appreciate you. I may not see you but I have seen your work and I won’t keep quiet about what I have seen about your work.
“You are doing very well. I just want to encourage you to work as a team. If you don’t work as a team, you give room for outsiders to come in and when they come in, they divide you and when they divide you,  achieving success will be very difficult
” Do your work without blemish. Once you keep your arm straight, you can stand before anybody. Your work as a customs officer is to ensure that you do the correct thing
” For those of you doing an intervention in the form of Demand Notice(DN), there is no body who part with money that will be happy with you.
“They will want to play intelligent by hiding somewhere. When you fetch them from their hiding place, they become your enemy. Whatever they write about anybody here will still come down to me and if anybody works well, the onus on me is to defend such a person.
“Just have it at the back of your mind that you owe yourself the duty of doing your work diligently whether anyone comes around as a friend or enemy.
“It is not enough for you to rest. The reward for hard work is more work. These demands require sacrifice so that you can maintain the status” he said.
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Customs

Apapa Customs contributes 36.3 percent of N1. 347 trillion revenue generated by the Service  in three months

Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba
—– as the flagship command grosses N489b in Q1
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service has continued to live up to its status as the Customs’ cash cow as it garnered the sum of N489,614,095,022.15 in the first three months of the year.
The amount, which was 100 percent higher than the N212.5b collected in the corresponding period of 2023, was 36.3 percent of the total earnings of the service in the first quarter of 2024 which stands at N1, 347,675,608,972.75.
In a press statement signed by Abubakar Usman, the Chief Superintendent of Customs and the Public Relations officer of the command, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, commended the officers and port stakeholders for their cooperation towards the attainment of the laudable feat and called for sustained compliance by government and private sector stakeholders.
According to the statement, Comptroller Jaiyeoba reminded them that the Apapa Command of the NCS is playing a critical role towards the realisation of the N5.7tr annual target of the NCS in 2024 and as such all hands should be on deck to achieve it.
“The almost N 2 trillion target the command is expected to collect in 2024 is attainable through diligently abiding by the service books of instructions like the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, government import/export prohibition lists, Common External Tariff and Federal Government approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)” the Customs chief said.
While thanking the officers for their punctuality, diligence, and non-compromise in the discharge of their responsibilities, Jaiyeoba reminded them of the CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and Customs Management confidence vested in them.
The CAC reminded them that the present customs management has created room for multiple benefits for those who comply with the rules.
He stated that the recently launched AEO is one of such benefits.
Jaiyeoba described the command’s first quarter collection as a bold step towards the realisation of the target and reminded all port users about the importance of compliance, which, according to him, comes with multiple benefits.
“I want to urge all stakeholders in Apapa Port to keep supporting us in achieving an efficient system where everyone plays by the rules to achieve smoother, seamless, and faster import/export cargo clearance
“Making honest declaration puts the declarant at a vantage position to have a credible reputation and enjoy the benefits that come with earned integrity such as fast track and possible migration to the authorised economic operator(AEO)
” Such attitude of compliance saves time and money as examination officers would find the cargo less cumbersome to process and other units of the service including sister government organisations would not need to flag such cargo for seizure or arrest of the importers/exporters. The cargo gets cleared on time, and payments for penalties after demand notices are not necessary as no DN is issued on compliant import/export.
” I will continue my weekly engagement of stakeholders at various levels to sustain the tempo of our achievements and consolidate on the gains from regular enlightenment of every member of the port community.
“As we step into the second quarter to end the first half of 2024, I am convinced we will do better in revenue collection, facilitate more trade through our port and prevent smuggling under any guise,” the CAC said.
It is on record that the 2024 revenue target of the Apapa Customs put at about N2 trillion is 35.1 percent of the total revenue target of the whole service for the year put at N5. 7 trillion.
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Customs

Customs laments effects of fluctuation in exchange rates on operations, cargo volume

—praises efforts of Finance Minister to stabilise the market 
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has lamented the difficulties posed by the fluctuation in customs exchange rate to the clearance of consignments at the ports as well as its militating effects on cargo volume in the first quarter of the year.
Adewale Adeniyi, the Comptroller General of the Service, while giving the scorecard of the service in the last three months of the year, recounted the damage done to the confidence of the trading public as well as the repercussions of the unstable exchange rates.
According to him, the first quarter witnessed a total number of 28 rates as determined by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which governed the clearance of goods at the ports.
“Additionally, significant fluctuations in exchange rates applied in the customs clearance of consignments posed considerable difficulties.
“As per protocol, the exchange rate utilized by Customs in the clearance of goods via the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) is based on the rate determined by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“In the last quarter, a total of 28 rates were directed by the CBN, ranging from NGN 951.94 per USD 1 in January 2024 to a peak of NGN 1,662.35 per USD 1 in February 2024.
“While a singular exchange rate of NGN 951.94 per USD 1 was maintained in January, February witnessed 15 different spot rates ranging from NGN 951.94 per USD 1 to NGN 1,662.35 per USD 1.
” March saw a total of 13 different spot rates applied, ranging from NGN 1,303.84 to NGN 1,630.16. These fluctuations resulted in an average applied exchange rate of NGN 1,314.03 per USD 1 in the clearance of Customs goods during the quarter”
Adeniyi disclosed that the unstable rates, apart from disrupting the operations of the customs,  also have far-reaching consequences as they sent worrying signals to the market operators and the industry stakeholders.
“The repercussions of these fluctuating rates have sent concerning signals to our stakeholders, affecting and disrupting activities.
” Beyond the speculation regarding potential gains it may have on NCS revenue, the implications on transaction volumes are significant and outweigh any possible benefits.
“These concerns are already manifesting in current activities, with the potential for lagged effects in the coming months” the customs boss lamented.
He however praised the efforts of the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, whose support for the customs made the agency engage the CBN in periodic consultations that eventually restored sanity to the system.
“Mindful of these implications on the trading public and the overall economy, the NCS, with the support of the Honourable Minister of Finance, has initiated periodic consultations with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to mitigate the potential impact of exchange rate fluctuations on import activities.
” The relative stability in the past days can be attributed to the interventions of the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Governor of the CBN.
Adeniyi further rued the campaign of calumny launched against the service by those whom he described as malicious non-state actors to undermine the integrity of the agency.
He vowed that the service, under his leadership, is resolute in solving genuine, evidence-based complaints and observations but will not succumb to cheap blackmail.
“The NCS encountered non-operational challenges stemming from deliberate attempts by malicious actors to undermine the reputation of the Service.
” It is crucial to underscore that the NCS remains resolute in addressing genuine, evidence-based observations, as we have consistently done in the past.
” Constructive, fact-based criticisms channeled through appropriate means are always welcomed by the Service, as they keep us vigilant in fulfilling our commitment to the crucial responsibilities entrusted to us.
” Despite these challenges, we are steadfast in prioritizing transparency and accountability in all our operations, reaffirming our dedication to serving with integrity and excellence” he pledged.
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