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NPA is responsible for transfer of overtime cargo to Ikorodu warehouse—-Customs

—–says it will cost N3 billion to evacuate 5000 overtime cargo at N600,000 each

Eyewitness reporter
Amidst mounting overtime cargo that dots the landscape of the Nigerian ports, the Nigeria Customs Service has declared that it was the responsibility of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to evacuate them to the Government warehouse at Ikorodu.
Making the assertion against the widespread belief that it was the duty of Customs to assume this role, the Apapa Area Command of the Customs, Comptroller Ibrahim Malanta Yusuf, said this was an erroneous impression as there are procedures to follow even before such evacuation could be done.
Comptroller Yusuf, who made this clarification on Friday in his office when he granted an audience to a group of journalists who paid him a courtesy visit,  also disclosed that evacuation of overtime cargo is pretty expensive as the process requires a lot in terms of logistics and financial commitment.
Recall that the Managing Director of NPA, Muhammed Bello- Koko, recently said there are over 5,000 overtime containers across the nation’s ports which are taking up space for new imports at the seaport terminals.

Bello- Koko, who spoke then during an interactive session organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Customs, had asked the Service to auction the overtime containers to decongest the nation’s seaports.

Cargoes are classified as overtime when they have stayed in the port for 28 days without the importer or clearing agent coming up to clear them and take delivery.

However, the Apapa customs boss declared that there are currently about 500 overtime containers including import and export at the Apapa port and it will cost an average of N600, 000 to move each of the containers from the port to Ikorodu – a cost which he said the command is not ready to bear.
By implications, therefore, it will cost a whopping sum of N3 billion to evacuate the estimated number of 5000 overtime cargo said to be at the ports, at N600, 000 each.

overtime cargo

Comptroller  Malanta explained that there are also laid down procedures for disposal of overtime cargoes that must be followed before they are auctioned to avoid litigation.

“Moving containers to Ikorodu terminal entails a lot of logistics and financial commitment.

“To take one container from here to Ikorodu will cost at least N600, 000 and above. Now if we are moving 500 containers to Ikorodu, how much will that translate into?
“However, we have a series of procedures before it comes to moving containers, and even moving containers to Ikorodu is the responsibility of the NPA, not Customs.

“Customs will make sure that they receive unclaimed cargo lists from the shipping companies and the terminal operators, then they will now examine those unclaimed cargo lists after the free storage period.

“After examination, they will leave it for a certain number of days for importers to come and claim their cargo. After the date expires, they will send it for gazetting by the court because of litigation, when the court gazettes it, it will now go for auction.

“After the auction, people will now go online to bid for the items. In most cases, those consignments that will find out that they are going to be outrightly seized and they are consumables, we give them to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through a presidential committee, not even Customs.

“So, these are the procedures, it is not that Customs will just come and start carrying overtime cargo and start dropping it at Ikorodu for auction.
“When they (NPA) concessioned the port, they forgot that there is Customs and therefore the government warehouse that used to exist where we keep cargoes is no longer there,” he said.

Meanwhile, Controller Malanta said the command generated over N87billion in the month of September adding that the command hopes to collect up to N100billion by year-end.

He attributed the revenue increase to measures instituted by the command when he assumed office nine months ago and increased the level of compliance by importers and their agents.

Part of the measures, according to him, is the deployment of officers with a high level of integrity to strategic units of the command and blocking of revenue loopholes.

He said, “When we come on board, we look at the structures on the ground, the type of officers we should post, and where you will post them. I know 80 percent of the officers either through interaction or through fora so I make sure that the officer I put in a place is an officer that has a high level of integrity. So, with that high level of integrity, I am sure, he would perform his work diligently. Then I tried to strategize based on that and look at the gap to identify loopholes and areas we need to amend.

“We started with the forensic manifest management system where we trail declaration through the manifest and we make sure that illicit importations are sieved out and those who want to circumvent through under-declaration of quantity, under declaration in terms of rate of duty through HS Code are also being tracked and revenue is recovered back with the penalty to serve as a deterrent.

“When they (importers/agents) saw that there was no hidden place, that is when I started getting compliance. So, with the compliance level I get, which has increased by over 40 percent, the more the revenue is also increasing.

“We also transform the challenges of the gridlock into opportunities through the use of barges to move containers and the use of the standard gauge line that is coming up has relieved the system of about 30 percent of containers going out of the port and that means the supply chain is moving.

” You hardly come to the gate and see any queue. Once we are releasing, cargo is going out and revenue is coming. These are some of the basic things we are doing,” he said.

Comptroller Malanta added that export through the Apapa port has also increased by over 25 percent within the review period.

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Customs gives importers of improperly imported vehicles soft landing

Wale Adeniyi, CGC
— announces 90-day window to pay import duties with 25 percent penalty
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has bent backward to give a soft landing to importers of vehicles whose vehicles were detained by the customs over improper documentation and undervaluation.
Acting on the Ministry of Finance’s instructions, the Customs has given a 90- day window for the vehicles under that category to pay the required customs duty in addition to a 25 percent penalty and take delivery of their consignments.
According to the statement by the service, those whose vehicles were seized and condemned will not enjoy this grace as they have forfeited their consignments to the Federal Government.
“All vehicle owners, Importers/Agents seeking to regularize import duties on their vehicles are required to apply to the Zonal Coordinators (Zones A, B, C, D) and CAC FCT Command.
“They must submit the necessary available documents and process Vreg in line with the Federal Ministry of Finance directives for the registration of imported motor vehicles.
“Valuation and assessment of the vehicles will be carried out using the VIN valuation method.
” Import Duty and a 25% penalty shall be paid in tandem with the import guidelines, procedures, and documentation requirements for used vehicles under the Destination Inspection Scheme in Nigeria (2013) and the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.
” Also, duty payments must be made using the Procedure Code specifically created for this exercise.
“This initiative reflects our unwavering commitment to facilitating compliance. We encourage all stakeholders to capitalize on this opportunity within the stipulated timeframe” the statement added.
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The giant stride of Comptroller Kolade as anti-smuggling czar 

The Eyewitness Reporter 

One year after Comptroller Kayode Kolade assumed office on the 25th January 2023 at the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service, it has not been business as usual for economic saboteurs who ply the Eastern region to perpetuate their enterprise.

The FOU Zone C in Port Harcourt is the South East and South South Region including Bayelsa, Port Harcourt 1 and 2, Edo, Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.

Compt Kolade was enlisted into the Superintendent Cadre of the Nigeria Customs Service in 1989, making tremendous progress by rising recently to the rank of Comptroller of Customs in 2024.

He has worked in various Customs Formations in different capacities.

 To mention but just a few, he was DC in charge of the SIFAX bonded terminal in Apapa Port, he was D/C B1 Tincan Island Port, a position he occupied before he got appointed as the Acting Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone C Owerri-based on his track records in revenue and anti-smuggling exploits.

He was also the Coordinator of, the Joint Border Patrol Team, Code-named: Border Drill Sector 1 Port Harcourt in 2018. Earlier in his career path, he has worked at Seme Border, KLT, FOU A and Headquarters respectively

Kayode Kolade was appointed to pilot the affairs of the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ Owerri since January 2023 where his giant record speaks volumes.

Under the cerebral anti-smuggling czar, the Federal Operations Unit FOU, Zone “C” seized goods worth over N 5 billion in the total Duty Paid Value (DPV) category in the 2023 fiscal year.

Some of the items seized were pangolin scales, foreign parboiled rice, cannabis sativa (AKA Indian hemp), fake pharmaceutical products, tramadol, used vehicles, used tyres, used clothing and explosive raw materials among others.

As a result of the interventions of officers of the zone under Comptroller Kolade’s watch in checkmating the activities of fraudulent agents at the seaports, lots of revenues, hitherto lost, amounting to over N152 million were recovered.

Within the first three months of his resumption at Zone C, Comptroller Kolade dealt the first blow on smugglers with the interception of contraband goods valued at N2.8 billion between January 25 and March 25.

The unit under his watch also arrested 13 suspected smugglers during the period.The value of the goods intercepted was N2.7 billion, while the balance of N61.4 million was for demand notices the command raised based on some infractions.

The seized items include five sacks of pangolin scales, 398 sacks of Indian hemp, weighing 8,756kg and another 2,308 compressed parcels of Indian hemp of 1kg each.

The five sacks of pangolin scales weighing 413.1kg and the 11,064kg of Indian hemp are the highest if not arguably the first seizure of such endangered species and hard drugs in the history of the zone.

Other seizures were 2,600 bottles of codeine-based cough syrup packed in 26 cartons, three exotic bulletproof vehicles, 931 jumbo bales of second-hand clothing and 484 bags of smuggled rice.

Also intercepted were 31 cartons of various medicaments including tramadol; 32 jerry cans of petrol and 540 pieces of used tyres.

Between July 25 and September 23, 2023, the FOU Zone C dealt another major blow on smugglers with the interception of cannabis sativa, raw materials for the production of explosive devices, as well as other contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.6 billion.The Zone also arrested nine suspects in connection with the seizures.

Eagle-eyed officers of the command also intercepted nine sacks of 50kg each of explosive materials namely fertilizer, device cables and superpower chemicals.

The Superpower 90 which was intercepted by the unit is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting

Other items seized include 1,329 bags of 50kg smuggled foreign rice; 417 sacks of cannabis sativa weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of the same substance totaling 627kg.

Also impounded are one unit of an armored bullion van, 761 jumbo bales of second-hand clothing, and 883 cartons of various.

 unregistered/expired medicaments, 192 packets of 225mg of tramadol, 100 cartons of wine, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres and 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato paste.

Meanwhile, freight forwarders operating in the maritime sector have commended the sagacity of Comptroller Kayode Kolade as a disciplined officer and a fine gentleman.

He has attended many courses as Nigeria Customs representative both locally and internationally, worthy of mention includes: INDIA trip courses on enforcement of Government Fiscal policy and Revenue, among others.

He is a recipient of many Awards in recognition of his outstanding achievements.

The most cherished is the commendation letter for outstanding performance in anti-smuggling operations from the former Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) in 2017 while he was the coordinator of CGC Strike Force Team Zone ‘C’ covering the South-South/South-East States.

He also received a lot of Merit Awards as Best Enforcement Officer at the various Customs formations where he worked from the media, too numerous to mention.

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Customs suspends officer, hands over to Police over alleged collection of N.5 million bribe from car buyer

The Eyewitness Reporter

The  Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘B’ of the Nigeria Customs Service based in Kaduna has apprehended an officer over his alleged involvement in a N500,000 bribery scandal.
The undisclosed officer, who is a member of the roving team of the FOU, Zone B, Kaduna, along Mokwa- Jebba road, Niger State, was said to have demanded and collected a gratification of the sum of N500,000 from one Mohammed Dahiru, a car buyer, for a favour.
Disclosing this to journalists while handing over the suspect to the Assistant Provost Marshal (APM) Customs Police Unit, Kaduna,
Comptroller of the units, Dalha Wada Chedi, said a full-scale investigation has been instituted to determine the extent of the culpability of the suspended officer.
Comptroller Chedi, while addressing newsmen in the premises of the Unit, confirmed that the suspected Officer involved in this unwholesome act is indeed an operative of the Unit deployed to Mokwa Patrol Team in Niger State, lamenting that the unfortunate incident occurred in the early hour of Thursday 22nd February 2024 as reported by the complainant.

“Upon hearing the alleged unfortunate incident, I directed the Customs Police Unit in the Zone that is responsible for enforcing discipline in the Service to apprehend the Officer and move him to the Unit’s Headquarters here in Kaduna for further interrogation.
“Also, the Complainant was invited to assist in the investigation as well”, disclosed the Comptroller.

He added that “The Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and his Management team frowned at such unruly behavior as such, the disciplinary committee will be diligent and firm.

” In fact, the Service is very pragmatic and practical in disciplinary cases and this one will not be an exception”.

Comptroller Chedi thereafter handed over the suspected Officer to the APM Customs Police Unit for further investigation.

 In his words, “The Officer is hereby handed over to the APM Customs Police Unit for discreet investigation and the findings of the investigation will be transmitted to NCS-HQ for further action by the Nigeria Customs Service Board as it is the only body that handles the appointment, promotions and discipline of all Senior Officers of the Service”.

“This unprofessional and ungodly act will not be condoned. A thorough investigation has just commenced,” concluded the irate Comptroller.

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