Customs seize 15 containers of fake drugs in 2 months

•As Reps ask presidency to issue Executive Order to utilise part of Customs' revenue for port access road

The Acting Controller at the Federal Operations Unit, Mr Usman Yahaya has said that in the last two months, the command seized 15 containers of fake and expired drugs and other banned products in Lagos State on Friday.

He expressed grave concern over the activities of some erring importers at the port, as well as smugglers who he argued have adopted new tactics and have constantly threatened the lives of customers as a result of their refusal to do the right thing.

This was just as  House of Representatives urged President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an Executive Order for the utilisation of part of the revenue generated by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to carry out repairs on the access roads leading to the port with the view to enhance non-oil revenue.

Chairman of the House Technical Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Leke Abejide who gave the charge during an oversight function to Customs formations in Lagos State argued that Nigeria is losing a lot of revenue to the lack of access roads to the ports.

He said if the roads to the port are constructed, the nation will have no reason to take a foreign loan to finance its annual budget as the money required would be generated from the ports.

While expressing displeasure over the state of affairs in  Customs formation within the Lagos area, the lawmaker decried the lack of facilities by the various Customs formations in Lagos, adding that if properly equipped the service can generate most of the money needed to fund the country’s annual budget.

Hon. Abejide who reiterated the Committee’s resolve to assist the Service to improve revenue generation lamented that despite successes recorded by various commands on improved revenue generation, a lot is still being lost to congestion.

He said there was no need keeping the Presidential Task Force put in place to decongest the roads leading to the ports, saying the task force has failed to achieve the purpose for which it was put in place.

He said with the various Commands in the area generating about N100 billion monthly, it will not be out of place to issue an executive order to use one-month revenue of the Customs to repair the roads saying “how much will these roads cost to construct. I am not sure the roads will cost more than N100 million to construct.

“Even if the amount is more than, we can dedicate three months revenue to construct these roads once and for all since doing that will enhance our Revenue generation.”

In her remarks, the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs in charge of Zone A, Kathleen Ekekezie said officers and men of the Service were ready to work for the interest of the country and generate more revenue, but lack of facilities and lack of an encouraging working environment was hindering their performances.

She complained about the activities of terminal operators and shipping companies whom she said are milking Nigerians dry and making them pay for delayed clearance of containers in the port.

While urging the present administration to revisit the issue of concessioning of terminals and government warehouses at the port, the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs argued that “when the terminals were concessioned, we were not consulted.”

She also frowned at the spate of abandoned containers being imported into the country, against the usual practice of leaving the country with the empty containers after discharging their content.

She also complained of access roads for officers of the service work in the port to access their offices, saying some Customs Officers have died in an attempt to get to the office.

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