The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) has described as illegal and unconstitutional, the presence and participation of the Comptroller General of Customs’ Strike Force in cargo examination at the ports.
Speaking exclusively to the Nigerian Tribune in Lagos, the National President of NCMDLCA, Lucky Amiwero, stated that the action contravenes the Kyoto convention of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the Fal convention of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which Nigeria is a signatory to.
According to Mr Amiwero, “The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) should focus on having scanners at the ports, because there is nowhere in the world that Customs authorities do 100 per cent examination of cargoes, not to talk of justifying it.
“There is no Customs organisation in the world that justifies 100 per cent examination by deploying Strike Force at the ports. By bringing in the CG Strike Force to the ports, what the Customs has just done is called ‘duplication of procedure’. It is not done anywhere in the world. Customs world over are under the WCO.
“Bringing in the Strike Force into the ports is a contravention of the Kyoto convention of the WCO. It is wrong to have multiple arms of the same agencies at the ports. It is against the Kyoto convention. The Fal and Kyoto conventions imply simplification, minimisation and harmonisation of port processes.
“Nigeria is a signatory to both conventions, yet we flout these conventions incessantly. The scanners are what Customs all over the world are using. However, if a nation does not have scanners, it is not enough reason for such nation to duplicate its procedure.
“These policies don’t make our ports friendly. Look at Nigeria’s indices as regards trading across border index – Nigeria is not faring any better. Is this how we hope to become the hub in the sub-region? Customs should go and harmonise their systems and do things right. ”
It will be recalled that the NCS, in a circular recently, ordered the presence of a CG Strike Force in cargo examination at the ports, and also to make seizures unhindered inside the ports.