Customs seals off SAHCOL, NAHCO warehouses at MMIA

By The Rainbow

The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Services ( NCS ) Dikko  Inde Abdullahi on Wednesday  approved the closure of two cargo warehouses.

The two warehouses belonging to the Skyways Aviation Handling Company Limited ( SAHCOL), and the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company  (NAHCO) were closed due to their inability to keep proper records of good's inflow and outflow in their warehouses.

Specifically, their were unable to explain exit of goods  without proper documentation; inability to produce customs release   documentation and evidence of payment of import duty and other statutory charges by the companies .

The  public relations officer of the Airport Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mrs Thelma Williams, said the action  was a follow up to series of meetings between the Customs Area Comptroller Mohammed Dahiru Umar with all Stakeholders, including cargo agents and freight forwarders association.

She said the command acted on the approval of the comptroller general in line with the statutory powers conferred on the Nigeria Customs Service as provided under  sections 145(1) (b) and 5 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP C45 LFN 2004, (as amended) and other extant regulations.

Williams cited others reasons for the closure of the warehouses to include: Non-compliance with Customs procedure and the attendant loss of revenue accruable to the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as its National Security implications.

She said: “The refusal of the companies to comply has brought about Un-conducive working environment in these warehouses which militates against Officers and Men of the Command discharging their statutory duties effectively.

'Upon the aforementioned contraventions, the Area Command has no other option than to invoke the provisions of Sections 88,96, and 98 (4) (b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP C45 LFN 2004 (as amended) and other extant regulations and SEAL UP the Warehouses to ensure and enforce compliance.”

Meanwhile, officials of both companies said they were still in discussions with the Nigeria Customs Service on how to resolve the matter.

Reacting to the closure of its customs bonded warehouse, NAHCO said it was an exercise carried out by the customs to sanitise operations at the airport , and that it will ultimately improve service delivery as well as block all revenue leakage.

A statement issued by its head of corporate communications, Mr Adesanya Onayoade said : ” This is to inform our stakeholders, especially our esteemed customers that the Nigeria Customs Service has temporarily closed the Customs Bonded warehouse at the Nahco Complex to enable a sanitization exercise that will ultimately improve service delivery and block all revenue leakage.

'The Management of Nahco is already in consultations to ensure among others . Sterile areas in the warehouse are restricted to unauthorized people. Only licensed customs agents with access cards are allowed in the warehouse. All forms of touting are eliminated around the Nahco cargo complex.

'Men of the Customs Service are given all support to ensure full compliance with cargo clearing process in the warehouse. All accredited government agencies are given adequate support to ensure security and safety.

'We assure all stakeholders that by the time the warehouse is reopened, there will be seamless service delivery, adequate security and less crowd and full compliance with payment of duties by licensed customs agents.”