SEME CUSTOMS BOSS DESCRIES ABSENCE OF EXAMINATION BAY, ACCOMMODATION
By Godfrey Bivbere
Customs Area Controller of Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Maitama Kura has decried the absence of examination bay at the Command. He said the absence of an examination bay is not only affecting smooth operations but also puts the lives of officers and men of the Service at risk.
Speaking with Vanguard in his office, Maitima noted that the present situation where officers and men of the Service had to conduct examination on imported goods along the road poses great risk.
The Customs boss explained that apart from the risk that officers are exposed to, the consignments are also not spared because anything can happen to them. He called on the contractors handling the examination bay project to speed up work to prevent carrying out the examination of goods on the roads.
While commending the Customs management for improved welfare and provision of necessary tools like patrol vehicles to make their work more effectively, the Customs helmsman however noted that the environment under which they are accommodated makes it difficult for full security control.
He noted that the Command is not in control of the building where the Service is accommodated presently, explaining that they can not replace even an electric bulb when it burns out but have to call officials of their host to change it.
He stressed the need for government to address the issue to enable the Service police the border more effectively in line with its import guideline.
The Customs Chief said that the absence of an examination bay and the global economic recession have affected the Seme Border Command in meeting its monthly revenue target.
He noted that 'The monthly revenue target set for the command is N500m but we were unable to make it because of the economic meltdown and lack of an examination bay at the border.' The Seme Command of the Customs had declared a revenue of N443.02m in August with about N6.6m realised from the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme.
Kura said that his men would continue to wage war against smuggling, promising that he would continue to work to meet the revenue target.
In the same vein, a freight forwarder operating at the border, Mr. Ade Komolafe, explained that the problem of the Command is that they are operating from foreign land with a lot of limitations among which are the ECOWAS building from where Nigeria security agencies operated is located on Beninoise soil and the aquatic nature of the terrain which limits the command's ability to reach some targets regarding anti-smuggling efforts.
Komolafe added that the nature of the wide-expansive border and coastline with the attendant difficulty of covering it, makes it difficult for the Customs to effectively cover the area. He called on government to urgently look into the present accommodation of the Service, if they most perform creditably to the benefit of the nation's economy and security.