By NBF News

… as cargo release password stalls operations
By Godfrey Bivbere, Sarah Moshe & Vivian Nwokedi
LAGOS - Congestion looms at Lagos ports, following the inability of the senior officers assigned by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, to assess the password for release of consignments from the ports, claiming that they do not have the password.

Vanguard gathered that the Customs management had restricted the password to officers of the rank of Assistant Controllers, ACs, and Deputy Controllers, DCs, in its bid to block revenue leakages and check clearance of prohibited goods.

However, at one of the ports in Lagos, a DC, who was suppose to have the password told agents he did not have it and sent them to the office of the Public Relations Officer, PRO.

Three agents, who visited one of the ports in Lagos to clear the goods of their principles, were  tossed between the terminals, where their goods are, the office of the PRO and the office of the Customs Area Controller, CAC.

President of the Lagos Chamber Commence and Industry, LCCI, Julie Ogboru, confirmed to Vanguard that as at last week, there was actually one of the senior officers at the Tin-Can Island port but noted that after discussion with the CAC, the situation had changed.

Meanwhile, the Customs management has described the planned strike by some agents as cheap blackmail  aimed at preventing the Service from performing its duty.

A statement by Joseph Attah, Deputy Public Relations Officer of the NCS, said: 'We are aware that the real reason for this blackmail is the management decision to restrict the power of release to officers of higher ranks, Assistant Comptrollers and Deputy Comptrollers as against relatively junior officers who were in charge on till now.'

…Customs commended for anti-smuggling activities
By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS - THE Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has been commended for its anti-smuggling activities and revenue drive in the past one year. Managing Director of Destiny Shipping 39 Limited, Mr. Peter Amaechi, gave this commendation in Lagos, yesterday.

Amaechi described seizures and revenue boost in all Customs Commands in the country as an indication that the service has changed for the better as a result of the persistent call by its Comptroller-General, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko.

'This is an indication that the service has been completely transformed due to the campaign for attitudinal change by Dikko,' he said.

He also observed that Customs was winning the war against smuggling at the ports and border posts, explaining that  since public officers are criticised when they do something wrong, they should also be commended when they performed creditably well.

'Alhaji Dikko has done wonderfully well since he became the Comptroller-General of the Customs Service,' he said.

… as Customs intercepts N58m worth of fake drugs
LAGOS-  The Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Ikeja of the Nigerian Customs Service has intercepted a container loaded with fake drugs worth N58 million and other contraband items.

The Command also intercepted 200 pieces of fairly used tyres concealed in a truck load of manufacturing chemicals.

Conducting newsmen around the seizures, the acting Area Comptroller of the Command, Mr. Victor Dimka, siad that the drugs had no NAFDAC number and not good for human consumption.

He condemned the attitude of the smugglers, saying that it destroys the nation's economy.

Dimka said: 'It is wickedness for someone to bring in drugs that are not certified by NAFDAC into the country and these drugs would be administered on people who  are sick. These smugglers are not relenting and we will not allow them to destroy us all.'

The Customs chief gave the break down of the seizures to include female hand bags, traveling bags, cosmetics, pirated video cassettes, men clothing,  which he said their Duty Paid Value is yet to be ascertain.

He enjoined Nigerians to furnish the Customs with information about smugglers and their deadly activities to enable them track down the smugglers.