Chief Stephen Ibe, a top freight forwarding practitioner, has accused officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of operating majority of the licenses issued by the Service saying that eight out of every ten officers working at the ports owns a customs license.
Speaking recently in Lagos, Ibe said majority of the licenses issued by the Nigeria Customs Service were owned by Customs officers who procured the licenses through proxies.
He maintained that as a result, the customs officers were in the habit of frustrating jobs that did not come through them by issuing frivolous alerts.
He said, “If you don’t do your job through a Customs officer, they will frustrate that job by issuing frivolous alerts on the job. As I am talking to you now, there is no duty you pay in any consignment as far as the Nigerian ports are concerned that is okay.
According to him, “As a Customs agent, if you say you don’t want problem, let me pay my dues, pay any amount that is duty, you must be called by alert to go and do business with them and settle them before they remove that alert. Either they remove it or they will now issue a DN that you don’t know where it is coming from because this is not a regime where you will write a petition, the former Comptroller-General’s regime. If you cry up and down and don’t know what to do, you must go on a round table to discuss with them and settle them.
“So, the issue of Customs officers running a license is the main cause of corruption in the port. Most licenses in this industry are being owned by customs officers. If you go to Apapa port now and you meet ten Customs officers, eight of them are operating customs licenses.”