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Scanners failure stacks hundreds of trucks at Seme Customs Command

Though the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise two days ago reminded terminal operators to provide Customs with scanners, the failure of the fixed scanner at Seme Border to work at its installed capacity has resulted to slow pace of trading activities at Nigeria’s busiest land frontier with Benin Republic.

Only yesterday, reports say over 80 trucks and other smaller vehicles laden with various goods due for scanning to ascertain their contents are held up in queues at both the Nigerian side and Atlas Park inside Benin Republic, investigation reveals.

Operators and businessmen and women at the border decried the challenge, saying the scanner crisis has been the major challenge of the Seme border Customs Command.

A Customs agent who simply gave his name as Uzoka said “This development slows down customs revenue collection as the epileptic state of the scanner always result in only few consignments being scanned and assessed for the purpose of revenue collection and preventing smuggling through detection of possible concealment.

He said “Most of the trucks in the Atlas Park were not allowed out as the queues might cause a disruption in the flow of vehicular traffic. The situation is further worsened by lack of a parking bay due to slow pace of ongoing construction by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU).

“Many trucks had to stay on queues for about six hours while operatives of Nigeria Customs Service deployed to work at the scanning point tried to fix the problem.

Investigations further revealed that the scanner which was procured by Globalscan Systems Technology Limited and later handed over to Nigeria Customs Service at the expiration of a contract between the service provider and Federal Ministry of Finance has not been meeting up users expectations.

But in response, the Commands Public relations Officer, Mr. Taupyen Selchang said the commands average monthly revenue collection at Seme has been N1.2bn.

Selchang said the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command; Victor Dimka has embarked of several visits to the scanner site with other senior officers with a view to resolving the crises.

He agreed that “My CAC and other management officers of the command are seriously working to resolve the issue. We shall ensure trade is not hampered within the limit of our logistics and manpower.

”The CAC spends good time at the scanning site monitoring degree of progress made and ensuring that no importation into Nigeria through our border circumvents the law while hiding under the challenging situation. He also visited the site at the close of work to monitor progress being made so far”