Nigeria Customs Service, Area II Command, Onne Rivers State has assured the public of their determination to reduce to the barest minimum the menace of smuggling in unwholesome goods into the country.
Comptroller Auwal Mohammed, the command’s area controller gave the assurance last Wednesday while addressing members of the Business and Maritime Writers’ Association of Nigeria (BUMWAN) who paid him a courtesy visit in his office at Onne, Rivers State.
Compt. Mohammed also disclosed that the command’s revenue generation rose to 19.8 billion Naira in the month of October only, a feat that had not been recorded since the creation of the command.
According to the Customs Area Controller, CAC, they were able to record such achievement because of their doggedness and unalloyed commitment to suppress smuggling activities, facilitate trade and generate revenue through due process in compliance with Federal Government’s fiscal policy.
He noted that even though it is difficult to eradicate smuggling completely in the whole world, the command is determined to suppress the activities and reduce it to the barest minimum.
‘No country is able to stop smuggling but what we do is to suppress it and reduce it to the barest minimum because no matter how smart we are, together with other agencies, the more we employ new ways of blocking ways of smuggling, the more they also improve on their tactics of bringing these contraband goods into the country”, he said.
In terms of substandard goods flooding some Nigerian markets, the Customs boss pointed out that the responsibility of controlling the quality of goods coming into the country lies on the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) who he believes are doing their job very well, adding “any item, no matter how substandard, as long as it is not listed among the contraband, we Customs cannot detect whether it’s substandard or not”.
He, however maintained that even though there is division of labor, all of them work in synergy to rid the country of unwholesome goods, stressing that since they cannot raid all Nigerian markets, judging from the size of the country and to avoid casualty as a result of the raid, they look for the source the goods come from and block the leakage so that there are no more influx of such goods.
On their challenges as a command, Compt. Mohammed said the major challenge they are facing right now is the deplorable state of the East West road that connects the command to other parts of the country, especially the Onne/Eleme axis of the road, which delays movement of containers in and out of the state.
The CAC also used the opportunity to commend journalists on their job as the watchdogs of the society and enjoined them to always balance their stories to ensure good reportage.
“You know that those doing illegal businesses at the ports will not be happy with us and they will stop at nothing in tarnishing our image, so if they come to you with a complaint, try as much as possible to clarify the information before going to press. Don’t allow anyone to use you to tarnish our image”, he implored.
Earlier, the national president of the Business and Maritime Writers’ Association of Nigeria (BUMWAN), Mr. Peter Ihejirika, while commending the command for the achievement so far made urged them to sustain the tempo particularly in the area of seamless trade facilitation, anti-smuggling activities and increase in export trade and revenue generation.
He said, “your fiscal policy compliance and anti-smuggling war at the ports have made Onne Port a restricted zone for smugglers who engage in an unwholesome trade, as the eagle eyes of your officers and men will definitely catch up with them”, while promising a balanced reportage from BUMWAN members.