To stop Custom officers from doing the work of clearing agents is to engage them and the way to engage them is by training and retraining of Nigerian Customs because most of them have forgotten what their proper job is and I think professionalism is the key. The three functions of Customs is national security; generate revenue and facilitation of trade. Most of them don’t know what these functions are all about. Custom officers should understand what they are doing and not taking the license of an importer and carrying documents all about. They should allow agents do their job. The government need to put down strict measures that will debar them from derailing. Anyone caught doing the work of agents should be arrested and persecuted.
The job of clearing agents is purely professional. Just like Customs are public servants, they are not in any way to perform the role of agents. I feel the way to stop the Customs is by checkmating any activity that has happened in the past. When you see a Custom officer carrying a circular moving from one table to another, one is meant to ask him where is the clearing agent, the best thing to do is to is to ask for a circular sent from the headquarters telling them not to accept it and before you know, fears will be instilled in them because people go scot free in Nigeria even when they are guilty and that is why they are doing the work of agents and is not meant to be. A Customs man doing the work of clearing agent will be involved in excluding facts. They won’t pay the whole money meant for the duty charge given to the government and also there should be a law that no custom officer should do jobs outside the role and function they are assigned to and if caught should be dealt with severely.
It is very unethical for Customs doing the work of clearing agents; they are salary earners and civil servants. Any custom officer found doing that should be detained with enforcement for doing the wrong thing.
I think the Nigeria Customs Service has a department called Servicom, just like it is in other parastatals in the maritime industry. There could be a report sent to Customs servicom and the officers should be properly checkmated because it is useless when you see officers renewing license for agents everywhere and at the end of the day, same officers are doing the job. The report needs to be made as fast as possible and the officers should be monitored quickly so that all these complaints going on can be stopped and people should be made to understand their roles in the mix.
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