SHIPS& PORTS DAILY gathered that, for the past three days, uneasy calm has pervaded the Command over an attack on the Deputy Comptroller in charge of Valuation at the Command by yet-to-be-identified Customs agents.
It was alleged that the affected officer, popularly known as Jack, after issuing values for vehicles still puts alert in the system for the vehicles not to be released, thereby referring it back to the Valuation Unit.
An executive member of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), PTML Capter, who pleaded anonymity, told SHIPS& PORTS DAILY that the aluation officer was allegedly in the habit of requesting for multiple kickbacks before issuing value assessment on vehicles scheduled for clearance.
“Even after being settled to issue the value the first time, this man still requests for another settlement,” the ANLCA member stated.
The agent said that the valuation officer’s alleged unquenchable appetite for kickbacks eventually pitched him against the agents who went on rampage.
Their action however drew the ire of other Customs officers who decided to down tools in solidarity with their colleague, who was beaten blue and black by the aggrieved agents.
It was learnt that the situation led to the invitation of personnel of the NCS Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘A’, who subsequently barred agents from gaining access into the Command to process the clearance of their consignments.
Activities, however, returned to normal yesterday evening following the intervention of the Comptroller-General of Customs, who directed his men to return to work while the matter is investigated.
Efforts to reach the Command Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent of Customs Steve Okonmah, for his comments on the issue proved abortive, as he did not respond to calls made to his mobile telephone.