Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, has criticized the recent protest by clearing agents over the involvement of Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU) officers in cargo clearance.
Clearing agents operating at Apapa Port had last Thursday protested against the involvement of Customs Intelligent Unit (CIU) in the examination of containers.
The protest came on the heels of a recent circular issued by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) management directing that CIU officers must operate outside the terminal but may participate in the physical examination of consignments.
But in an chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY yesterday, Aniebonam said that the agents who protested against the involvement of CIU officers in container examination overstepped their bounds.
He said: “We must have limit to our agitation. We must have bounds as to what we do. The Customs is a paramilitary organization. And military organizations like policy and the Army have their intelligence units so like Customs has CIU as their own intelligence outfit and we should have limit to what we do or what we seek to do.”
Aniebonam said that Customs Comptroller General, Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi’s directive that CIU officers should operate outside the ports does not mean that these officers have been banned from participating in the process of container examination.
He said: “Some of the CIU officers were invited to Ikeja when the CG visited and thereafter he dissolved them completely by way of ordering that they should leave the ports and operate from the Zonal office. In other words what he had tried to do is to go into professional standards whereby the intelligence unit of Customs go to the examination bay, observe the examination, take information they need, do their write-up and inform the Area Controller in that regards if there is any need to do so.
“For us to agitate that they should not participate in examination; that is asking for too much and we are crossing our bounds and I believe that NAGAFF members should not be part of that,” the NAGAFF founder stated.
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