For the first time, a customs agent has spoken favourably of the Customs Deputy Comptroller (DC) in charge of Terminal B of the Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), Jane Shoboiki, describing allegations of highhandedness and extortion against her as spurious.
Secretary, Tin Can Island Port chapter of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Chuks David Kanikwu, in a recent chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, said that most of the allegations levelled against Shoboiki turned out to be false as discovered by the leadership of the chapter when it confronted the embattled officer.
He said: “Some of these claims from our people are spurious because as a leader in this chapter we have had cases where we went to intervene on some reports brought to us and we had to come back with our face covered in shame because what the people said was not what transpired.”
“One pathetic case was of an agent who came and said that somebody was requesting for money on behalf of the DC (Shoboiki) and when we went there we saw that the person the agent said met the DC has not even seen that DC for once. He was just using her name to extort his importer. I intervened in that particular case and at the end the agent was ashamed. Some of them might not have entered her office to discuss anything but they go outside to say so,” Kanikwu explained.
He said that the complaints against Shoboiki are “over bloated” even as he pointed out they do not emanate from genuine agents.
“When an importer engages a so-called agent who does not know his ropes within the command and end up going through intermediaries who might actually come back to feed him with spurious claims which might not have emanated from the DC. A lot of us in this industry drink panadol for another person’s headache,” he stated.
He cited examples of imports of falsely declared and prohibited items which, according to him, Shoboiki will not overlook, and will justifiably penalize for.
“An importer can give you a consignment that has only three or four vehicles but inside it might be offensive items and when she refuses to release such items they will say she is highhanded. For example, you know the havoc used tyres cause on our roads. Will you expect her to release used tyres? How can a person declare more than 50 cartons of groundnut oil for personal use? Some of these things are offensive and when she refuses they find means to tarnish her image,” he said.
The ANLCA Tin Can chapter scribe said that Shoboiki is “only doing her job” while warding off further complaints against her.
“We are tired of going to her only to find out that we are at fault; he who goes to equity goes with clean hands,” he said.