Clearing agents stone Customs boss at Lagos airport

There was pandemonium yesterday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos when clearing agents at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NACHO) Aviance clashed with officials of the MMIA command of the Nigeria Customs Service over alleged arbitrary charges on cargoes,

Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Airport Chapter, Alloy Igwe who spoke with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY said the clash was as a result of “operational disagreement with Customs officers” at the airport.

He said, “You know the way customs operate, they give ambiguous charges and some officers being where they are not supposed to be.”

A clearing agent, Seyi Damilola said trouble started when the Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Tajudeen Olanrewaju was pelted with stone by the aggrieved agents on his way to work yesterday morning.

“He (Olanrewaju) collected extra duties from agents. Imagine you pay three hundred thousand naira for duty on a small shipment of 90kg. Agents have been lamenting this issue for a long time but now they are tired so the best way they think is to show him a bit of life,” Damilola said.

The Customs Controller had following the development called for reinforcement from the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ who confronted the protesting agents.

It was gathered that the presence of the FOU operatives made the agents scamper for safety as they were said to have shot sporadically in the air. Some of the clearing agents were arrested.

“There was bullet sound everywhere and everyone were running helter skelter,” Damilola told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.

When contacted, Public Relations Officer of the Command, Thelma Williams said the agents wanted to gain access to restricted areas which according to her might lead to revenue leakage.

She however said the situation has been put under control.

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