Customs release seized licenses to clearing agents

Customs release seized licenses to clearing agents
Tony Iju Nwabunike

The Nigeria Customs Service has released about 80 percent of clearing licenses seized from members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA).

President of ANLCA, Tony Iju Nwabunike who disclosed this in Lagos last week said the association is not resting on its oars in ensuring that it secures full release of all seized licenses belonging to its members as the association and the Customs management now enjoy a more cordial relationship.

Recall that 300 licenses belonging to members of ANLCA including that of the President were reportedly suspended for allegedly being hacked and used to smuggle vehicles out of the port.

According to Nwabunike, “Almost 80 percent of our seized licenses have been released, and I am very sure that the Comptroller General of Customs after scrutinizing the remaining ones will release the rest of them. He is actually doing well. This time around, the CG is interacting with us and our relationship with Customs is becoming more cordial. The issue is very clear, the problems at the port are very enormous and we are taking them one after another.

“Don’t forget that I have not been around because I went for elections, and this time around, they are very willing to work with us, because what Customs really need is a practical and genuine reason why they must work with you, and if you do that, they are ready to work with you.

“What we are also trying to do now is to streamline the units at the port so that we would not have multiplicity of units in the port. If for example, it is necessary, we would now let them know the areas it is affecting us, we talk about it like husband and wife.”

Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone ‘A’ of the NCS, Assistant Comptroller General (ACG) Kaycee Ekekezie who visited ANLCA secretariat recently advised licensed customs agents to always change their password codes immediately they are given by the Customs.

According to her, 70 percent of the cases of password hacking were successfully carried out on default passwords.

“Those fraudsters hacking your password are there at Nnewi Building, you better be careful. Another thing is that you might be shocked that it is your boys that are doing this thing. It is true that we have minimized it to a certain extent, but going to the public DTI is what has affected most of you.

“You will see somebody who has not even utilised his DTI for once; it is the system that generates the code of your password. Once the password is given, you need to go back and change it, the same way you change the password of your ATM, when you go to a bank and collect an ATM, when you step out, you have to change it, if not, it would remain a default. 70 percent of the cases we have treated were committed on default password.

“If you come to us to complain that your password was hacked to clear a vehicle, you become our first suspect, you are the one we gave the password and you must prove to us that you did not intentionally give it out,” she warned.