The Nigeria Customs Service said a team comprising operatives of the intelligence unit has been set up to monitor and ensure compliance of the directive dismantling illegal checkpoints to avoid been abused by officers.
Customs Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah in a chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY at the weekend, said the team will go on an unscheduled visit to specific areas to monitor compliance and ‘any officer caught doing something contrary to the directive, will have him or herself to blame’.
“On the issue of compliance, the statement said Zonal Coordinators, Area Controllers and operatives of Customs Intelligent Unit are already under directive to ensure compliance. Besides that, the headquarters is also going to send a team to go on unscheduled visit to areas to also ensure that there is compliance.
“Officers of the intelligent unit are not those that will move conspicuously and come out to announce themselves. They will be going round and if they see anything like that, they will provide intelligence to the headquarters.
“Customs as a paramilitary agency don’t take the issue of compliance as an option. If a directive is given it is automatic that a customs officer obeys and keeps to it. It is not negotiable,” he said.
Attah explained that an aspect of the circular which stated that ‘Information patrol should not last more than 24 hours at any given time’ will be based on intelligence and will not in any way affect the duties of the anti smuggling units of the NCS to intercepts consignments with underpayment.
“The directive does not amount to scrapping Federal Operations Units. FOU remains an intervention force of the NCS especially for those who are not compliant and what to exploit the opportunity. FOU is there to intercept those who have beat checks at the border line. Our borders are so porous and there will always be people who will want to beat the system.
“Ease of doing business does not amount to given free passage to deviant. That is not the intention of government. The process of facilitating trade is to facilitate legitimate trade. So the FOU will continue to do their job as interventionist to the NCS. Where there is information that some individuals have beat the system, they will intervene and return back to base.
Talking about sustainability, Attah said “Every government directive is a focus of that particular government. “Sometimes, situations can lead to some strategic decisions even if it is temporary to deal with an emerging trend.