Exporters of perishable goods /vegetables have condemned the shutting down of the Export Unit at the Lagos international airport by officials of the Federal Operations Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service.
They said the shutting down has led to loss of revenue.
The exporters alleged that Customs would have acted following a tip off about some unscrupulous Chinese who were exporting donkey skin through Emirates Airline.
Confirming the incident, Captain John Okakpu Chief Executive Officer, ABX World, described the exporters frustrations as unquantifiable, saying they have already lost millions of Naira following the Customs action.
He said Customs ought to have carried out a thorough investigation before shutting down all export businesses at the Lagos Airport.
Capt. John said the action negates Federal Government’s agricultural road map which was launched by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Monday.
He said, “We have even contacted the Nigrian Export Promotion Council and they are outraged. This is counter productive. You don’t shut down the whole export unit because some people are suspected to be engaged in illegal business.
“What happens to the perishable items that ought to be exported since Monday? Who pays for the millions lost? Is this how to promote economic development in the country? We are telling the whole country to know that Customs has done something very anti-agric and economic growth,” he stated.
In a swift reaction, an official of the Nigerian Customs Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command, said the closure was sequel to information, the service received concerning some prohibited items .
The official who pleaded not be named, said Customs operatives have been stationed at the export unit to investigate the tip off it received on the status of the items.
The official said it would amount to deriliction of duty if such information was treated with levity .
The official said, “ I can confirm to you that our operatives have shut down the facility . This is to enable us carry out a thorogh investigations on the information we got. Our men are still stationed there to ensure that we get to the root of the matter.”
Meanwhile, the ground handling companies, the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc and Skyways Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL), have kicked against the closure of the export unit.