Lawmakers move to curb excesses of Customs

Reps propose ban on fish importation in two years

The House of Representatives on Thursday mandated its Committee on Customs and Excise to conduct an investigation into the activities of the personnel of the service in different parts of the country.

This was sequel to a motion under matters of urgent national importance by Aliyu Madaki (Kano-APC) and two other members “on the illegal activities of personnel of the Nigerian Custom Service (NCS)”.

Madaki, while moving the motion, said the mandate of the Service was preventing the importation of illegal goods into the country.

He decried the situations Customs officials seize goods and commodities under the pretense of collecting custom duties.

He expressed concern that the continuous interference and harassment of local traders by NCS personnel would hamper the legitimate business of buying and selling of goods from popular markets in Nigeria.

The lawmaker stressed the need for personnel of the service to pay attention to activities of smugglers of goods instead.

“Instead of making sure that goods are not smuggled into Nigeria or ensuring that duties are paid on imported goods, custom officer are harassing local petty traders asking for customs duty.

“How can you ask for custom duty from someone who buys goods from another seller within the country?

“What business does a man who went to Kano to by textiles have of paying customs duties? This type of arithmetic where NCS declares huge profit but chases people out of business should be discouraged,” Madaki said.

In his contribution, Aminu Suleiman (Kano-APC), lamented the development and warned that it was capable of running people out of business and jobs.

“Places like Kano are known primarily for commercial activities but a situation whereby personnel of customs intimidate business owners is wrong.

“We are saying government can’t provide jobs for everybody yet we are sending people packing from their means of livelihood.

“Nigerians should be encouraged to be enterprising instead of creating more problems for them. NCS should carry out its operations with human face and go after the real bad guys.” 

The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.

The House therefore, urged the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali to direct the personnel of the service to forthwith stop the illegal seizures.

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