The customs are equipped with all the necessary apparatus, including sophisticated arms and ammunitions to collect revenues and combat smuggling at the border posts, airports and seaport. So for them to go into the markets to apprehend goods is totally wrong. It is an admission of its own failure. The private user or the small petty traders they seize those goods from are not the importers, and do not know the dynamics of importation as well as the crimes associated with it. The customs need to put its house in order by motivating staff and encouraging customs agents to comply with the rules of the Service.
I do not think it is right. Customs officials especially the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) are meant to be at the border post and not on the highway nor in the city because it does not make clearance of goods look conducive as regards to trade facilitation. Once Customs clear goods at the port, it is safe to deliver to the importer which means it is free from any substandard or illegal issue but the goods are stopped on the highway. Their duty is at the port to aid trade facilitation; so that once goods leave the port it would go to the destination rather than being delayed on the road for another round of check. That is what I refer to as double-handling of the clearance of goods at the port and that is not welcome.
Yes. If Customs are to follow the Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) rule, it allows them to fully patrol within the territorial boundary of Nigeria for anti-smuggling activities and that means the officials are carrying out the mandate given to them by CEMA. The essence of patrolling is to scare anti-smuggling activities and if they decide to stop any vehicle based on information and intelligence, they have the right to check the container. Otherwise, the law which allowed them to patrol anywhere in Nigeria would have been breached. Nevertheless, Customs has to do all these with discretion. For instance, if a container has been duly existed from the port, and within 500km, officials are there arresting the same container that was properly cleared by customs officers in the port, then it is wrong.
No it is not right. There are three main duties performed by the Nigeria Customs Service which is national security, facilitation of trade and collection of revenue. Customs officials chasing smugglers within the city is an offence under the law. The question we need to ask ourselves is where were they when smugglers passed through the border with their goods? This means the officials have not been performing their statutory functions. Chasing within the city shows inability of Customs in the performance of their duty. The Comptroller-General of Customs need to pay attention to his operatives. Any official that is not stationed at the borders where they are positioned should be relieved off his duty. Although, there is no law that states that they cannot intercept goods on the road but that has not shown that they know what they are doing because the act says that Customs should stay 500km from the port which means they have the right to mount road blocks only within the interstate and not within Lagos.
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