The Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali has ordered the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ to release the over 40 trucks belonging to members of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), which were impounded with unprocessed wood exports they were conveying.
Disclosing this to journalists yesterday, Chairman of AMATO, Chief Remi Ogungbemi said the trucks were seized between October 2015 and February 2016 on their way to the port, carrying unprocessed wood which is under Customs export prohibition list.
Ogungbemi accused importers and clearing agents as being the cause of problems faced by truckers saying that most of them are dubious and unscrupulous because they fail to make proper declaration.
“Management of the Customs intervened, after findings and investigations, they discovered that truck drivers are not the shippers and the response from the drivers convinced them that the drivers were not involved. Out of their magnanimity they ordered the release of the trucks.
“Importers should declare correctly what is going out or coming into the country, they are the people giving us all these problems and not the Customs. They are not honest. If all the shippers can be honest, there would be no need for customs to arrest our members.
“Our members are suffering and falling victim of these because unscrupulous clearing agents will not tell Customs what they are exporting or importing. I am highly impressed that the management of Customs deemed it fit to send somebody from Abuja, the person came to brief and educate us on what and what we should be carrying,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ogungbemi has said that his association would soon introduce an indemnity form for its members, which will protect them when intercepted by Customs.
“Our members would not know which one is legitimate and which one is illegitimate this is why we have come up with an indemnity form which will contain all the information about the agent, the importer, the loading point and the agency name.
“This is to ensure that if our trucks are accosted, through the form the authority will know all the information about the cargo.
“Most times, truck drivers do not know the importers or the agents of the cargoes, but with the indemnity form they will know all information about the cargo they carry.
“We will go further to seek audience with the management of Customs for them to approve and authorize the form so that it would become a condition by which all trucks would be allowed into the port to load or discharge cargoes,” he said.
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