By Richards Adeniyi
The Nigeria Customs Service is to fast track the process of auctioning seized goods through its electronic auction portals as a task force may soon be set up to facilitate the quick evacuation of overtime and seized cargoes away from the terminals.
The Comptroller-General, Hameed Ali, a retired army colonel, disclosed this in Lagos. after visiting the warehouses of the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’, Ikeja Lagos
He said the service would fast track the process of uploading seized vehicles to the electronic auction portals.
“I am discussing with the Deputy Comptroller-General in charge of enforcement and the Area Comptroller of F.O.U. Zone ‘A’. We will fast track the process and get (seized) cars auctioned.
“I have received a report about the warehouses but I came purposely with my officers to see for ourselves. I am also discussing with the controller that we need to set up task forces to clear all the seized items,” Ali said.
In an interview with National Daily, Ali said all seized items should be evacuated as quickly as possible, and that those condemned would be auctioned immediately.
The Customs boss urged states hosting Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) to evacuate food items to allocated to them.
According to him, the NCS is mandated by the Federal Government to give all seized perishable items to the IDPs, but regretted that even when allocations are made to states hosting IDPs, they are slow to evacuate them.
“All what the IDPs states are responsible for is to pay for the transportation of these items to their states and sometimes when you give people 50,000 bags of rice, it is a lot of money.
Hinting that states that fail to evacuate their allocations may forfeit them, Ali stated that, “Not that the states do not have the money for transportation but may be it is no longer their priority, We will go back and discuss with Mr. President and I am sure there are other people that need these rice.”
He also said his management had met with the Ambassador of Indian recently, to work towards signing a Memoroundum of Understanding (MoU) to enable Nigeria have timely information on all imports to Nigeria.
When the agreement was signed, it would be mandatory for Indian Customs to oblige Nigeria Customs with import information, and Nigeria would do the same.
The Customs boss said it had become mandatory for the intelligence units of the service to engage in 100 per cent examination of goods.
Recently, the Customs displayed 40 containers loaded with tramadol and other pharmaceutical products it intercepted worth N7.3 billion imported from India.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) also uncovered N340 million worth of Tramadol tablets in 12 containers at the Apapa port in Lagos last week.
The tablets, which were in various dosages ranging from 120 milligrammes to 250 milligrammes, were recovered from 12 containers at the Apapa port.
Also the Tin-Can Island Customs Command intercepted 13 containers of tramadol and other items with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3.13 billion.