‘How to checkmate illicit trade at Nigerian borders, ports’

Segun Musa, NAGAFF


Apparently irked by the influx of fire arms and other dangerous materials into the country, Freight Forwarders under the aegis of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), have chart a path to better security operations at the nation’s borders and seaports.

The Group in an open letter to the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, said the promotion of free flow of trade around the world entails that national governments must devise means of adopting an inclusive approach to the protection of their borders from unscrupulous and unpatriotic groups and individuals.

The letter signed by its Secretary General, Dipo Olayoku, urged government security agencies and stakeholders to collaborate in the fight against illicit trade through responsible partnership.

It added that: “Customs and other regulatory agencies operating at all the approved entry points should be equipped with modern devices that could detect offensive materials and illegal substances i.e. immobile and mobile scanners.”

The group also called for the acceleration and implementation of Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) as a very critical tool to enable transparent manifest history.

According to Olayoku, government must also sanitise the cargo clearance process and customs licensing regulation and ensure that declarant for Customs purposes shall be a natural person, as this shall enable integrity of declarant to serve as a barrier to revenue fraud.

NAGAFF also suggested the “Review the use of form ‘M’ for imports into Nigeria – import permit is preferable; and provision of facilities for pre-scanning of cargo at the seaside during the discharge from vessels, to reduce the dwell time of cargo at the ports. They also called for the revival of the selectivity profiling mode of the ASYCUDA for reliability, and transparent implementation of the ISPS Code on advance cargo manifest initiative from the country of origin to destination before the arrival of the vessel.

“Nigeria defence attaches at the countries of exportation are strategic to ensure due process and compliance; enact legislations that are in consonance with the current global trend in trade practices such as borderless customs. Review the activities of the shipping lines. All carriers must be liable for the importation of offensive items in accordance with extant laws and regulations,” it stated.

The letter also harped on intelligence planning, control and coordination and monitoring by the office of the National Secretary Adviser (NSA), comprising the Armed Forces, Police, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Immigration Service, DSS, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and filing reports on every manifest and profiling.

It added that organisational framework, and or platform for Nigerian shippers must be informed and educated on matters relating to import and export regulations, while a comprehensive implementation of destination inspection regime must be ensured by the Customs.

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