IDPs: Customs Boss Urges States to Evacuate Food Items, Others as Quickly as Possible
CG Customs, Col. Hameed Ali
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali, on Monday, urged states hosting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to evacuate food items allocated to them.
Ali made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after visiting the warehouses of the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘A’, Ikeja Lagos.
According to him, the NCS is mandated by the Federal Government to give all seized perishable items to the IDPs, but that even when allocations are made to states hosting IDPs, they are slow to evacuate them.
“All what the IDP 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. 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,” said Ali.
The Comptroller-General also 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 the cars auctioned. I have received a report about the warehouses but I came purposely with my officers to see for ourselves. I am discussing with the controller that we need to set up task forces to clear all the seized items,” Ali said.
He said seized items should be evacuated as quickly as possible, and that those condemned would be auctioned immediately. Ali, however, urged smugglers to desist from the criminal acts, noting that the service was collaborating with the courts to speed up the prosecution process.
He also said his management had met with the Ambassador of Indian last week, to work towards signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable Nigeria have timely information on all imports to Nigeria.
Ali said once 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.
The service on Thursday displayed 40 containers loaded with tramadol and other pharmaceutical products 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. On Friday the Tin-Can Island Customs Command intercepted 13 containers of tramadol and other items with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N3.13 billion