The Tin Can Island port command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has intercepted eight containers loaded with 206,000 pieces of machetes, 145kg of Colorado (Indian hemp) concealed in 2 units of Ridgeline trucks and other contraband items worth 1.048billion in the first quarter of 2022.
Controller of the command, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede while showcasing the seizures to newsmen at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos on Wednesday said the machetes valued at N1.2billion were imported into the country from Ghana.
He explained that while the machetes do not fall under the prohibition list, they were, however, impounded because of the failure of the importer to present an End User Certificate from the office of National Security Adviser (NSA).
The Customs boss who expressed concern over the importation of such large quantities of machetes said it poses great risk to the security of Nigerians.
“Machetes/cutlasses need an End User Certificate. You can imagine these machetes are on Ecowas Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) coming from Ghana. I don’t know how many farms that we have that somebody will now bring in these kinds of machetes at this time. The machetes are not blank, they are ready to use.
“There is an ETLS certificate but this is a regulated item. The importation must come with a permit from the office of the NSA so that we can know those who are to use the item and then we can be able to follow up because of the security of the country. If this should get to the hands of hoodlums, you can imagine the security implications.
“So, no matter the revenue the importer pays, it is not as important as the lives of the citizenry. Whoever wants to import a weapon such as machetes must go to the National Security Adviser’s office and get an End User Certificate and that is why we are clamping down on this,” he said.
Comptroller Oloyede listed other items impounded by the command to include 1,670,400 pieces of Chloroquine injections (Smg/Sml), 1,814,400 pieces of Novalgen injection (500mg/Sml) falsely declared as vehicle spare parts, 2 units of Toyota corolla vehicles, 640 bales of used clothes, 236,500 pieces of used shoes, 62,500 pieces of new lady’s shoes, 48,850 rolls of cigarettes and 23,800 tins of sodium bromate & baking powder.
In the area of revenue generation, he said the command collected N135.4billion within the review period.
This, according to him, is an improvement of N22.7billion, translating to 20.18 percent increase from the first quarter 2021 collection of N112.695 billion.
In terms of export, he said 71,014.4 metric tons with a total Free on Board (FOB) value of N56.205billion were exported through the Tin Can Island Port for the period under review as against the corresponding period of 2021 where the total tonnage of goods exported through the Command was 44,502.9 metric tons with a total FOB value of N31.371 billion.
“Comparatively, between January to March 2021 and 2022, the tonnage of goods exported through the Command increased from 44,502.9 Metric tons to 71,014 representing an increase of 62.67%. The FOB Value in Naira of the above-mentioned tonnage also’ increased from N31,371,825,954.00 to N56,205,901,295.00 representing an increase of 55.82% within the period under review,” he added.
Commodities exported through the Command he said, include Copper, Ingots, Stainless Steel Ingots, Sesame Seeds, Cashew Nuts, Cocoa Beans, Rubber, Carona Butter, Leather, Ginger and frozen shrimps among others.
“Tin Can Island Port Command’s operations for the first quarter, that is, January to March 2022 significantly aligned with the statutory responsibilities of the Service in the areas of revenue generation, trade facilitation and enforcement/anti-smuggling activities. In addition to the above, my mandate also included putting modalities in place to boost export and increase revenue through the use of risk management mechanisms in identifying areas of leakages with a view to blocking them.
“It is also instructive to note that the Command’s operations drew inspiration from the theme of the International Customs Day, “Scaling up Customs digital transformation by embracing a data culture and building a data Ecosystem”.
“The Command continues to leverage on this theme to harness such facilities that have been made available on the NICIS I1 platform such as the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), Advance Manifest, Selectivity Engine and data analysis which to a large extent enhanced our Risk Management Processes culminating into trade facilitation, expedited customs processes and ensuring the collection of appropriate duties and taxes,” he said.
The Customs boss, however noted that despite its successes, the command is still facing challenges in the movement of overtime cargo because of the non-implementation of the extant laws guiding uncleared cargo adding that the lack of government warehouses at close proximity to the port has led to difficulties in logistics and handling cost.
He assured that the command under his watch will continue to put in more effort towards better performance just as he expressed optimism that with the e-Customs agenda of the Service and the recent deployment of non-intrusive technology such as scanners, the command would be able to achieve more in its core responsibilities of revenue generation, trade facilitation and enforcement of government’s fiscal policies.