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By Timothy Paul Okorocha

CG Adewale Adeniyi, MFR
Olomu with Commissioner of police

No retreat, no surrender seems to be what Compt Babatunde Olomu, PhD, fsi is currently saying as regards sustaining the tempo and even exceeding revenue targets of the premier command.

Briefing newsmen in Lagos today, the innocent- looking Area controller disclosed that since his assumption of office on May 6 this year, the thrust of his leadership has been anchored on robust intelligence gathering for enhanced revenue collection, backed with deliberately improved customs- community relations.

Announcing a bogus generated revenue of N1,023,663,842,225.63 for the first half of this year, Dr Olomu said he was pleased to report that the command’s efforts in promoting trade facilitation are already yielding fruits with attendant ease of doing business, prevention of revenue losses, and closer interactions with sister government agencies as well as private sector stakeholders, including members of the host communities.

Olomu answering questions from journalists

‘We are not leaving anything to chance for economic saboteurs as our non- intrusive inspection (NII) regime is fully in place where scanners are deployed for cargo examination with support of physical examination where and when necessary’ Compt Olomu deposed.

Whereas this collection is coming despite a sharp reduction in the volume of trade, it is necessary to note that extra measures have been put in place to prevent losses of government revenue.

Upon taking over as Area Controller of Apapa, I set up a revenue recovery committee comprising of seasoned and dedicated officers with a mandate to carry
out more detailed look into areas of leakages, especially in bonded terminals under Apapa Command

Seized cargo

He stated that they.are applying a blend of intelligence with community relations for better awareness of our operating environment to achieve greater trade facilitation and fight criminality.

The controller has a team of dedicated officers charged with the responsibility of addressing all complaints or disputes within record time before escalation to my office for prompt action.

He  does not run an open-door policy because for me, there is literally no door at all if you want to access my office. My office is open for everyone to discuss anything that will facilitate legitimate trade and promote government interest at all times,

According to him, the period under review, the command made seizures of eleven (11) containers comprising of prohibited items such as expired and unregistered pharmaceuticals, footwears, used clothing, armored cables, frozen poultry products etc., with a Duty Paid Value of Four hundred and twenty-four million, one hundred and five thousand, nine hundred and seventy-five naira (N424,105,975.00) as against 42 seizures with a DPV of N1.4 billion made in the corresponding period in 2023.

He said it is pertinent to mention that just last week, we uncovered a large quantity of expired and unregistered pharmaceuticals in 3x40ft container numbers TCKU 6928184, MRKU 4422733, MRSU 5550243, and another 3x40ft container nos. MNBU 3934925, MEDU 9107559 and MEDU 9752980 loaded with seven thousand five hundred and eighty (7,580) cartons of frozen poultry products unfit for human consumption, which is against schedule 3 of the revised import prohibition list of the Common External Tariff (CET), These importations violate section 233 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.

He state that the harmful effects of fake and unregistered pharmaceutical products on citizens are unquantifiable and as a responsible service, we owe Nigerians the duty of preventing them from being exposed to this dangerous importation.

Seized poultry products

In light of the above, he use the opportunity to sound a note of warning to perpetrators of smuggling, duty evasion and other forms of criminality frowned upon by the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and other extant laws, that Apapa command is poised to nip illicit importation in the bud.

Consequently, in line with the CGC zero tolerance for smuggling, I have reformed the command way of treating transires by ensuring more meticulous management of cargoes moving from the mother port to bonded terminals.

He stated that this has become necessary to prevent a situation where smugglers attempt to perpetuate illegalities in bonded terminals. To sustain this tempo, no cargo is allowed to exit from Our control without thorough inspection using the scanner.

We shall not compromise on this as we will keep making seizures, detention and arrests where necessary to protect the national economy and prevent Nigerians from exposure to dangerous or unwholesome products like illicit drugs.i

According to him, they are in close touch with sister government agencies working like a team with shared responsibilities.

The Controller commended the Nigeria Police, Department of State Service (DSS), NDLEA, NAFDAC, SON, NIS, NAQS, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and others for their support so far. We made progress together and will continue to collaborate in the national interest.

He used this medium to register our utmost appreciation to the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR dsm psc (+) and the entire Management team for providing us with the needed support and leadership in discharging our responsibilities.

Finally, I want to thank officers and men of the command for their resilience, our stakeholders for their support and urge that we continually work together to achieve a better second half for 2024.

The contributions of our compliant
importers, exporters, licensed customs agents, freight forwarders, members of the media and all other esteemed stakehoiders is not going unnoticed. I commend you all.

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