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Oloyede Clears Air On Alleged 19 Missing Containers With Arms


The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Tin Can Island Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede has dismissed as idle talk, insinuations that 19 containers said to have been cleared from the command on bond but allegedly went missing without reaching the undersigned customs bonded terminal, contained arms and ammunitions.

A trade union, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and its members who raised the alarm during a recent protest at the premises of Clarion Bonded Terminals Alajika Sateliote Town, Lagos, had said 19 containers belonging to its members went missing on transit between Tin Can and Alakija Satelite Town, Lagos.

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The group further stirred the hornet’s nest when some of those making above allegations reportedly said some of the containers were laden with arms and ammunition.

However, debunking the ugly charge, the customs area controller, who assumed duty long after the incident of the orchestrated missing containers said something does not add up in the allegations, and emphatically declared that no containers with arms can be allowed to leave the port; as he said the matters remains mere allegations until proven otherwise.

This is even as he disclosed that he has set up a committee to investigate the matter, noting that the committee is still working and that its report will be made public as soon as it is ready.

Oloyede who was fielding questions from reporters on the issue said: “I received their letter on Monday because I will not treat what is not official. When I got the letter on Monday, I set up a committee with the DC Admin as the Chairman. I have involved O/C Bond and even our legal adviser to look into this issue and report back actually what happened to the 19 containers.”

“Nobody can say there are arms there. We know how to profile the exporter, we know how to profile the importer. We will go historical and from history, we will be able to know if the exporter or the importer is in that trade of arms. So, you have to give us time to officially look into this and get back to you.”

On the allegation of container flying in the command, he said since taking over the leadership of the command, the management of the command had not heard any such case, and said the command under his watch remains proactive and will not condone any breach of the customs extant laws.

“About two weeks ago, we had intelligence that some of the transfer on vehicles that I approved, some vehicles that were not supposed to be part of the list were infused into the list and I can tell you, six of the vehicles are in the Enforcement Unit.

“Of course, we got them out and I took them to Enforcement and because of that, I arranged a meeting between the Five Star Logistics, the two terminals operators: Clarion and Classic and we entered into another Standard Operating Procedures for transfer whereby every transfer must come with landing certificate.

“Without that landing certificate, after one or two weeks, I will not sign any other transfer to those locations again. That is the Standard Operating Procedure that we agreed upon and to fine-tune this procedure, we are also having a meeting of all stakeholders before the end of this week so that we could look at issues.

“Yes, there could be issues but we are on top of it. That’s why we could take six exotic cars infused into one of the transfers and they are with us in the Enforcement Unit.”

It will be recalled following the recent picketing of the Clarion Bonded Terminal by the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, the leadership of the Tin Can Customs Command reportedly intervened,  in the bid to resolve the crisis of confidence between freight forwarders and Clarion Bonded Terminals.

Some of the weight allegations, not the least charge of as arms and ammunition smuggling purportedly aided by the NCS, has caught industry observers and analysts like thunder bolt. Analysts and commentators have however expressed shock and dismay at the level of condescension by the Customs, if there were no grain of truth in allegations of the trade union.

There are worries also that trade unions whose activities should be regulated by customs has systematically turned out to be the regulator, putting the customs on the receiving end.

Commenting on the issue, a retired customs chief who does not want his name mentioned expressed frustration at the development, describing the allegations as irresponsible.

“Let the NAGAF chieftain, Tanko, who allege Flying Containers show proof of his investigation on the flown Container .The allegations of Flying Containers by a Trade Union Executive in a Press Conference to the public without any evidence of investigation is not only reckless but irresponsible.

“To make such dangerous and unguarded innuendo against the Nigerian Customs Service involved in undisguised form of criminality in clearing process is to say the least embarrassing to the collective and unfolding will in the Nigerian Customs trade modernization and facilitation of trade process.”



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