The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Alhaji Abdulahi Inde Dikko has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to come to the aid of his Service in tackling the rising tide of smuggling in the country.
He said this on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 during a courtesy call on the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde at the Headquarters of the Commission in Abuja. Dikko said smuggling of vehicles should no longer be blamed on innocent buyers but on the dealers. He threatened that Customs officers found harassing motorists over smuggling will henceforth be arrested.
“Innocent people are harassed along the road while driving their vehicles which they bought legitimately from car dealers. The dealers that really smuggled these cars are left displaying the vehicles along the road with impunity. I will like to seek the assistance of the EFCC to attack the disease rather than the symptoms. The person who bought such cars innocently does not deserve the harassment being meted out to him by our officers. Honestly, such harassment is illegal. I have sent a message to officers harassing innocent persons on this issue that they will also be arrested”, he promised. In his response, Lamorde expressed appreciation to Dikko over his visit and promised stronger inter-agency collaboration and support between the Customs and the EFCC. He commended the Customs boss over visible improvement in revenue collection by his officers across the country and noted the cooperation extended to the Commission by Customs officers at various airports in checking the smuggling of counterfeit financial instruments to Europe and America.
The EFCC boss urged Dikko to be more proactive in making his officers check bulk cash shipment out of the country stressing that the practice was becoming embarrassing. “We have made some few observations of recent, especially in the area of bulk cash shipment out of Nigeria. It is becoming a huge embarrassment for the country. I know that no single security arrangements in the airports can handle such situation. We have to come together in order to handle such embarrassing situation which is the affecting the image of Nigeria”, he said.
Lamorde also urged Dikko to do something drastic about overtime cargo. He explained that there are rising complaints by members of the public about the auction. “The complaints are becoming embarrassing. Letters of allocation people are parading some dated 2007, 2008 and 2009 are quite embarrassing. I think we should form a team to look at where the allocations are coming from. Are the money paid into the coffers of the government? Are the allocations receipted? Or are they forged documents being paraded?”
He suggested the designation of desk officers to handle relations between the two agencies, as their chief executives might be too busy to respond speedily to request for assistance. Dikko was accompanied on the visit by Mr. Musa Tahir, Assistant Comptroller General, Headquarters; Barrister Mohammed Umar, legal adviser and Joseph Attah, Public Relations Officer.