This Day (Lagos)

26 May 2012

Nigeria: Customs Beams Searchlight On Tincan Port Over 'Container Flying'

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is beaming its searchlight on the Tin Can Island Port following revelations of ongoing clearance of containers out of the seaport without due process, in what is known in the industry as 'container flying'.

It was gathered that since the revelation was made public by the Tin Can Customs Controller, Isa Nuhu, the leadership of the Customs had given orders that all measures should be adopted to end the fraudulent practice.

It was also gathered that the Customs Investigation Unit has been given instruction to dig into the scam and unveil those behind it.

'Container flying' is a term for the evacuation of a container out of the ports without payment of duties.

Such containers are usually those described as 'bad business' that no Customs Officer will authorise release apparently because the goods may be contraband.

The Tin Can Customs Controller had told newsmen recently that there has been a lot of 'container flying' involving officers of the Command.

He had revealed that in one case, the Headquarters had intervened and ordered an investigation.

Nuhu had called on customs agents to comply with all necessary procedures for the clearance of goods at the ports.

Container flying is usually carried out by a syndicate when all hopes all lost for an owner to take delivery of his consignment due to violation of trade laws that will ultimately lead to seizure of such goods and prosecution of the importer.

Incidentally, the Tin Can Island port has over the years been known as the seaport used by importers of contraband goods.

For instance, 80 per cent of hard drugs seized at the Lagos ports was at the Tin Can Port.

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