By Godwin Oritse
SOME licensed Customs agents who were affected by the recent clampdown on operating licences of brokers involved in activities against the Customs Excise and Management Act (CEMA) have decried the unjust blockade of their licences.
The agents said they were being victimised because of their stand against alleged obnoxious moves by the Nigeria Customs Service to introduce measures that are not in line with international best practices.
Speaking to Vanguard in Lagos, Mr Kayode Farinto said that his own licence was blocked by verbal instruction as the decision to block his operating licence was not taken by the management of Customs.
He accused the Deputy Comptroller General of Customs in charge of Trade and Tariff, Mr. Julius Wogu of masterminding the blocking of his licence.
Farinto alleged that management of the Customs service had been looking for opportunity to punish him because of the stakeholders meeting he convened to discuss the review of the new Customs Excise and Management Act which he alleged the current leadership of Customs had doctored.
He further explained that the Customs management accused him of using a company named Honey Wealth as against Weathy Honey Investment Nigeria Limited that he has been operating with over the years. At a point, the Customs management had to use his licence as a factor to stand for election adding that he was asked to wait until the big man at the Customs headquarters gave his nod.
“At that point, I began to suspect some foul play in both the forth coming election and renewal of licence.
“Up till this moment, I was not allowed to stand for election, I suspected it, I saw it coming and because of this I went to court and got a court summon restraining them from going ahead with election.
“Despite the court order, they still went ahead to organise the elections and ensured that I was excluded from the entire process”
Mr Frank Uko, president of the Association of Registered Freight Forwarders, said that some used his license to clear goods and refused to pay the correct duty. Uko also said that when the culprint was caught by Customs officials, he was given a Debit Note and was made to pay the actual duty and hiis goods released, only for the Customs management to clamp down on his licence.