By Godwin Oritse
THE Seme Border Customs Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS) has said that it is currently operating at 30 percent capacity due to the dilapidated infrastructure and unwholesome situation it finds itself.
Disclosing to members of the House Representative Committee on Customs, Customs Area Comptroller, CAC, of the command, Mr. Victor Dimka said that officers of the Command are living in squalor as the lack of accommodation has dampened the morale of officers.
Dimka said that officers now live in the houses of smugglers adding that this has made them to compromise on many fronts.
He explained that the absence of a baggage hall, power, and lack of interconnectivity between Nigeria and Benin Republic has made it impossible to have the true manifest of goods coming into Nigeria from Benin.
Some of the challenges militating against command’s operation includes the improper implementation of the agreement arrived at on the handing over of transit goods and vehicles to Nigeria Customs by Benin Customs.
The Customs boss also said that the violation of Direct Trader Input, (DTI) by importers and agents has made declarations to be captured with little or no payment made to Customs coffers.
His words “The non-completion of the ECOWAS building that has been under renovation for a long time has impacted negatively on our operations as well.
“Absence of baggage hall to ensure efficient baggage assessment and provide efficient control of human and vehicular movement in and out of Nigeria, as well as the dilapidated and sorry state of the Badagry Express road”.
In his reaction to the issues raised by the Customs Comptroller, Chairman, House Committee on Customs Rufai Ahmed Chachangi said that the Committee is aware that officers of the service are grossly underpaid.
He told the Comptroller to put the challenges faced by the command in writing and forward same to the Committee for action.