Claims IDP goods were abandoned
By Eguono Odjegba
THE Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Western Marine Command, WMC, is set to bury seized goods worth hundreds of millions of Naira allocated to Internally Displaced Individuals (IDP) saying that the management of the IDPs failed to come forward to take the goods and they are now expired.
However, the WMC area controller, Comptroller Boyiliya Binga who spoke with Vanguard Maritime Report while attributing the development to the failure of IDP camps to pick up the items that were allocated to them also lamented the lack of space to accommodate fresh seizures.
According to Binga, “The items here have been allocated to IDPs, but they have refused to pick them up. We have written to the headquarters to give us permission to clean up the place. As soon as the headquarters gives us approval to remove the decayed items, we will then clean up the place and have space for fresh seizures, which we have been making. For as long as these smugglers continue, so long we will continue to seize them.”
But an independent inside source faulted the position of the Customs on this development, saying that it mismanaged the problem.
He told Vanguard Maritime Report: “If you look at the dates of the seizures, you will find rice seized five, six, seven years ago. The problem is that our government lacks sense of urgency, those in power are not sensitive to accountability, they are not sensitive to waste and mismanagement, that is why the entire goods in a government warehouse can be allowed to go bad beyond redemption; and now they are blaming their inadequacy on IDPs. Why didn’t they tell you the names of the IDPs?”
This is even as another source hinted of the role of official bureaucracy. He said, “The problem truly is beyond Customs as an agency. I think that it is an institutional issue. You know how it is with official bureaucracy, which is what has happened to these seized items.
“I think what is required is for lawmakers to review the customs extant laws and create clauses to address sensitive issues like this.
“It is morally wrong to have this kind of wastages amid so much hunger and poverty in the country. We should be able to convert seizures to useful purposes, we cannot be seizing for seizing sake, it does not make sense”.
Binga said since taking over control of the Command in August 2018 to January 2019, the Command has made seizures with a Duty Paid Value, DPV, of N197.9 million.
The seized items include rice, Indian hemp, vegetable oil, sugar, clothing and shoes.