The TinCan Island Port (TCIP) Command of Nigeria Customs Service has refuted allegation of extortion leveled against it by some clearing agents operating in Clarion Bonded Terminal, one of off dock facilities attached to the command.
The Public Relation Officer of the command, Uche Ejesieme, in a statement released to newsmen stated that the command’s attention has been drawn to a report making the rounds in the media of unfounded allegation of extortion by some fraudulent clearing agents, “who were out to cause chaos and blackmail the officers of the command posted to Clarion, in order to be allowed to continue to evade appropriate import duty payments.”
“The publication further alleged acts of corruption by the officer in charge of exit gate at the terminal. Consequently, it is pertinent to reiterate that the reform agenda of the Customs Area Controller is very emphatic on compliance and due diligence. It is therefore instructive to note that the command will not lower its guards in enforcing the fiscal policies of the federal government in terms of trade.
“However, this position might appear punitive, but is not in any way intended to victimize or frustrate any compliant trader or facility owner. We wish to therefore diabuse the minds of the general public to their allegations of extortion which triggered unnecessary and mindless protest leading to disruption of activities at the Bonded Terminal in question.
“We hereby enjoin importers and their agents to ensure strict compliance with import guidelines and avoid false declaration which may necessitate actions that might be viewed as high handedness.
“Finally, TCIP as a user friendly port would like to reassure importers and their agents that we are still deeply committed to our resolve to reward compliance and trasperency as the task of Nation building is a shared responsibility .
The allegation remains at the realm of imagination which is both inconceivable and outrightly fallacious. The new officer manning the gate, has just introduced strict measures aimed at ensuring zero revenue leakage and of course it's only natural for humans to react to change.” Ejesieme stated.