It is a well known fact that the movement of goods and persons through unapproved routes often begin from neighbouring countries before they are smuggled through unapproved routes to Nigeria.
Speaking at the Powerful Pen training for Journalists in Lagos on Thursday, Deputy Controller of Customs, Sahadu A. Adamu representing the Western Marine Controller, A. A Umar said Nigeria must take the bull by the horns by revisiting Bilateral Agreements with other African countries; especially those bordering her in order to curb smuggling through unapproved routes and waterways.
According to him, the effect of smuggling on the economy is devastating to say the least, because it retards economic development by hindering the growth of indigenous technological development. It also breeds unemployment by it’s crippling effect on the local industries by discouraging manufacturing, making the companies redundant. He said, that this often results to improving the economies of those foreign countries where these export emanate, encouraging brain drain, as people leave the underdeveloped economies like that of Nigeria to improve the manpower of those developed countries.
Furthermore, Adamu said that smuggling goes beyond movement of goods and persons across borders, he listed some of the trade infractions which are common occurrences in the ports as forms of smuggling: falsification of clearing documents,
false declaration, concealment, which is the most frequently used method of smuggling. Over valuation of goods to launder illegally acquired monies, under valuation and illegal exportation of prohibited items.
Continuing, he described some of the motives and motivation behind smuggling as; to evade payment of duty payment and Levies put in place by the authorities to make it difficult for smuggling to thrive in order to encourage Local manufacturers.
Other attractions he mentioned are, to acquire maximum financial gains by circumventing local revenue taxations.
Smugglers also try to avoid getting some approved licences or other processes and procedures of getting Licences in terms of restriction goods.
Adamu went on to say that the Nigeria Customs Service, Western Marine Command has been empowered by CEMA to prosecute, powers to detain goods and individuals suspected to be participating in smuggling.
According to him, “our fight against smuggling is an incentive to encourage local manufacturing and Agriculture, our people should also understand that it is more sustaining to export finished goods other than raw materials, he advised. ” If you export raw materials like we do in Nigeria and some other African countries, you are at a losing end because the same item you exported at cheap price will come back to us as finished goods at a cut throat price as import,” he lamented.
While commending The Maritime Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (MAJAN) and the Powerful Pen Media Chapel for organising this training for Journalists, Adamu urged Journalists to go beyond reporting seizures to assist officers of the NCS with information to help curb smuggling. He also called on our educational authorities to find a way to reintroduce Guidance and counseling in the school curriculum, to instill values on the future generations.
In the same vein, the Assistant Director Public Relation, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Osagie Edward who led the NIMASA PR team to the event, said the The Powerful Pen Media Chapel is in the right trajectory, setting agenda for the incoming government, as this is happening in an election period.
“The lot we do in NIMASA depends on the media and it is such a good thing that MAJAN and the Powerful Pen Media Chapel thought it wise to organise a training programme for Journalists on accurate reporting,” he commended.