The Chairman, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Onne Seaport Chapter, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr. Mike Ebeatu has discredited recent media reports alleging that some officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at Onne port engage in extortion.
Ebeatu made this clarification via a statement issued yesterday, titled “Media Report Alleging Customs Extortion in Onne Untrue,’ made available to News Diet.
Part of the report read; “I have been inundated by some media reports alleging that Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) officers in Onne Port extort monies or demand bribes from licenced agents to exit consignments.”
“As Chapter Chairman of the ANLCA Onne Chapter, this is untrue to the best of my knowledge. While we constantly engage the customs for an improved operational relationship, the association in Onne Port under my leadership frowns at any form of unlawful dealings like smuggling, under-declaration, undervaluation and concealment.”
The ANLCA Chairman argued that members of the association are constantly sensitized to comply with the extant import and export prohibition lists, hence, they have no reason to pay bribes either at the points of examination or at the exit gate.
“We are aware that the giver and taker are liable by law and therefore, distance ourselves from such things. Our confidence is rooted in our sincerity of purpose, which has also been passed to our importers.” He said.
Meanwhile, he urged the federal government to step up efforts towards fixing port access road from Port Harcourt through Eleme to Onne on time and create incentives to make the Onne and entire Eastern ports attractive to importers and shippers.
“Without attempting to hold brief for the NCS, any agent or freight forwarder who admits to paying a bribe or allowing himself to be extorted is complicit.Our mantra as leaders of the Association is compliance, compliance, compliance. The Acting President of ANLCA during his 3-day working visit to the zone, laid much emphasis on that at several fora. It is also on record that the compliance level at Onne port is unequivocally at the top. The facts are there,” Ebeatu posited.