September 29, 2022

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Truckers to withdraw service at Lagos ports over incessant Customs harassments


Truckers beneath the aegis of the Affiliation of Maritime Truck Homeowners (AMATO) have threatened to withdraw their providers from the Lagos ports over continued seizure and detention of vehicles by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

AMATO, in an open letter to the Comptroller Normal of Customs, Hameed Ali, dated twenty second July 2022, a duplicate of which was made obtainable to newsmen on Wednesday, lamented that the seizure and public sale of vehicles by the NCS for no fault of theirs is inflicting untold hardship to its members.

“Now we have been passing via this injustice within the palms of Nigeria Customs Service, as a direct results of dishonest declaration of precise items that importers and their collaborating brokers are having of their containers.

“Truckers are simply mere industrial transporters of products. We’re solely invited by brokers to return and carry items to and from the ports after Customs may need examined and authorised the discharge of products in containers to importers and brokers. However sadly, after loading the containers on our vehicles which are duly examined and launched by Customs, they’d waylay our vehicles on the street, seize and detain our vehicles of their yards along with containers with query marks,” AMATO mentioned in an announcement signed by its Chairman, Chief Remi Ogungbemi and Normal Secretary, Sanni Bala. 

Describing the seizure of its members’ vehicles as unjust, the affiliation maintained that truckers can not be used as scapegoats for the offence dedicated by unscrupulous importers and doubtful clearing brokers.

The affiliation additionally queried why Customs don’t arrest ships that deliver illicit items to Nigeria for complicity.

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“Are industrial truckers concerned in bodily examination of products within the ports along with Customs, Police, DSS, NDLEA, to see what they will carry? 

“Does it sound only for Customs officers and different authorities businesses that collectively examined and authorised the exit of contraband and different harmful items within the ports to be holding the trucker accountable for their fault and negligence?
“Is it the industrial trucker that’s brief paying authorities import responsibility on items or the importers and their brokers?

“If the reply to the above questions is not any, we’re calling on Nigeria Customs Service to launch all our vehicles detained of their yards with instant impact or we withdraw our providers from all ports nationwide in protest towards the unjust seizure of our vehicles.

“Our members are going through agonizing financial hardships. Their technique of livelihood are being seized by the Nigerian Customs for the offence dedicated by importers and their doubtful collaborating brokers. Nigeria Customs ought to launch all our vehicles and cease utilizing the truckers as scapegoats.

“Just lately, some containers have been discovered to comprise Tramadol and a few comprise arms and ammunition. If the trucker is aware of that he’s to hold a container loaded with explosives that may destroy him and the truck or the contraband drug that might equally put him in hassle, he won’t carry it. Thus, the place is the justification of justice for seizing our truck?

“We recognize the earlier administration of Customs authority, in that they reasoned with complaints and issued a round that allows us to retrieve our seized vehicles via utility.

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“However the current administration of Customs wrote towards the Round. All our efforts/ entreaties to the current administration of the Customs to revalidate the round to allow us to safe the discharge of our vehicles have proved abortive.

“Therefore our plan to settle our grievances with the Customs authority via the eloquence of withdrawal of service if our vehicles will not be launched by the Customs.
“Sufficient is sufficient. Truckers can’t proceed to die in silence and pay for the negligence of presidency businesses on the ports, and offences of importers and their doubtful collaborating brokers,” the affiliation mentioned.