The Integration Art Palace and Tour company, in collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service, Ogun 1 Area Command, organised a Festival of Art for Economic Development programme. The programme lasted for 5 days, commencing on Saturday, February 10, 2024, and concluding on Wednesday, February 14, 2024. This marks the 3rd edition with the theme: “The Role of Nigeria Customs Service in Economic Development and National Security.” The event was attended by participants from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Yaba College of Technology, and selected secondary schools in Ipokia Local Government Area, among others.

On the first day, participants paid homage to the Oniko of Ikolaje Idiroko, Oba John Olakunle Ojo JP. On the second day, Sunday, February 11, 2024, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Hammed Oloyede, took the participants on a tour of Sentry Customs House, where seized vehicles, petroleum products, and perishable items were warehoused. The destruction site for seized frozen poultry products and the circumstances surrounding the seizure of prohibited items were explicitly explained to the participants.

A symposium was held in the Conference room of the Command’s Headquarters to mark the third day of the event. Dignitaries in attendance included the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Ogun 1 Area Command, Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu, his management team, Director of DSS, Mr. IK Ikiriko, heads of other agencies, and the Deputy Mayor of Ifoyin Municipality, Igolo, Republic of Benin. In his welcome address, the CAC commended the organiser, Dr. Bonny Botoku, for his initiative. He congratulated the participants, especially the younger ones for the opportunity to participate. He described the programme as a panacea for youth restiveness and encouraged the development of skills in creative art. He also emphasized the importance of creative art in attracting tourists and as a viable means of livelihood. The CAC reassured continuous support from the Command for the festival’s sustainability.

Dr. Bonny A. Botoku, the programme initiator, stated during his speech that his passion for art inspired him to initiate the festival to encourage the younger generation interested in it. He mentioned the careful selection of event dates, especially Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2024, to celebrate youth in a more constructive manner aimed at preventing unwanted pregnancies. He explained his collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) due to its significant contributions to the economy and national security. He appreciated the Command’s support in ensuring the festival’s success.

Assistant Comptroller of Customs Emmanuella Chukwu, the guest speaker at the symposium, highlighted the core functions of NCS, including revenue generation, suppression of smuggling, facilitation of lawful trade, and security of the nation’s borders. She identified various revenue generated from import duties, excise duties, auction sales, and export proceeds as parts of the way NCS contributes to the development of our dear nation. Additionally, she emphasized NCS’s role in anti-smuggling activities and counter-terrorism efforts  as a means through which it contributes to national security.

The grand finale, marking the end of the occasion, took place on February 14, 2024, at the Integration Art Palace and Tour cultural centre in Idiroko. Certificates of participation were presented to the participants by the Customs Area Controller, represented by Deputy Comptroller Administration, DC Charles Ogunesan. Prizes were awarded to the top three secondary school participants based on performance, with consolation prizes given to the others for encouragement. The art exhibition was officially opened by the CAC’s representative, and it continues until the end of February


Dr. Boniface Okechukwu Aniebonanm is the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) who do not really need much introduction as far as businesses in the Maritime Sector of the Nigerian economy is concerned.

Events in the sector and generally in the economy have conspired to drive up the cost of doing business as well as the attendant social dislocations that these have caused. These have all seemed to have propelled Dr. Aniebonam to appeal to freight forwarders to act in consonant with the tenets of the law to avoid paying the consequent penalties.

In a letter released to the press on Monday, Dr. Aniebonam said “It is unfortunately disheartening that most freight forwarders have continued to inflict upon their principals avoidable additional duty payment as a result of non-disclosure of the actual content of laden containers in their transaction for customs purposes”.

“The trade policy regime of Nigeria under destination inspection makes it so simple and straightforward the need for self assessment and declaration for customs purposes”.

“In other words, freight forwarders are at liberty, as a declarant, to make an honest declaration for customs purposes. When this happens there shall not be a room for customs to issue additional duty with penalty thereto. The avoidable penalty is merely being a father Christmas to the federal government of Nigeria”.

“An intelligent freight forwarding practitioner should have noted that the customs may not look the other way over unprofessional conduct on trade goods. In otherwords, you are simply creating an unsolicited opportunity for the customs to rake into the federation account more money based on your unpatriotic act. This is because the additional penalty of 25% surcharge  for non-disclosure is quite a huge amount of money to the federation account”.

“Not even now that the revenue target of the service is quite challenging, it means that the more you try to circumvent customs laws and regulations on traded goods other than prohibited items the more customs smiles home with more revenue. This is because whatever you try doing to the contrary definitely shall be revealed during customs examination”.

“It is on record that before the emergence of this present administration, Mr. Emefiele, the former CBN governor, might have been a disaster to foreign trade facilitation in Nigeria. This man Emefiele, indeed, dabbled into fiscal policy trade goods instead of monetary policy which is his primary assignment, and consequently messed and distorted the entire trade economy of Nigeria”.

“This is because he appeared to have limited knowledge about customs laws. He barred well over forty-one trade goods from having access to forex. Indeed it is a fact that every import and export transaction in Nigeria must have a form M duly registered in any commercial bank of choice”.

“Here we are, Mr. Emefiele never realised that his sole action of executive rascality has no effect on customs laws as an act of national assembly. And so technically Emefiele banned these goods without knowing that customs laws have provisions to transact businesses with shippers whose import documents are incomplete”.

“The multiplier effects of executive rascality of Mr. Emefiele became the tonic for traders to engage massively in the practice of non-disclosure for customs purposes. This they do knowing that customs shall issue additional duty on those 41 items thereafter examination”.

“Under reference it is a fact that the pre-arrival assessment report of the customs as a risk management tool is advisory. Indeed a declarant has the opportunity to make additional declaration in the single entry declaration form for customs purposes. This made nonsense of Mr. Emefiele executive rascality. He, however, succeeded in distorting customs efforts on trade modernisation and facilitation responsibility”.

“Anyway, let’s forget the past since the president of Nigeria saw reason to reverse the order of Mr. Emefiele on those 41 items to enjoy forex incentives. There is no need any more for traders to shy away from being compliant to import and export regulations”.

“This write-up seeks to draw the attention of practitioners and to advise that they  return to basic rules and practices of making genuine declaration for customs purposes. This has become necessary to assist the customs in their modernisation efforts and fast clearance of cargo out of customs control within 48hrs”.

“And for those who refuse to key into due compliance to the rules, the consequences of non-disclosure may include seizure of such trades in accordance with the customs laws. Even though customs may look the other way discretionally, take note that 25% penalty of short collection is huge and avoidable expenditure on a trader”.

“Therefore, freight forwarders must stop being a father Christmas. Make honest declaration for customs purposes and protect the investment of your principal”.

“On the part of the customs, NAGAFF would want to appeal for increased supervision of the operational officers to avoid the practice of issuance of frivolous demand notices to traders who come to transact businesses in the customs ports and borders”.

“May we therefore remark and without prejudice to the desire of the federal government to collect revenue for the use of providing public goods and services, let us remember that customs duty assessment and collection is a function of cargo throughput, rate of duty, cost and freight. Let all actions be transparent and predictable”.

“Therefore, revenue collection must not be a do or die affair. Going forward is to ensure due compliance to rules and facilitation of international trade. Compliance should be between the public and private operators. It is our belief the Comptroller General of Customs shall see the need to intervene on matters of high exchange rate and Customs question. The urgent need to deploy discretional powers and exercise his authority to appraise value on imported goods is most necessary due to avoidable inflationary situation in the Nigeria economy. Nigerians are definitely very hungry and worried”.

“God bless everyone and we thank Mr. President for reversing the avoidable circumstances of the executive rascality of Mr. Emefiele. Let us now join hands with the federal government of Nigeria and the Nigeria customs service to make Nigeria great once again”.

By News Connect Online

News Connect Online is a grassroot advocacy news platform established to promote development and peace through efficient and effective reportage across all beats. Beat: Education, Entertainment Environment Energy Business Health, Sport, Foreign News, Advocacy, Tourism, Transportation

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