Nigeria Customs Service

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is an independent customs service under the supervisory oversight of the Nigerian Ministry of Finance, responsible for the collection of customs revenue, Facilitation of both national and international trade, anti-smuggling and security activities.

Nigeria Customs Service
Agency overview
JurisdictionFederal Ministry of Finance (Nigeria)
Agency executive
  • Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, Comptroller General[1]

Structure edit

The NCS is headed by the comptroller general, who oversees the work of seven deputy comptrollers general in the following departments:

  • Finance and Technical Service;
  • Tariff & Trade;
  • Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC);
  • Enforcement, Investigation, and Inspection;
  • Strategic Research and Policy;
  • Excise, Industrial Incentives and Free Trade Zone;
  • Human Resource Development.[2]

The NCS board is chaired by the minister of finance, while the vice-chairman is the comptroller-general.

In addition, the NCS operates a media division with radio and television operations, the Nigeria Customs Broadcasting Network.

Reputation edit

The Nigerian government claims that the service in recent times has redeemed its image from a Corruption riddled government agency to a new organization, that has cleaned itself of corrupt practices pointing to the fact that since the year 2017 its revenue contribution to the country continue to rise above one trillion Naira annually.[3]

Despite the claims of the government that the reputation of the service has improved from a corrupt government agency to an agency that has imbibed the spirit of selflessness to the country over self enrichment of its officers, several examples of extensive bribery and corruption allegations still exist.

One example (cited by the government) of an incidence that demonstrated a new customs service was the rejection of the sum of $415,000 bribe by an official of the service Bashir Abubakar, being the money offered to him in order to facilitate the release of containers of dangerous drugs at Apapa Port in Lagos[4]

The Nigeria Customs service is known to have a reputation that has been marred by numerous corruption and fraud scandals across the years. According to Transparency International's 2010 Global Corruption Barometer, more than half of local households surveyed attested to paying bribes to NCS officers in 2009.[5]

To date, compromised staff, complex regulations and bureaucracy surrounding the import and export of goods has nurtured an environment in which bribes are commonly paid. Several companies are also believed to undervalue their goods upon importation to avoid penalties. Yet other companies, operating in the informal economy, resort to smuggling as a means of avoiding legal trade.

Notably, a number of foreign companies have been involved in fraud and corruption scandals in recent years:

  • Three subsidiaries of Vetco International – Vetco Gray Controls Inc, Vetco Gray Controls Ltd and Vetco Gray UK Ltd – pleaded guilty to violating anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when they admitted to making US$2.1 million worth of corrupt payments over a two-year period to officers in the NCS through Panalpina, a Swiss-based freight forwarding firm in Nigeria.[6]
  • At the same time as the subsidiaries were charged, another Vetco subsidiary – Aibel International Ltd – entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the US Department of Justice for its involvement in the same scandal. This deferred prosecution agreement entailed co-operation with the Department of Justice, stricter controls and the retention of FCPA monitors. Subsequently, however, the company admitted to failing to comply with its obligations and paid a monetary fine.[7]
  • Oil services firm Transocean Ltd made corrupt payments to the value of US$90,000 to Nigerian customs officials between 2002 and 2007 to extend its importation status and receive false paperwork.[8]
  • Tidewater Inc., an oil service firm, paid US$1.6 million through Panalpina to Nigerian customs officials to clear vessels into Nigerian waters.[9]
  • Noble Energy authorised payments by its local subsidiary to obtain eight temporary permits. In November 2011, Noble, Transocean and Tidewater were three of the companies that settled allegations of involvement in a US$100 million bribery scheme in Nigeria, as part of the Panalpina settlements.[8]
  • Royal Dutch Shell entered into a U.S. plea deal in November 2010 over its contractor's involvement in bribing Nigerian customs officials. US authorities accused Shell's subsidiary Shell Nigerian Exploration and Production Co Ltd. of bribing Nigerian customs officials US$3.5 million to quickly process needed equipment for its offshore Bonga field. A heavy fine was levied on Shell after Panalpina, which was also employed by Shell, agreed to plead guilty to taking bribes on behalf of its clients.[10]

In addition to legal cases involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), many Nigerian business people face everyday situations where customs officials ask for bribes to let their goods pass through customs smoothly.[11][12] On the other hand, some customs officials may even demand bribes to allow illegal goods to be smuggled in:

  • On February 27, 2024, Premium Times revealed a multi-billion naira corruption scandal within the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). High-ranking NCS officials allegedly accepted bribes from smugglers operating along the Nigeria-Niger border. Despite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC detaining seven officers and recovering millions in suspected bribe money, none have been prosecuted and all have returned to their duties.[13]
  • Similarly on February 28, 2024, Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) released a scathing exposé alleging that corrupt officials within the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) hierachy are facilitating smuggling operations for Ibrahim Egungbohun Dende in Ilaoro, southwest Nigeria.[14]

Despite the detailed allegations, the NCS has yet to respond, and this has led many activists to call for far-reaching reforms[15][16][17] that would place corruption at the back seat and seal up revenue leakages.

Directors and Comptroller-General past and present edit

References edit

  1. ^ Amaka Anagor (21 June 2023). "From image making to CG, meet Bashir Adewale Adeniyi new Customs boss". Business Day.
  2. ^ Nigeria Customs Service. "Organisation Structure". Nigeria Customs Service. Archived from the original on 4 May 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  3. ^ "FG sets N887bn revenue generation target for NCS in 2019". This Day.
  4. ^ "Customs officer reject N150M bribe on tramadol imports". Vanguard Nigeria.
  5. ^ "abdullahi dikko inde". BUSINESS ANTI-CORRUPTION PORTAL. Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  6. ^ U.S. Department of Justice (6 February 2007). "Three Vetco International Ltd. Subsidiaries Plead Guilty to Foreign Bribery and Agree to Pay $26 Million in Criminal Fines". PR Newswire. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  7. ^ European Anti-Bribery Blog (23 November 2008). "Aibel Group Limited pleads guilty in the US second time around". European Anti-Bribery Blog. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012.
  8. ^ a b Samuel Rubenfeld (13 January 2011). "Nigeria Arrests 12 Oil Executives Over Alleged Bribery". Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ FCPA Blog (10 November 2011). "SEC Posts Cases Eligible For Whistleblower Rewards". FCPA Blog.
  10. ^ Rowena Mason and Richard Blackden (4 November 2010). "Shell to pay $48m Nigerian bribe fine". Telegraph.
  11. ^ Peoples Daily (4 November 2011). "How corrupt officials skim government at the ports". Peoples Daily. Archived from the original on 2 February 2022. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  13. ^ Suleiman, Qosim (27 February 2024). "Top Nigeria Customs officers enmeshed in multi-billion naira corruption scandal". Premium Times. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  14. ^ Soyombo, Fisayo (28 February 2024). "Nigeria Customs Smuggling Terrorist Motorcyles, Hard Drugs Into Northern Nigeria". Foundation for Investigative Journalisms. Retrieved 10 March 2024.
  15. ^ "CUSTOMS OF PAGAN TRIBES IN THE KWONGOMA DISTRICT<xref ref-type="fn" rid="fn1">1</xref> OF N. NIGERIA". African Affairs. 1912. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.afraf.a099512. ISSN 1468-2621.
  16. ^ "Nigerian Customs and transportation revenue collection". SunNews online. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Revisiting the 1993 Arusha report on customs". SunNews online.

External links edit