AMATO laments seizure of trucks by customs

Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has lamented the seizure of some 100 vehicles belonging to its members by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

National President of the association, Remi Ogungbemi, raised the alarm on the seizure of the trucks at the just concluded second edition of the Port Industry Town Hall Meeting organised by the Journal NG in Lagos.

Ogungbemi, who said the trucks are being held in the custody of Customs at the Lagos and Eastern ports, said appeals to the concerned authorities for the release of the containerised trucks have not yielded any positive response, The Trumpet gathered.

“Over 100 of our trucks are in the custody of customs. Our members are suffering for the ignoble and unpatriotic activity of some importers and their cohorts in the maritime industry, who failed to declare the contents of the containers to the Customs, which is the reason for the arrest and impounding of the containers with our trucks. “We have written to the Comptroller General of Customs for the revalidation of the circular sent to us on the subject matter, but no favorable response,” he said.

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It would be recalled that the group, had in letter of appeal addressed to the Comptroller General of Customs, dated January 24, 2022, canvassed the revalidation of the format approved in 2017 to enable its members to remove all their trucks under Customs detention so that they could start on a clean slate with the usage of he format.

The letter titled: Passionate Appeal For Revalidation Of Circular 001/2010 following an earlier circular on Directive On The Reprieve For Trucks Used As Means Of Carriage Offending Containerised Cargo.

“We plead that you kindly revalidate the circular to enable us remove all our trucks under Customs detention so that we can start on a clean slate with the usage of the format you have approved for usage and thereafter, if anyone among us or the agents fails to comply, then it can be considered to have criminal intention,” part of the letter reads Responding at the event, Acting Controller in charge of Non-Intrusive Inspection, Paul Ekpeyong, cited the truck owners’ inability to ascertain the true nature of goods in the containers they are conveying to the final destination as reasons for the seizures.

He said most truck owners contact roadside drivers without carrying out background checks on the content of their goods, adding that the drivers convey items contrary to the specified contents the trucks were licenced to carry, which lead to their seizure.

“Truck owners should subject their drivers to roadworthiness tests and check their licences and their drug use before giving them trucks. We arrested a truck, which was specifically for loading beer, but the driver went to load bags of rice,” he said.

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