Revenue Loss: Customs CG Fires Back At SON, Says Agency “Incapable Of Living Up To Its Mandate”

The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali on Friday fired back at the Director General/Chief Executive of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim, who had flayed the Service for the smuggling of fake and substandard goods out of the nation’s seaports.

Salim had accused the Service of being responsible for revenue losses, the preponderance of fake and substandard products, and stated that officials of SON were routinely excluded from joint operations at the nation’s seaports.

But reacting to the comments by the SON DG, the Ali in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of Customs, Timi Bomodi described the allegation as “untrue.”

The statement said the Service fully recognizes that strategic cooperation among security and regulatory agencies lies at the heart of national security willfully, adding that it is working in tandem with other security and regulatory agencies including SON to achieve national goals.

The statement reads, “Under the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS II), SON and other regulatory agencies of government are linked directly and frequently make inputs in reference to items of significance to their operations.

“At no time has NCS refused to oblige them with any request. Indeed, the Nigeria Customs Service even without intervention from SON on its own directs suspicious items bordering on brand and intellectual property rights infringements to them.

“The attached redacted documents buttress the fact that SON has access to our systems, are informed and fully participate in examinations and even go as far as collect product samples where necessary during examinations for their investigations.

“Even the field inspection process chart on the SON official website shows the involvement of SON at the ports and borders during examinations.

“There exists open channels of communication between officials of SON and NCS Area Commands should the need arise for clarifications or interventions.

“Therefore, this statement ascribed to the DG creates a totally false narrative and is viewed as an attempt to portray the NCS in negative light. It is questionable, raises serious concerns and calls for scrutiny by discerning.

“It is also self-condemning, regrettable and exposes SON as being incapable of living up to its mandate. If after issuing certificates, participating in examinations, taking samples for further investigations and authorizing release to the NCS, substandard goods find their way into the open market the DG SON should look inwards.”

The NCS said in the statement that while success is said to breed opposition, the success of the Service is not achieved by tarnishing the image of another agency just to look good or score cheap points.

“Our nation at this time needs every security and regulatory agency to trust and work as a team for our socio-economic wellbeing. We urge the DG SON and his agency not to be self-seeking, leave the path of rivalry and collaborate towards achieving national interest,” the statement concluded.

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