MY CUSTOMS EXPERIENCE: Coming back into the country, I was pleased how smoothly everything worked at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja. I presented my UK Negative Covid test and proof that I had paid for another test in Nigeria after 7 days. They checked & I was let through. Thread..
Immigration @nigimmigration was smooth. The officers welcomed me back home with a smile. We bantered about which one I had missed most: Jollof rice or Suya? It felt good to be back home. Luggages came out on time too. Free self-service trolley. No stress. Now on to @CustomsNG
As I got to Customs, I was asked to scan my suitcases. Much better than people touching my private stuff and asking me what is there. @CustomsNG officer too was very polite. Of my three suitcases, he was only interested in one. He said I had a gadget in it that he wanted to see.
I said yes, I bought a new CCTV system. I showed him and his colleagues. He asked me how much I paid for it and I told him. He asked for the receipt and I showed him from my Amazon order. He said it is subject to import duty because of the value. I said no problem.
He then went and did a computer printout of the applicable duty: N34,000 & some change. I asked him: “How do I pay?” He said “We have a bank here. You’ll pay at the bank.” To be honest, I was happy. Nobody was harassing me. Nobody was offering to “help.” I wasn’t begging anyone.
I took the invoice to the @FirstBankngr at the terminal only to be told that they only collect cash. I told them I didn’t have any cash on me. There was a lady behind with a brand new pair of designer shoes. They valued her shoes at $500 and she too wanted to pay. No cash.
The @CustomsNG people asked us to leave our luggage and go immediately outside where there were money changers and “POS” people. I did a transfer of N35,000 to a POS guy and he charged me N1,500. I then had to come back into the secure area that clearly said “No Entry.”
I kept feeling “This is not right.” The POS guy could have given me something to take inside the secure area. Na waa. I went back in, thinking “At least the duty is going into a government account, not the pockets of @CustomsNG officers.” I paid. But I had questions...
I asked the guy at @FirstBankngr why they only take cash? He said it’s because different components go to different arms of government. Duty goes to @CustomsNG but the VAT I paid goes to @firsNigeria. I told him that this is no reason to insist on cash only.
I told him to give me the multiple accounts so that I can can credit them individually. He said it wasn’t possible. I asked why then I couldn’t pay by card into one account and they can distribute it afterwards, especially as the government operates a Treasury Single Account.
He said he was only acting on instructions. I called over the @CustomsNG officers and told them I intended to complain to the Comptroller General about the cash payment. They encouraged me to do so. I will. Today. As I left them, @FAAN_Official too charged me N2,000. Cash too.
I am supportive of @CustomsNG charging appropriate duties for imported goods that qualify but insisting on cash payment is wrong. It is a loophole and I know how it could be abused. Whether the @FirstBankngr account I was asked to pay into belongs to FGN, I don’t even know.
I don’t know whether the charge by @FAAN_Official was legal. I intend to check. The guy couldn’t explain to me why I was pay N2,000 after paying N35,000 to @CustomsNG. He said it’s orders from above. E dey like I go take the rest of the week off, take do small wahala o. 😂 End.
Oh so, the court has even declared what they are doing as illegal? Let me pursue a refund.…
UPDATE: @FirstBankngr has confirmed that the bank account I paid cash into does indeed belong to @CustomsNG. They have promised to work with them to provide alternative payment options other than cash. At least that part has been clarified.

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More from @DrJoeAbah

3 Apr
Let me bring a different perspective to today’s #NaijaKnowledgeX. After a long hiatus, I will do a thread that will tell you what I think about an issue first, before inviting you to comment and share your own knowledge. Today, the topic is “Why Nations Succeed.” Thread...
Many academics, including Acemoglu and Robinson, have written about ‘Why Nations Fail.” They generally theorise that countries that are unsuccessful are successful because of their history and the choices they have made in the last and continue to make.
Essentially, if you choose to embezzle your electricity infrastructure money, you shouldn’t be surprised that you don’t have light. If you don’t respect contracts and have policy somersaults all the time, don’t be surprised that investors haven’t been coming. Simple really.
Read 7 tweets
10 Nov 20
It is important to have clarity on the issue of #EndSARS, because so many people are muddling up so many different issues:
1. The #EndsSARS protest was concerned with better policing, better governance & a better country. Thread...
2. The #EndSARS protests were peaceful. Perhaps the most peaceful was the one at the Lekki Tollgate. The military action against the Lekki Tollgate protesters, even before the commencement of the curfew, was, therefore, unnecessary and uncalled for.
3. The jail breaks, arson, looting and mayhem around the country before and after the Lekki Tollgate military intervention were not carried out by the peaceful #EndSARS protesters that were demanding for better policing, better governance and a better country.
Read 6 tweets
16 Oct 20
I welcome the 7-Point Demands in the public space, as a step forward in the #EndSARS #EndSWAT debate. However, although it is well intentioned, it needs much clearer articulation for it to have any effect. In the following short thread, I will offer some guidance. Thread...
1. Institutional Reform (Security): This is fine.
2. Cost of Governance: What RMAFC approves is not the problem. It is what people like NASS award to themselves, without approval from RMAFC or anyone else, that is the problem. The demand here should be reformulated.
3. Constitutional Reform: There is no provision for referendum in the current constitution, so it is impossible to have an immediate referendum. This demand needs to be reformulated.
4. Education Reforms: The term “State of Emergency” is meaningless without clearer articulation
Read 5 tweets
15 Oct 20
In the next few polls, let us try to isolate the issues around #EnsSARS and #EndSWAT. Do you agree that the @PoliceNG needs a specially trained and disciplined team that will tackle violent crime by dangerous criminals like armed robbers and not innocent citizens? Please vote.
Do you agree that any special police team created to tackle genuine criminals like armed robbers and kidnappers should not engage in stop and search of innocent citizens and youth, including harassing young people with phones, laptops and nice cars?
Do you agree that any special tactical team created to tackle armed robbery, kidnapping, bank robbery and kidnapping should not ordinarily be visible to the public and should only be called in when normal police cannot cope?
Read 6 tweets
14 Oct 20
I would like to explain my comments below, as it seems to have been misconstrued by some. I am not against the Youth identifying people that can engage with the government. Indeed, there is a danger that the movement will eventually fizzle out unless they do. Thread...
In an earlier thread, I had suggested that the Youth identify the best people to engage on their behalf with government at the highest levels. Please see the quoted tweet and thread. The challenge is the HOW. Apply your minds to the how. You are smart enough to think it through.
Therefore, my brother @OgbeniDipo did nothing wrong in proposing his own list and inviting a debate around it. My reference to “Ariwo ko ni music” was meant to convey that a good activist is not necessarily a good implementer. You need the activist but also the implementer.
Read 12 tweets
12 Oct 20
How do we solve this #SARSMUSTEND situation so that more people do not die? My 10-point approach:
1. The President, as the Chief Operational Controller of the Nigerian Police Force should order the Police to stop using live bullets on unarmed protesters.
2. The President or the VP should take visible personal charge of the situation, since the IGP has clearly lost credibility in the eyes of the public.
3. The IGP should consider stepping down to save more lives, or should be encouraged to do so. He is due to go soon anyway.
4. Although there is a lot of JUSTIFIABLE anger (especially with continuing killings), protests should continue to be peaceful and non-violent. Violent miscreants should be isolated, ostracised and reported as enemies of the reform cause.
Read 6 tweets

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