16 October 2013, Lagos – THE Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has begun an inventory and evaluation of the scanning machines to ascertain the state of the machines ahead of the December 1, take over date.
While speaking with the service spokesman, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs said that consultants and experts including the manufacturers of the (Smith of France) were all brought to carry out test of the machines.
Adeniyi also said that more than 500 of the newly recruited men and officers of the service will be deployed to both the information technology and scanning departments.
He disclosed that in the course of evaluating the machines, it was discovered that the maintenance of the scanners had been compromised.
He added that the development will not in any way stop the take over of the scanning machines by the Nigerian Customs Service.
The Customs spokesman disclosed that the maintenance of the machines were sub-contracted to consultants other than the manufacturers.
Adeniyi further reiterated that the integrity of the machines in terms of maintenance have been compromised.
“We had to go the manufacturers, the Comptroller-General led the delegation to Smith in France. Customs will be using the machines and since the machines will be inherited by Customs, we will want them to come and validate the state of these machines.
“They were quite open and that was when we learnt that so much has happened to compromise these machines in term of maintenance.
“So we now have to go back to the drawing board to create new templates to be able to maintain these machines when they are up and running and the move also helped us to determine the true state of the machines so we will be taking possession of half dead machines and then create a bigger problem for us when we take over.”
Meanwhile, a member of the Committee set up by the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala on the hand over, and who also refused to have his name in print, said that the Customs is trying to paint the service providers in bad light so as to ensure that nothing comes between them and the take over.
The member said that contrary to Customs claims, the scanning machines are in good condition and are ready to be handed over to the Customs because that was part of the agreement between the government and service providers.
*Godwin Oritse, Vanguard