June 19, 2012 -
Nigerian ports are being introduced to using biometric cards to check for fraudulent practices, including those involving corrupt customs agents.
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA) is currently spearheading activities to check fraudulent practices among its agents.
The use of biometric cards, which is being pushed by leaders of customs agents, is said to address problems regarding unlicensed agents posing as legitimate agents while conducting fraudulent activities, or paying customs duties on behalf of their importers.
Alhaji Olayiwola Shittu, president of ANCLA told AllAfrica that the biometric card is being introduced as a reform measure to end “agbero” agents at the ports, adding that is aimed at curtailing “criminalities at the nation’s seaports.” He made it clear that no registered agent with biometric card will be involved in fraudulent transactions. The biometric card will contain biodata, fingerprints and photograph of a licensed agent.
Shittu pointed out the general benefits of using biometric cards include serving as ATMs so agents can pay sundry charges without carrying cash. It is transparent as card users, who are engaged in fraudulent transactions or trying to clear goods with fake documents, and can easily be traced by the association and Customs Service. It also serves as the association member card, and can monitor the status of the agent and payment of membership dues. Most importantly, it minimizes person-to-person contact as agents can complete all transactions online without going to the bank or ports.
To date, 402 companies with 488 staff have registered, and registration for the cards among ANCLA members is still ongoing in all ports and border stations throughout Nigeria.