By Sandra Chukwunyere
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Wednesday tasked journalists to objective and balance in their reports and maintain media ethics and ethos while disseminating information to the public.
The Commandant, Customs Training College, Ikeja, Comptroller Mustapha Sarkin-Kebbi gave the advice at the seminar organised by the NCS for Customs correspondents in Lagos.
The seminar had the theme: Responsible Report of Customs Operations: Imperative for National Security and Economy.According to Sarkin-kebbi, Customs is a highly technical Services and if one is not abridged of a situation at a particular time, the person will report the issue wrongly.
“For an example and unfortunately, more than 50 per cent of imports are cleared with a lot of irregularities, under declaration, false declaration and when such infraction are discovered, those goods are seized.
His words: “The point here is that the reporter may not know of the bridge in import procedures and the next thing is to write that Customs are harassing people, creating problems and not facilitating trade.
“When such happens, it is the duty of the reporter to get to the root of the case and do an appropriate reportage,” he said”.
Explaining further, Sarkin-Kebbi pointed out that the seminar came at an appropriate time considering the situation in the country, adding that with the caliber of resource person that at highly knowledgeable, he believed the workshop would achieve its aim.
In a remark, the National Public Relations Officer, NSC, Deputy ComptrollerJoseph Attah while giving the preview of the course content noted that if one was desirous of a proper country, everyone must be ready to embark on a journey of self sacrifice.
According to Attah, over the years, implementation of the NCS functions have continued to attract mixed reactions both positive and negative and so the need to sensitive the public on some critical issues.
He said: “NCS needs to form string of partnership with people and to achieve this, the media becomes critical for public sensitisation and customs is making conscious effort to cultivate and nuture that relationship in such a way that the media are well informed of customs operations,” he said.
Earlier in an address, Mr Adeleye Ajayi, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalist while speaking on Media Relations Best Practice, urged public relations of organization to make themselves accessible to the media so that the right information could be got from them.
He urged journalists in providing their services, they should be themselves, remember time was valuable, respect people’s deadline, be persistent and not annoying, use public relations companies effectively and others.
Deputy Comptroller, Anthony Ayalogu in his paper presentation, ‘African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Understanding Free Trade and the Challenges of Regulation noted that simplifying formal import and export process would ensure the success of AfCFTA.
Ayalogu said that simplifying import/export process would make people who are in the informal trade to come in and an account of their trade taken-in. He listed other AfCFTA strategies for success as; introduction of effective penal for I fractions, capacity building, centralization of external trade agreements and others.
The training scheduled for 7th and 8th ,April 2021 at the Customs Training College, Ikeja, Lagos.