The Deputy Comptroller, Enforcement Unit of the Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Dera Nnadi, has blamed corruption at the ports on the choice of officials and importers to circumvent the law.

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According to Nnadi, corruption thrives when importers do not meet the requirements for clearing goods.

He said this while responding to a question by the Chief Executive Officer of the Convention on Business Integrity, Soji Apampa, during a webinar on Tuesday.

He said, “What entrenches corruption is when you do not meet requirements.

“Rather than force you to meet requirements, both parties try to circumvent what the law provides and it becomes a major challenge.

“We as regulatory agencies frown on it because once you sustain such habits, you erode the confidence the international community will have in our society and definitely, it will impact negatively on our negotiations and transactions when we go for international trade.”

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Nnadi noted that while Standard Operating Procedures could be incorporated into the seaports, it was hard to legislate values like integrity and general conduct of people.

He said, “You cannot legislate the character and conduct of people.

“You can establish an SOP that is supposed to be standardised but you cannot legislate how I will act as an individual.”

Nnadi singled out Maersk shipping line for exhibiting “zero tolerance” for corruption.

He said on the part of the Customs, the organisation had continued to discourage sharp practices at the ports.