The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has urged members of the public to abide by customs and excise laws when conducting businesses with the service.
NCS Public Relations Officer, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi, gave the charge on Wednesday in Abuja in a statement.
Bomodi said the statement was necessitated by a video that had gone viral on social media to which the attention of the NCS had been drawn.
He added that the the incident in the video occurred at Customs Headquarters in Abuja on September 9, 2021.
Bomodi said NCS had never contemplated disrespect for the institution of Justice or those who represent it.
According to the NCS spokesman, as a law enforcement agency, its procedures and processes were designed to ensure administrative and operational efficiency and effectiveness.
The statement reads in part, “The individual being restrained in this video is a lawyer who came to represent a client whose car, a 2013 Lexus ES350 was seized by our operatives in one of our sting operations.
“On the day in question, the lawyer was admitted into Customs Headquarters in the company of two other lawyers, one of whom was his client.
” On being ushered into the investigation unit, they were requested to produce either the detention or seizure notice for the vehicle in question. This is a document issued to owners of goods seized or detained by Customs.”
Bomodi said that the request of the investigating officer was met with a negative response by the lawyers, who insisted that the investigating officer took his statement regardless of the fundamental breach in procedure.
He further explained that all attempts to explain the position of the Service regarding the issue was met with vehemence and contempt by the lawyers.
“This left the investigating officer with no option but to demand their exit from his office as their continued presence constituted an obstruction of duty.
“It contravenes Section 11, subsection (a) & (b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) especially when he had other persons to attend to.
” It was the unruly behavior of the lawyer at the investigation unit that called for him to be restrained and removed as clearly evidenced in the video.
”In restraining this lawyer, absolute care was taken to ensure that he came to no personal harm.
“Indeed his attitude was clearly at variance with that of his two other colleagues as he failed to comport himself in the manner beffiting of his noble profession,” he added.