Nigeria Customs Services explores the possibility of setting up a Customs Laboratory

09 February 2024

From 29 January to 1 February 2024, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) hosted a national workshop on Customs laboratories with the aim of conducting a scoping exercise for setting up a national Customs laboratory. The workshop was delivered by the WCO within the framework of the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union. The workshop was facilitated by a WCO recognized Customs chemist from the Spanish Customs Administration.

In his opening remarks, Mr. CG Niangwan, Assistant Comptroller General of the NSC, confirmed the commitment of NCS in implementing a modern Customs laboratory as another step in the modernization of his Administration. He stressed the importance of Customs laboratories for the purposes of revenue collection, drug enforcement, protection of the society and the environment as well as trade facilitation.

The discussions of the workshop varied from focusing on the WCO Customs laboratory Guide, sampling procedures, analysis of narcotics, security and safety issues, as well as laboratory information management systems (LIMS). It was highlighted that the establishment of a Customs laboratory in Nigeria would address key challenges in customs operations. The structure and the functioning of the Customs Laboratory European Network (CLEN) was discussed for a deeper understanding of the participants. The workshop also served as a forum for in depth discussions and knowledge exchange on a number of areas not limited to the WCO Regional Customs Laboratory, and of the possibilities that the instruments developed by CLEN might offer to the NCS. The expert visited several locations considered for setting up the future laboratory in Abuja to examine their suitability for that purpose.

Moreso, the workshop was also an opportunity for participants to deepen their knowledge and underscore the need for relevant technical standards for a customs laboratory with regard to the infrastructure, equipment and staffing levels. The comprehensive insights from the discussions enabled an assessment for the way forward and concrete action for establishing a Customs laboratory network in NCS.

In his closing remarks, Mr. I Alfa, Assistant Comptroller General of the NSC, thanked the WCO and the European Union for the support and collaboration in this area of Customs work, and expressed his Administration’s interest in becoming part of the WCO Regional Customs Laboratories Programme.

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