Alhaji Tanko who accused SON, NAFDAC of collecting many samples without returning them back after testing, lamented that importers and freight forwarders have suffered untold losses as a result.’ .
He disclosed that his Organisation had petitioned the Office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and copied the Directors General of NAFDAC and SON, the Commissioner of Police Ports, APM Terminal as well as the two Ministers namely; the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Transportation on the matter., adding that starting from this week, they were going to stop these Agencies from collecting further samples.
“This year, we want to start from the SON and the NAFDAC on the issue of excess sampling that they are collecting in the port. We lost huge amount of money last year and we don’t want to continue with the trend this year. The last time we know, the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala sent them out of the ports, telling them to be operating from their offices. We spent almost five to six years working like that and nothing happened. We don’t know how they started finding their way back to the port.
“ The order said that they are to come in only on request by the customs but we now understand that they no longer come on request rather they come there on their own, they examine every container and carry samples. What baffles me most is that they don’t have limit to the number of samples that they collect. They collect as many samples as they can and they don’t return them.”
“When we finish with the SON and NAFDAC, we are proceeding to the shipping companies and terminal operators, then to other agencies like NDLEA, Plant Quarantine, DSS and so on.”
He however stressed the need for port operators to adhere to extant rules noting that they embarked on campaigns to sensitize the port operators last year on the need for everyone to comply with extant rules, while urging freight forwarders and Customs Agents to be united and speak with one voice to achieve more.