Stakeholders in the Maritime Industry have expressed concern over the rising wave of crime in the Port.
The National Coordinator, NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko who made this known while briefing the Press on the outcome of the Security meeting held at the Customs Area Controller’s office, Apapa Command, Lagos Tuesday lamented that importers have lost so many goods by way of sampling.
“We are loosing a lot of money as a result of sampling. Almost all the agencies like Customs, NDLEA, DSS, Labour take samples when it is the duty of NAFDAC and SON to collect items for sampling after which they are returned to their owners and there are procedures for sampling.This is what we are suffering here”, he said.
Alhaji Tanko observed that a number of times, containers seized by Nigeria Customs Service kept at designated areas were tampered with by those he described as “wharf rats” who carted away the cargoes, especially the banned drug, Tramadol.
The 100% Compliance Team Coordinator described the theft as an organised crime , and called for drastic steps to address the situation.
“There is need to reduce crowd at the Examination Bay.
We observed that about 50 – 60 people sleep in APMT platform. One day a freight forwarder was traced from the platform to his house and in the process The police investigations showed the suspect was one of those who sleep on that platform. The APM Terminal is not a sleeping place nor a football field. Those doing that should stop
“Everybody, including officers and men of Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs Service, NPA, DSS and others, has a role to play. APM Terminal are not the owners of the port, rather partners. Since the platform housing Customs offices now belongs to Customs, Customs should then take charge”, he pointed.
Reacting on the precarious security situation at the port, the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Premier Command, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta who commended the Convener of the meeting, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko for the novel initiative
disclosed that his Command had already taken steps to reduce the crowd at the examination bay with the introduction of Customs Permit Tag for Customs examination officers.
He made it clear that Customs officers who are to conduct examinations cannot access the bay without the Tag which has the officers picture and name.
Continuing he said, they had also created Tags for clearing agents whose consignments have been positioned for examination, as well as placed enforcement officers to secure the platform.
The Chief Security Officer (CSO),Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who represented the Agency, on his part harped on the need for proper and effective issuance of the permit as well as called for the setting up of Joint Security Night Patrol which would involve Customs, Police and Compliance Team to fish out the criminals.
Adding his voice through his representative, the President of the Maritime Workers Union, Prince Adewale Adeyanju gave kudos to the convener of the meeting and however blamed the security agents for the security lapses at the port.
The Port Commissioner of Police, denied any knowledge of the pilfering by the miscreants, stressing that no report had been formerly brought to his knowledge.
He however commended Tanko for the novel initiatiative and assured of the Police readiness to swing into action to stem the tide of those criminals while calling for effective communication.
Those who attended the meeting included The CAC, Apapa Command, Controller Yusuf Malanta, The Port Police Commissioner, .
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) represented by Chief Security officer, The DSS,Mekura, the Contractor of Labour, the President Of Maritime Labour, APMT, NAGAFF, and AREFFN.
Photo: From .>L Chukwuemeka Iwegbuna , Western Zonal Secretary, Nagaff 100 % Compliance Team, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, National Coordinator, Nagaff 100%Compliance Team, Bart.Okeke, Chief of Staff to National Coordinator.