FG Moves To Address Heavy Human Traffic At Nigerian Ports    

• To Introduce Biometric Cards

The Federal Government has said that it introducing a biometric identity card to everyone doing business at the port, even as it has said that every freight forwarder must be registered with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) 

Disclosing this last week in Abuja, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi lamented that Nigerian ports are so disorganized and entry into the port was an all-comers affair, unlike what obtains in other advanced countries of the world where access into the port is controlled.

The minister disclosed that a directive has since been given to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to coordinate the process of issuing the access control cards, even as he wondered why the NPA have not done so.

He said that porosity of Nigerian ports was main reason the United States of America continually inspects  Nigerian ports and its compliance to the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code after which a clean bill of health is passed to the country.

"We went to America and they were very angry with us because of people that walk into our seaports, the port is a security zone, that's why they board our ship before entering their waters because of Boko Haram"

"They come here three times a year to certify our seaports and give us clearance to berth like others"

"NPA was with us on that trip and I have told them to do this, I don't know why they have not, that only those with the identity can enter the port", he said.

"When we got to the port facility, they gave us what to wear, the person leading us has his own biometric card, until he swipes it, nobody enters the seaport despite the fact that they have checked us before. But here in Nigeria, somebody from Ikorodu can just come and walk in straight into the seaport, it’s so disorganized", he lamented.

Amaechi also charged the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to address the excess charges at the port. He said that any freight forwarder seeking entrance into the port must first be registered with the Council.

He said that he would be meeting with the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Alli to ensure that customs license is not issued to anyone without CRFFN registration.

"While we check people who enter the seaport, we should also check people who do business inside the port; I will insist that only those registered with CRFFN can do business in the port"

"Agents of NPA and Customs should brief them, tell them I want to have a meeting with the CG of Customs, when I am going I will go with the law, the law is very clear about Freight Forwarding"

Amaechi who was inaugurating the new governing board of the CRFFN charged the Council members on their responsibilities.

"Your first assignment is to know how you would do your business in such a manner that it does not affect other people commercially, because whatever charge you gave, you don't get the charge, it is the populace that bears it"

"Over-charging makes it difficult for anybody to come and do business. You also go and sit in your organization and see how you can run the organization such that the populace does not get excess charges and advice government on how to reduce such charges" he said.