Despite the recent collaboration and understanding between the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the Maritime Police command that already cleared cargoes should not be intercepted by the Police, fresh indications have emerged that the police are still intercepting containers.
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello had told Shipping Position Daily recently that if the maritime police suspect any cargo, they would have to write the Council first.
However, speaking with Shipping Position Daily, Chairman of PTML Chapter of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); Mr Oluwole Obe said that the police were still allegedly intercepting containers and demanding money.
He said the problem is further compounded because most clearing agents do not make honest declarations to the Customs and the police catch-in on these lapses.
Obe's position however negates the confirmation by the ANLCA national secretariat that indeed, the police has stopped intercepting containers and demanding bribe.
He alleged that maritime police was stopping containers in collaboration with some highly placed executives in ANLCA, and they share the money
Specifically, the PTML Chapter chairman said: "The police are still stopping containers coming out from the port, the Shippers Council directive is not effective"
"There is no way agents would not give money to the maritime police, I hate people telling lies, if the police stop your container, they have the right to stop it or suspect any container"
"If you refuse to settle them and you allow them to offload the content of the container, it is not all the cargoes in the container that you paid duty for"
"If you refuse to bribe the police, it means you want to expose yourself. Which job is straight forward at the port?
In the recent chat with our correspondent, the Shippers Council boss; Mr Hassan Bello confirmed that police were no longer checking containers on the highway because the shippers Council has stopped it through the assistance of the Inspector General of Police.
He said "Even if they are to check the containers as part of their constitutional duties, they have to do it through the Nigerian Shippers Council"
"Sometimes they could have reasonable suspicion that something is happening, it is their constitutional duty, but they have to do it through us because we know that time is of essence in cargo clearance, we don't want any hindrance to clearance of goods at the port", he had said.