Osita Patrick Chukwu (Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders) Government should beam searchlight on these entry points by providing functional scanners that can curtail these anomalies, if this is not done, the importers of these dangerous cargoes would continue, they are not sleeping, they are watching how things are going, now that customs is arresting them, they would start changing their routes. Before containers go out of the port, they should be properly scanned. Another solution is that Government should give stiff penalty to the country of origin where the import is coming from or give stringent measures in our diplomatic relationship with such country, we can blacklist them. There should be pre-scanning and destination inspection, if the destination inspection was still on, they would have detected these guns.
Simeon Olua (Freight Forwarder) Importation of arms and ammunitions through the seaport are politically masterminded by politicians. Also because of the agitations in the country today, some people are complaining they are being marginalised, when such actions are coming up, these aggrieved regions are agitating for one resources or the other and this has necessitated the importation of arms, they are all preparing for future occurrences. Moreover, we have not seen anybody that government has prosecuted over this importation of arms, no names have been mentioned, we want to see practical steps to show that government is serious about handling arms importation.
Chris Osunkwo (Retired spokesman, Tin Can Customs) Customs should reinforce the existing laws on arms importation and also strengthen the penalty for illegal importation of arms and ammunition to scare would-be and anticipatory offenders. Investigation of such cases should be well-funded and treated with dispatch instead of lasting a life time, all in the name of following procedure. The CGC's promotion of the officers involved in the seizure of the recent ones serves a great deal as the positive impact of motivation in public sector performance cannot be over emphasized.
Eugene Nweke (Former President, NAGAFF) The result of the investigation will help us. It is not for any stakeholder to proffer to government what to do in other to secure our territory and ports, it is a security issue they should know what to do. The government has what we call classified information and notice. If any other person proffers solution to the government, we can only be saying what we want, they know what to do, this has to do with security. They should use the information they have at hand to work towards that because it is a serious security issue. That is why I said nobody should tell me that the customs and the DSS were not able to fish out the perpetrators. The government needs information to work.
Austen Dikke Kalu (Secretary, NAGAFF Tin Can Chapter) Taking the case of Tin Can as a case study, everybody at Tin Can port is now seen as an arm clearing agent. The solution to this is that we have our agencies stationed abroad who are supposed to put checks and balances in place before goods are imported. When it comes to arms import which I believe can destabilize this country, the agencies must raise alarm, if they cannot stop it over there, they should inform the agencies here in Nigeria, this is the only way. The CG saying that he wants to suspend the ease of doing business is not the solution. The ports are even better, if you go to the borders, you would know that they are porous.
Dr Boniface Aniebonan (Founder NAGAFF)I don’t have advice for anybody, the people that are bringing in the arms into this country as far as I am concerned I see them as business men, that is why we have law. Arms importation under customs law falls under absolute prohibition; it is a clear case. That you saw that in Tin-Can or any other place does not make it an end. What will make it an end is the capacity of the government and stakeholders to give valid information. If they still want to make money, they should go ahead and make money and that is why somebody can be paid to go and assassinate somebody; he sees that as his own business. You are dealing with human beings so it is a societal issue. Government must do everything possible to provide all the requirements and logistics for the customs and other agencies of the government to be more proactive and respond to challenges. The issue now is to find out whether those people that brought the arms have the permission to do that. The only issue is these things going into wrong hands, that is where the government comes in. Somebody like me I am not worried about that. Now the border protection of Nigeria is quite obvious that is porous, look at the issue of Boko-Haram that means that the Nigerian territorial boundaries are not well protected, these are the issues.
Jonathan Nicole (Shippers Association)Unauthorised arms importations is prohibited; it is under prohibition list. So anybody or any person that imports arms into this country is not a friend to this country. It is simple, either you stop relationship from that country or stop importation from that country. The country had discussions with the port of loading, the government from where the goods came in and that is Turkey. It is a government- to - government thing, is it left for the federal government to discuss well with such country until they now begin to understand what we want and what we don’t.
Stanley EzengaThe government should install functional scanners at the seaports; this will prevent those arms from escaping from the ports;in as much as we encourage 100% physical examination. Looking at the side effect on trade facilitation, the easier way is to install scanners and then those countries from where the items are coming from should be profiled, so whatever goods that is coming from there should be on alert. There should also be information and intelligent sharing among the committee of nations from where most of our imports are coming from.