Ugochukwu Nnadi (Deputy President, NAGAFF)If the government buys new scanners, who would operate them, and if they should repair the one they have, who would manage it? I would just advise them to concession out the scanning projects in the port to private operators. The NPA just imposed a bill of N40, 000 for 20foot containers and N76, 000 for forty foot containers without explanation, if they should now input N15, 000 per TEU for scanning of every container coming to the ports; I don’t think that is too much, it is part of the security of the nation. The N15, 000 is nothing compared to the N75, 000 NPA added to port charges without informing anybody, they have not told anybody what they are doing with the proceeds of that money; you can imagine the amount of money they are collecting through it. Private individuals should be contracted to scan these containers even before they are dropped into the terminals, as they are offloading from the ships, the scanner is picking it up, if there is anyone that needs attention would be sent for physical examination.
Dr. Farinto Kayode (National Publicity Secretary, ANLCA)How can we be repairing the old scanners, the scanners at our ports are obsolete scanners, the customs should go for new scanners, not just new scanners but one that can scan all items. The scanners at the port are obsolete, I don’t know about maintenance but government should just go for new scanners.
Austen Kelly (Customs Licensed Agent)The best advice is for government to buy new scanning machines at the port, the ones they installed at the ports are refurbished scanners, they were purchased on trial basis, and now that they have seen that it cannot work, it is better they buy new ones. When the destination inspection agents were in place, we were thinking they don’t know what they were doing, and they were busy short changing Nigeria, this is why they installed obsolete and outdated scanning machines, even when the scanners were working, we still go back for 100percent cargo examination, this shows that the machines cannot identify anything properly. Instead of cutting corners, government should go all out and buy new machines, it is very important equipment for the port, and the government has the money.
Timothy Adebowale (Treasurer, ANLCA at Tin Can Chapter)It is better for government to repair the existing scanners because we have found out that scanning machines are too expensive, even the ones we have at our ports now are not spoilt, what happened to these scanners is lack of maintenance, the scanners were not maintained, there was a seminar I attended the other time and customs was appealing that the scanners should be handed over to the people that would maintain it and that their own job is just to operate it, customs are not meant to maintain the scanners, they are meant to operate it, but instead of our government looking for service providers that would be maintaining it, they failed to do that, I can tell you categorically that if they should buy new scanners, it would also fail if they do not maintain it.
Mathew Alalade (President, Merchant Navy Senior Staff)I think they should try and put the ones we have in order because I believe that if we want to stop corruption, there is need for efficient scanners in our ports, but because of corruption the scanners are not working. The scanners have been working before, so why did they suddenly stop working? I think it is because they want to promote corruption. If the scanners are working, all these illegal arms importations would have been detected earlier but because the scanners are not working it was difficult to detect. I think they should repair the old ones what we want is let there be scanners at the ports.
Stanley Ezenga (Public Relations Officer, NAGAFF) You know the ones that were there before were installed by the service providers, I don’t know if they were built in the ports or transferred to the place. I can’t really tell their terms of agreement, but whatever the case may be, now that they are no longer working, there is need to install new scanners to avoid what has happened in the past and they should also put a measure to ensure that they are maintained. Because, I am sure that when they install new scanners, the people that did the installation will teach them how to maintain the scanners. They will tell them from onset how to maintain the scanners.
Jones Idemili (ARFFN)It depends on the extent of the damage on the old scanners, if they can be repaired; government should do that and maintain them. The problem is maintenance and human resource to manage the machines. However, if there are other ones that are better than this, the government should try and replace the ones we don’t have. I don’t really support the idea of bringing new ones if we can maintain the old ones. The problem we have in this country is that we don’t have maintenance culture. I think that buying new scanners should be for commands that do not have scanners at all, the existing ones should be repaired. The government should beef up manpower to manage them.
Emmanuel Agubanze (NAGAFF Chieftain)What has happened was that immediately the service providers handed over to the Nigerian Customs Service, the whole equipment broke down because the equipment in the first place were obsolete. I think what the government should do now is to establish a group of experts and professionals that will now help the customs since they are now talking about transferring the scanners to the customs. The experts will liaise with the customs to ensure that any scanner that is going to come into this country now will be state-of-the-art and modern scanner, they should be new scanners. The ones they brought before were unserviceable. So I will advice the government to show due diligence in the importation of those scanners that will be coming in for the Customs so that we will not find ourselves in this kind of mess in the future.