Who is to blame for the recent face-off between Customs and NPA officials  at Tin Can port?

 Mr. Deola Suleiman (ANLCA)

The issue is not only about NPA and the Customs; it is between NPA and the stakeholders which customs is one of the stakeholders. Now the issue of port pass and identity cards, we don’t know how many ID cards we want to carry about. NPA has started asking for port pass which is very wrong because the ports have been privatized and each terminal controls their access gates. Like Grimaldi introduced access cards to their own terminals. Why will the NPA ask for access on the main road before you can assess the ports? which is very wrong. NPA said we should apply for port pass which we did but to our surprise, I applied around August but they rejected our letters that they have stopped issuing port pass. They have stopped issuing port pass so why are they now asking for port pas again, it is totally wrong.

Nnadi Ugochukwu(NAGAFF)  

In fact, I am a member of the ports working committee and customs are also our members. At the meeting, what NPA said was if anybody can come to the gate and identify himself whether with our without port pass if he can identify himself with valid identity card as regards to where the person is going, they will allow the person to pass. So when the customs officer came and was not in uniform and could not identify himself because everybody would not know him because it is not written on his face that he is a custom officer, so that maybe what happened. This could be what happened; it could be as a result of communication breakdown. 

Chief Achike Molokwu (ANLCA)

The NPA security unit needs to be blamed totally, because when some of us investigated the issue we were told that the customs officer brought out his identity card and showed the NPA security personnel that was the first day they started the issue of port pass. It’s like the security was ignorant because what they told them to go and check was port pass. So anything less than port pass does not concern them, not knowing that the person is an officer and you pushed him out to go and get his port pass. And the officer was annoyed and the customs enforcement came, it  was later understood and they apologized at the end of the day and normalcy returned. 

Mr. Peter Ojo (ANLCA)

I met the NPA Chief Security Officer and I told him they were totally wrong when you say you want to man the gate, which of the gates are you manning? Nobody is saying that ports should not be a restricted area, but it has to do the areas that have been in existence. NPA gave people offices around the ports and because you don’t want people to enter the ports you want to deny people access to their offices. Where they took their restrictions to were quite wrong and I told them. 

Akpamgbo Charles (ARRFN Chairman Tin Can)

It was an avoidable misunderstanding; something that could have been avoided, NPA, like I told them yesterday did not carry the stakeholders along, if they had carried the stakeholders along, it is our duty then to sensitize our members that this is what is on ground, after all it is for the security of all and sundry, but be that as it may, I am  happy at the end of the day that it was amicably resolved. Stanley Ezenga (NAGAFF PRO)

The port is the customs port, but NPA is the landlord, the same way FAAN  is at the airport, but we still have customs there, so all entry points to the country is owned by the customs, because they regulate the influx of goods. NPA only provides pilotage and security but the customs are the one in charge of ports. I wouldn’t say NPA is at fault but the faceoff calls for synergy between the government agencies, they cannot afford to be working across purposes because they are all working to achieve the same goal. Dennis Atuoku (Stakeholder)

I will not want to blame anybody, the issue is that the port has been concessioned, you cannot rent a house and the landlord will be checkmating your customers, this is NPA environment but they have concessioned it, although they can keep security watch, but they cannot be stop people from accessing some company facility, if I rent a house you cannot tell me nobody should come in, they have so many tenants, PTML, Ports and Cargo, Five stars and so on, all they need to do is to tighten the security and stop harassment. Uche Ejieseme (Tin Can Customs PRO)

Thank you for this question, this is an opportunity to disabuse the mind of those who went to the media to insinuate that Customs and NPA are fighting over gate control, there was actually nothing like that, it’s just a little misunderstanding and a breach of communication. Over the years, agencies have overgrown this attitude of unnecessary rivalry, everybody have come to realize that everybody is working for the same goal, you can’t blame the officer who came to work in mufti, due to states of our roads, and perhaps the NPA official wasn’t sure if he was an officer, but we try as much as possible to quickly resolve the issue, and that was what led the CAC, directed that a custom officer should be part of it security process.