Chief Mike Ekeocha (Apapa Chapter Chair, Igbo Maritime)
Chief Mike Ekeocha (Apapa Chapter Chair, Igbo Maritime)
Right now, there is no corruption in the port, Customs are siting up tight, gone are those days that you see corrupt and sharp practices. Customs is no longer compromising as of today, there is a lot of DN being issued and people are paying, but what agents are saying is that if this thing will continue, then no customs officer should try to dehumanize any agent, oppress them of frustrate their cargoes by delaying them in order to get something from them. If it is on this corruption, we are ready to cooperate and we have told our men to cooperate, gone are those days that people engage in sharp practices, let us sit down and work with the government, since they have promised to stem corruption.?
Fred Adjuzie (Chairman NAGAFF, Apapa)
There is corruption everywhere, if we are looking at only the port we might not tell ourselves the truth, there is corruption everywhere, NNPC, Customs and what have you. Terminal operators are not even the issue when it comes to corruption, these people are only doing their legitimate work, what they are doing is what they are statutorily meant to do, people that are delaying work mostly at the port thereby allowing the terminal operator to charge demurrage are the customs. If you perform your examination today and customs release your cargo tomorrow, the terminal operator has nothing in that, but if customs delay your job for whatever reason?, the terminal operator will be collecting demurrage, this is customs port; any delay is the fault of customs.
Emmanuel Onyeme (PRO, ANLCA at Tin Can Port)
There is serious corruption in the maritime industry, starting with the shipping companies, every one of them have their own bills and the way they charge, it is not a uniformed bill compared to other countries. The same thing applies to the terminal operators, the last strike embarked upon recently by the truckers, I expect the terminals not to charge anybody because the transporter are part of the chain in the industry, there are some terminal operators that claim to be working on public holidays and bill everybody, the government should review the laws that brought in the shipping companies and concessionaire because as it is, the Nigerian Shippers Council are not doing their job and there is massive corruption in the sector. On the part of the customs, the President has done well by appointing a new CG for customs, as it is now, every officer is careful with their jobs now so that they don’t make mistakes.
Kanikwu Chucks Davids (Secretary, Tin Can Chapter, ANLCA)
There is no system that is free of vices and Nigerian port system cannot be an exception, all over the world you cannot measure one port that is corrupt than the other, but how do we minimize it in our port system? The fight against corruption is ?a continuous thing, you cannot wipe it out, it is systemic and also individualistic, what you refer to as fraud might not be called fraud in some other parlance. For example, we need to ask, what kind of fraud, is it money exchanging hands before a job is done, is it terminal operators? that keep charging people for services not rendered? Is it a system where shipping companies and terminal operators form an association in order to force ridiculous prices on the port users? They are all forms of corruption. But our Nigerian port system will be free of corruption if all players obey their economic and commercial regulators, they don’t obey Shippers Council, they have outgrown NPA so they are harbingers of corruption. Speaking of the Customs Service, government has never said their money is missing, no officer has ever collected revenue and took it home, if I would blame customs at all, I will base it on PAAR, they are now using it to arm-twist agents in collecting unattainable revenue.
Dr Boniface Aniebonam (Founder, NAGAFF)
In my opinion, the Nigeria Customs Service can not be separated from the society in matters of corruption. The truth is that there is a system failure in the act of good governance in Nigeria resulting to public disorder and corruption. The remote course of corruption in the Nigerian ports is the non-compliant attitude of stakeholders to the rules of engagement and the inability of government operatives to enforce set standards and the law.
The going forward is that Col Hameed Ali (rtd) should visit the ports and confer with stakeholders to chart a course of new order in line with his mandate to reform, restructure and enhance revenue collection. Corruption is the highest level of human rights abuse which must be stopped by joining Mr President’s effort in that regard.
Festus Ejiofor (NCMDLCA)
There used to be corruption in the ports system back in the day, but as we speak the fear of President Muhammadu Buhari is the beginning of change and of course, wisdom. I strongly believe that with the change we are talking about, corruption is now a thing of the past.
Osita Chukwu (Coordinator, SNFFIEC)
It will be difficult to eliminate corruption from the port system because it is endemic and it cuts across all sectors aside maritime or the ports. It’s a general thing, but in our own domain every finger is pointing at customs , we the agents, shipping companies and terminal operators but all have sinned and failed in that regards. And I will say that those who come with equity should come with clean hands. The Nigeria police as we speak are also making things difficult for agents due to corrupt practices at the ports. There is need to investigate the police
Eniola Odulaja (Stakeholder)
It is not new that corruption exist in our ports because as far as I am concerned, such practice is a global thing. Look at FIFA for example. In my own view there is no way corruption can be eliminated rather the government should look for ways to reduce the act.