Following the spike in the level of insecurity at Lagos port, stakeholders in the maritime industry have raised an alarm regarding the rising rate of crime in the port.
Freight agents lamented that they have lost lots of cargoes in the process of examination of their containers at the examination bay.
The National Coordinator, NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko who made this known on Thursday while briefing the media on the outcome of the security meeting held at the Customs Area Controller’s office on Tuesday in Apapa, Lagos also disclosed that the freight agents have lost items in the name of sampling.
“We are losing a lot of money as a result of sampling. Almost all the agencies; Customs, NDLEA, DSS, Labour take samples when it is the duty of NAFDAC and SON that officially has the right to take sample items after which they are returned to their owners and there are procedures for sampling, this is what we are suffering here”, he said.
Alhaji Tanko stated that number of times, containers seized by Nigeria Customs Service and kept at designated areas were broken by thieves and goods carted away.
The 100% Compliance Team Coordinator who was the convener of the meeting, described the nefarious activities as an organised crime, and called for drastic step to be taken to flush out these miscreants from the port.
“There is need to reduce crowd at the Examination Bay. We observed that about 50 to 60 people sleep in APMT platform. One day, a freight forwarder was traced from the platform to his house and in the process, the police investigations showed the suspect was one of those who sleeps on that platform. The APM Terminal is not a sleeping place nor a football field. Those doing that should stop.
“Everybody has a role to play; both the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs Service, NPA, DSS and others. APM Terminal are not the owners of the port, rather partners. Since the platform housing Customs offices now belong to Customs as I am made to understand, Customs should then take charge.
Reacting to the precarious security situation at the port, according to him, the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Command, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta commended the Convener of the meeting, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko for his concerns and initiatives.
Comptroller Malanta reportedly stated that his Command had already taken steps to reduce the crowd by introducing Customs permit Tag for Customs examination officers, adding that that Customs officers who are to conduct examinations of containers cannot access the bay without the Tag which will have the officers picture and name.
Continuing, he said they had also created Tags for clearing agents whose consignments had been positioned for examination, as well as placed enforcement officers to secure the platform.
The union, adding their voice through the representative of the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria; Prince Adewale Adeyanju commended the convener of the meeting and also blamed the security agents for the security lapses at the port.