The national vice president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight forwarders, Ibrahim Tanko, has warned that AP Muller Terminal platform is not meant for sleep, nor is it a playing ground for agents.
Tanko, who gave the warning after a security meeting at the ports, also reiterated the need to reduce crowd at the examination bays in the ports.
He, however, bemoaned the rising rate of crimes at the ports, adding that freight forwarders have lost much cargoes in the process of examining their containers at the examination bay.
“There is need to reduce crowd at the examination bay. We observed that about 50 – 60 people sleep at APMT platform. One day, a freight forwarder was traced from the platform to his house. Police investigations showed the suspect was one of those who sleep 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, be it the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs Service, NPA, DSS and others. APM Terminal don’t own the port, rather are partners. Since the platform housing Customs offices now belongs to Customs, as I am made to understand, Customs should then take charge,” he advised.
The coordinator of the 100 per cent compliance team of NAGAFF also said that agents had lost many items under the pretext of sampling.
“We are losing a lot of money as a result of sampling. 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. This is what we are suffering here,” he said.
Tanko stated that containers seized by NCS and kept at designated area were broken into by these wharf rats, who cart away the cargoes, especially Tramadol.
He described the nefarious activities as an organised crime, and called for drastic step to be taken to flush out these miscreants from the port.
In his reaction, the Customs Area Controller, Apapa, Premier Command, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta, commended the convener of the meeting, Tanko, for his concerns and initiatives.
Malanta stated that his Command had already taken steps to reduce the crowd by introducing permit tag for its examination officers, adding that these officers cannot access the bay without the tag that has their picture and name.
He also said it had created tags for clearing agents, whose consignments had been positioned for examination, as well as placed enforcement officers to secure the platform.
The chief security officer of Nigerian Ports Authority further harped on the need for proper and effective issuance of the permit as well as setting up of a joint security night patrol which will involve Customs, police and compliance team to fish out the criminals.
Also, maritime labour, which spoke through the representative of President of the Maritime Workers Union, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, blamed the security agents for security lapses at the port.
The port police, however, denied any knowledge of the incidents hence no report had been formally brought to its knowledge.
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