The 100 percent Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has raised alarm over seeming ineffectiveness of the recently installed scanners at the Nigerian Ports
The Coordinator of the team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko on Thursday lamented that the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service now rely on informants to detect the contents of container rather than the use of the scanners.
Tanko made the revelation at a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday.
Recall that two weeks ago, the Minister of Finance, Budget and planning Mrs Zainab Ahmed, installed three scanners at the Apapa Port.The minister had said the installation would facilitate trade and ease of business.
However few weeks after the scanners have been put on scrutiny.
Tanko lamented the activities of informants in the port who pass information to government agencies have resulted in delays and demurrage payments by importers and agents.
“Informants have taken over the business of freight forwarding” he lamented. He said the informants working in conjunction with the Port Security office(PSO), pass wrong information to government agencies and that will result to your container being brought back for re-examination.
He said, “They will take the number of your container through the office of the PSO to Customs Federal Operations Unit (FOU), who will now order the container to be brought back for re-examination. After the container has been re-examined and nothing found, the FOU will now contact Abuja for directives on what next to do.
“Meanwhile, a week or two has passed, demurrage has accumulated. Who pays the demurrage? It is still the importer or the agent that will pay.The Area Comptroller of the command does not even have powers to release the container. Order must come from Abuja before the container can be released,” he added.
He lamented that a lot of people have fallen victim to this development as a result of information passed to the agencies by the informants.
“The informants have caused a lot of people to go bankrupt. And we want to put a stop to their activities.We are therefore declaring war against informants in the ports.They have taken informant activity as business.In fact informants are like kidnappers ” he declared.
Tanko wondered why the customs should rely more on the informants more than the the installed scanners. He noted that lack of trust is a major issue amongst the Customs.
He said this development has put a question mark on the ability of the Scanners to detect drugs and other prohibited items.
“If the scanners cannot detect or identify these things, it therefore implies that the scanners are ineffective. If the scanner cannot detect guns that have been dismantled into parts and packaged as spare parts, it means the scanner is not giving us what we want,” he said.
Adding that, “We must have a scanner that can detect guns .We should be security conscious.Therefore, if the scanners cannot detect drugs it should be changed because the reason for the machine is security.”
Tanko added that the compliance Team is doing everything possible to unravel those who are behind the informants who have made nonsense of the drive for trade facilitation.
According to him, investigation has revealed that there is a connectivity between the shipping company, the shipper and other agencies in this business of “informants”.
He assured that his team will do everything humanly possible to bring those behind this dastardly act to book.