Stakeholders at the Lillypond Container Terminal has called on the newly promoted Customs Area Controller (CAC) in the command, Comptroller Talatu Isa to sustain the gains made in the last few months following the successful turnaround of that almost moribund terminal.
The stakeholders who had earlier gathered at the command to celebrate the recent promotion given to the Controller who before now was a Deputy Controller was full of appreciation for the level of activity going on in the command recently.
Speaking to newsmen, the Chairman, Igbo Maritime Forum, Ijora/Lillypond Chapter, Chief Lawrence Ubah thanked the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Alhaji Dr. Dikko Inde Abdullahi who he said made it a point of duty to personally visit the command and held several meetings with AP Moller Management and some shipping companies with a view to revitalizing the command.
Chief Ubah disclosed that the outcome of that effort by the Comptroller General was the total revamp the command and the terminal was witnessing adding that the sustainability of the success recorded therein was courtesy of the new Controller, which the command now has.
According to him, “although the baton was handed over by the former Controller, Willy Egbudin but the present controller has been able to maintain the tempo and sustain it. That is why you see Lillypond like this, booming and we are happy working and we are enjoying it”.
He recalled that the problem started when Maersk Line, a subsidiary of AP Moller Terminals wanted to use the terminal as an empty container depot, which the then controller resisted, they denied the terminal of consignments as a tool to force the Customs Area Controller to succumb to their demands, an action which drew the attention of the Comptroller General of Customs who maintained that the command was a creation of the Federal government and that no organization can turn it to anything because they were having challenges or because that was what they wanted.
He revealed that the intervention by the Comptroller General of Customs not only saved the situation but also brought about the increased activity being witnessed in that command.
The Igbo Maritime Forum boss therefore advised the CAC to maintain the momentum of activities as she inherited it from the former CAC.
“What I would say that we needed from her is to maintain the momentum. From our perspective as Ndi Igbo working here in Lllypond, we noted that the trend set by the former Controller is okay, we only need sustainability from her. Maintaining that the flow of allocation of containers to Lillypond is not cut, maintaining that delivery as it is now is not cut instead improves. With that, we will be okay”.
He however disclosed that they were happy with the activities of all the agencies working at the terminal as according to him, they were okay with the services rendered to them even as he confessed that the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) had not fully taken off in the command.
Also speaking, the Chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Lillypond Chapter, Rev. Emmanuel Agubanze stated that it is one thing to achieve success another to sustain the success so achieved calling on the CAC to brace to the challenges ahead as to meet up with the expectations of the stakeholder in the command.
“Before now, we have a situation where there is virtually no consignment to Lillypond here but things are turning, vessels are coming. So the major challenge now is for us to sustain it, for all hands to be on deck both the customs officers, the agents and all the other stakeholders so that this place will be customer friendly”.
“The Woman should maintain her posture of customer friendly Customs Area Controller. If she does that, that is the challenge and it is a very big challenge because it is one thing to achieve success, another thing to sustain that success”, Agubanze said. He maintained that the terminal operators of the terminal were not leaving up to the expectations saying that there were some delays in the positioning of containers for examination, offloading containers that were stemmed to the terminal as well as in loading containers for exit owing to insufficient equipment.
The NAGAFF boss poured encomium on the newly promoted CAC describing her as a gold fish that has no hiding place.
On his part, the Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service, Lillypond Command, Mr. Charles Agommuo described the command as user friendly and a good trade facilitator where 18-hour cargo clearance instead of the 48 hour is possible since the coming on board of the new CAC.
Agommuo revealed that Lillypond command is a command with paraphernalia of an Area Command, which is headed by an Area Controller, Deputy Controllers and other ranks.
He recalled that last year the terminal operators wanted to cede the Lillypond command to Apapa Area Command but for the timely intervention of the Comptroller General of Customs who told them that Lillypond is a command that would remain a command.
He appreciated the Comptroller General of Customs for his intervention, which he said, saved the command from imminent extinction.