Freight forwarders raise alarm over rise in criminal activities at Apapa port


…Adopt measures to checkmate criminal operations

Freight forwarders in the maritime Industry have raised an alarm over to rising rate of crime at Apapa port. Freight forwarders lamented that they had 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 while briefing the media on the outcome of the security meeting held at the Customs Area Controller’s office Tuesday in Apapa, Lagos Nigeria also disclosed that the freight forwarders had 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 only the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) that are officially permitted 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 a number of times, the containers seized by Nigeria Customs Service, kept at designated area were broken into by the wharf rats and carted away the cargoes especially Tramadol.

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 those miscreants from the port.

“There is need to reduce crowd at the examination bay. We observed that about 50 – 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 that the suspect was one of those who sleep on that platform. The APM Terminal is not a sleeping place or a football field, those doing that should stop.

“Everybody has a role to play; the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs Service, NPA, DSS and others. APM Terminal is 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 on the precarious security situation at the port, the Customs Area Controller, Apapa Area command, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta commended the convener of the meeting, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko for his concern and initiatives.

Comptroller Malanta 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 were to conduct examinations of containers cannot access the bay without the tag which would 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 Chief Security Officer (CSO), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who represented the agency, on his part harped on the need for proper and effective issuance of the permit as well as called for the setting up of Joint Security Night Patrol which would involve customs, Police and Compliance Team to fish out the criminals.

The Maritime Labour, adding their voice through the representative of the President of of the Maritime Workers Union, Prince Adewale Adeyanju patted the convener of the meeting on the back and blamed the security agents for the security lapses at the port.

The Port Police, on their part denied any knowledge of the incidents hence no report had been formally brought to his knowledge.

He however, commended Tanko for the laudable initiation which had informed him of such a development at the port and assured of their readiness to swing into action to tame the tide of those criminals while calling for effective communication.

Those who attended the meeting included the CAC, Apapa customs command, Controller Yusuf Malanta, the Port Police Commissioner, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) represented by Chief Security officer, the DSS, the President of Maritime Labour, APMT, NAGAFF, AREFFN, while ANLCA and National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents were absent as a result of their internal crisis.

Photo: The National Coordinator, NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko (middle) during the press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday.

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