By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Commissioner of Police, Western Port Command, Mr Cyril Okoro has charged members of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) to support the police in its quest to flush out wharf rats and vandals from Nigerian ports.
The commissioner stated this when he paid a familiarisation visit to the Tin Can Island Chapter of ANLCA in Lagos yesterday.
He assured that the police is already fashioning out security measures to put an end to pilfering of cargoes, adding that it is only through adequate intelligence that the menace can be curtailed.
“If the wharf rats want to return, we would find the appropriate chemical to flush them out of the port, because rat is the most destructive animal. If you put a costly dress in a place it should not be, it would take a rat only one minute to make that dress unwearable, so we would not allow them into our ports”
“Already we are fashioning out security measures to ensure that wherever the rats are spotted, we would flush them out.
But we would solicit your support through intelligence”
“The era of giving excuses such us leaking of intelligence is in the past, technology and Android phones have made it easy that you can give information without identifying yourself”
“If you are afraid, come to any of the senior officers and relay your information or send it through an anonymous text message, by so doing, you are helping us to do our own job”
“But please, don’t use intelligence to backbite your perceived enemy, it would make us waste precious time on wise goose chase” he said
After listening to the challenges confronting the clearing agents at Tin Can Port, especially the stoppage of containers by police officers outside the port, he assured that he would take up the matter with the Lagos State Command of police.
He argued that if the Federal Government ease of doing business had to be achieved, it must be seamless. He assured that if his intervention with the Lagos Police Command does not workout, he would take it to a higher authority.
“We are not oblivious of the sufferings of the agents, drivers, motor boys are undergoing and we are not happy about it” he said
He commended ANLCA for helping the Federal Government and the Nigeria Customs Service in surpassing its yearly revenue targets, saying that agents are the main collectors of government revenue.
Speaking further, he said “The thrust of the present Inspector General of police is Community Policing which is a system of the force getting to relate directly with the citizenry and the community whom they are meant to provide service to, it is inline with this agenda that I saw it as being of utmost necessity that I should come and relate with your association which everybody knows is one of the most critical associations in the maritime industry”
“You may not know it but the government regards your association very highly because you are the pipe through which revenue is generated into government purse, aside the crude oil, this sector is the second largest revenue generating point”
“It is on note that Western Port has always surpassed its revenue targets, and I can say that the credit comes to you, who are the link between the importer and the government”
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of ANLCA Tin Can Chapter, Prince Segun Oduntan assured the Commissioner of the association’s support and corporation, even as he charged him to remain sincere and truthful with the agents.
Oduntan described ANLCA as the most reputable Customs Brokers association in Africa, saying that the association has incorporated a lot of policemen who are retired and now practicing clearing agents.
“Tin Can Port is a place where peace reigns and money is made, people come with empty pockets but they go back home with something”
“I employ you to be very sincere so that we can continue to send you an errand and you do it, the trust would continue to be there. Once we have a doubt about you, people would get you out and information goes round. We have men of integrity in ANLCA, we have lawyers among us, we have engineers, mass communicators and even policemen among us.
We have incorporated a lot of policemen who are now practicing as successful clearing agents”
“We are going to give you our best corporation and support your leadership. Under my watch as Chairman of Tin Can Chapter, there has never been any serious trouble, we are able to intervene before issues get out of hand, we collaborate with all agencies and we would do same with you” Oduntan assured.