By DAPO OLAWUNI
Two years after the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) degraded the terminal, the service is now set to reopen its Customs Processing Centre (CPC) at the Ikorodu Terminal otherwise known as Government Warehouse.
Reliable customs officers confirmed this to DAILY TREND NEWS in an exclusive chat.
Ali had in 2018 removed the Ikorodu terminal from the list of Area Commands of the service, ordering that the terminal be maintained as a government warehouse under the supervision of the Zonal Coordinator, Zone A, Lagos.
Ali said this becomes imperative considering the drastic drop in the volume of cargo being handled at the terminal, which has led to the underutilization of manpower.
But the highly reliable source confirmed to our correspondent that Customs is now making effort to reopen the terminal following an increase in volume of overtime containers being transferred to the terminal.
He said “We are going to open up the CPC, the Zonal Cordinator has written to the CGC, they are sending people over to reactivate the CPC, so instead of taking documents back to Apapa to release a consignment, it would be released right here”
“The vehicles that are brought here during this transfer, if you go back to PTML, they are no longer in the system, they have been blocked, it can only be reactivated here and released. This is the clearing system now”
“This place is a warehouse created by Obasanjo, but later, it was turned to an area command, but when this our present CG came, he had to reverse it because he always wants to follow the law according to how it should be, so since the president created here to be a warehouse, he had to reverse it into a warehouse”
“When it was an area command, they were releasing containers here, but when it became a warehouse, we have not had any volume of work until now that containers are being transferred here” he confirmed
He also took a swipe at terminal operators at Nigerian ports for always feeling reluctant to stem overtime cargoes in their custody to Ikorodu.
He said that the terminal operators were collecting illegal charges from importers as demurrage on overtime containers not minding what the law says.
“We have made our Headquarters to know that all the demurage that the terminal operators were collecting at the port are illegal money, it is government money”
“Section 31 of CEMA states that goods uncleared after fifteen days of their discharge from ships should be submitted to the Area Comptroller”
“The terminal operators thinks that because they have concessioned the terminal to them, so many times the Customs area Controller would write to them for transfer of overtime cargoes and they would not, this is because they are illegal money that does not belong to them, and they are feeding fat on it” he said