…ANLCA Calls for Caution as Demurrage Increases
By DAPO OLAWUNI
There are indications that security agencies at the Tin Can Island Port of Lagos, especially the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have started detaining vehicle laden containers randomly under suspicion of drug importation from Canada.
DAILY TREND gathered exclusively that Colorado Drugs, a higher brand of cannabis sativa, originates from Canada and most vehicles coming into Nigeria from Canada are being used to conceal the drugs.
Recall that the NDLEA few months ago said that tokunbo vehicles are now high risk shipment, especially as it is being used to smuggle Colorado Drugs, a brand of cannabis sativa from Canada through the Tin Can Island Port.
Speaking with DAILY TREND exclusively on Tuesday, Chairman of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Tin Can Port Chapter, Alhaji Muhammed Mojeed said NDLEA officials are beginning to use the random stoppage of vehicles as a means of extortion.
He said that containers and vehicles which are not originating from Canada are detained and later found not having any concealment.
He lamented that delaying a container for one day amounts to payment of N42,000 as demurrage and storage charges which is a big headache for the importer and clearing agents.
He appealed to the NDLEA officials to exercise caution in carrying out their assignment, so as not to affect the ease of doing business at the port.
“Every country wants to protect itself from criminality, the issue of NDLEA stopping containers, if they don’t have information, they would not be doing that.
“We are having constant report of Colorado Drugs being inside containers originating from Canada, this is why the NDLEA is beaming searchlight and it’s investigation mostly on Canadian vessels and cargoes.
“They are doing their jobs actually, because they are trying to rid Nigeria of drugs, this is why they monitor vehicles from Canada
“We have discovered that most of the containers NDLEA have picked are from Canada.
“The problem with Nigerian system in terms of corruption is that they are now extending this to areas where it is not needed. In the cause of getting vehicles from Canadian origin, they are now extending it to other vessels and carrying out extortion.
“We just advised them, and we have engaged the Officer in Charge of Tin Can Island Command of NDLEA for their people to comply, they should stop going through what they are not instructed, it is not every container coming into Tin Can Port that are found with these stupid drugs.
“Delaying a container per day costs N42,000, the Shipping charges is N22,000 while the terminal charges is about N20,000 per day if you delay a container.
“So you would be surprised that for somebody to detain a container that doesn’t have any concealment, it is a very big headache for the clearing agent because it is not easy paying these demurrage, they need to be very careful” Alhaji Mojeed stated.
The NDLEA Chairman, Alhaji Buba Marwa who was represented on a courtesy visit to ANLCA National Secretariat few months ago by former Assistant Commander General of Narcotics and Area Commander of Apapa Port, Mr Bashir Gazama stated that the agency is beaming its searchlight on imported tokunbo cars
“Where we have issues with vehicles now is because of the massive importation of Colorado, a brand of cannabis sativa that comes in from Canada.
There has been a preponderance of shipment of Colorado, especially from the Tin Can Island Port, we have the local cannabis sativa in Nigeria, but it is like walls apart compared to what is being imported”
“It is a celebrity kind of drugs that they bring in and it is so expensive.
So far, all our seizures of Colorado are seizures that are shipped in tokunbo cars, they only use the car as a cover”
“So, cars are now becoming a high risk shipment for that particular form of drugs, this is one of the challenges we are having right now, and mostly, it comes from Canada and it is very expensive”
“A seizure of it was recently made at the Tin Can Island Port.
This is what has heightened the focus on the vehicles” he said