By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as the Nigeria Customs Service has deployed the use of it’s scanning machines at various port locations, the Shipping Trade Practitioners Association of Nigerian (STPAON) has said that customs officers lack the requisite training to handle the scanners.
This reaction is coming on the heels of complains from freight forwarders that the scanning operations of the customs was taking longer time than expected, even slower than the 100% examination.
The freight forwarders however have expressed full support for the customs service in overcoming it’s teething problems and ensuring that the scanning machines come to stay.
However in a chat with DAILY TREND in Thursday, Public Relations Officer of STPAON, Mr Babalola Olatunde said that the
customs personnel that took over the scanners do not have the prerequisites knowledge to handle it.
Mr Babatunde was reacting to the complaints emanating from freight forwarders, especially on the teething problems being encountered at the Lagos ports.
“Some freight forwarder would not like scanners and scanning activities in all ports. Because of the following factors:
1. the customs officers are not well trained to handle the operations. We observed that at the exit of SGS as contractor for scanning in the ports. The customs personnel that took over don’t have the prerequisites knowledge to do so.
2. Some importers and freight forwarders prefer what they called “area job” i.e flying of containers from the port (this is an all inclusive collaboration at the exit points). money is paid and container find its way out of the port.
3. Wrong declaration of goods in the containers. e.g textile and foot wears ( contraband) can be declared as daily needs or UN drugs/ medicines donated to less previleged. this is also done with insider’s connivance.
“Above all, containerization of cargo has some serious consequences on security,economy and safety of the citizens. I hope customs personnel will acquire adequate training and collaborate with sister agencies for efficient and effective “gate keeping” in Nigeria” Olatunde concluded