By DAPO OLAWUNI
Licensed customs agents operating at Nigerian ports under the aegis of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) has applauded the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) for successfully putting an end to the era of illegal cargo sample collection at the ports.
The PSTT was established in December 2020 by the Presidency and domiciled under the Nigerian Shippers Council to tackle impediment to ease of doing business at the ports.
Speaking at a meeting of the enlarged task team held at the Nigerian Shippers Council in Apapa Lagos recently, Vice President of NCMDLCA, Alhaji Kazeem Isa Adua said that before the coming of PSTT, importers and their agents were losing millions of Naira to illegal picking of cargo samples by various government agencies at the port.
According to him, most importers would not pay their clearing agents because almost half of the cargo has been pilfered under the guise of sample collection.
Isa Adua however commended the National Cordinator of the PSTT, Comrade Moses Olayemi Fadipe, describing him as a man of integrity whom is placing Nigeria back on the right pedestal as far as international port procedures are concerned.
Speaking, he said “I want to commend the task team that you people have done very well.
The Cordinator of the PSTT, Comrade Fadipe Moses has credibility, unlike the previous task teams who did not achieve anything at all.
“Under your watch, you have done well, we have to give you kudos for that, it was a difficult task, many people thought you cannot do it, but God in his infinite mercy has helped you, you have done well, and we as agents are very happy with you.
“Before now, inside the port terminals, we can do cargo examination for three times because NAFDAC, DSS and other agencies would tell you they are not satisfied, and that you should go and reposition the container.
“But under your watch, once we have done examination, nobody calls for re-examination again.
“Before now, they take samples from our containers and they never return them.
For example, as agents, we could charge an importer N2million for services, the importer would only give you N1million and tell you that when the cargo is delivered without any missing sample, he would pay your balance.
“However, by the time you deliver the cargo to the importer, he would tell you that five cartons are missing and he would deduct N500,000 from your balance.
“We want to thank you specially because, under your watch, all these challenges are no more, they don’t take samples from our containers anymore, you have done very well
We are going to continue to support you”
The NCMDLCA Vice President also noted that before now, operatives of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service randomly stops containers and cause traffic gridlock on the port corridor.
He however said that presently, due to the efforts of the PSTT, cargoes come out of the port and transport freely without hindrance.
National Cordinator of PSTT, Comrade Moses Olayemi Fadipe had at an interactive session with Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) said that within the first two months that the Task Team commenced operations, illegal samples retrieved from corrupt government officials filled two twenty foot containers to the brim.
Speaking further on illegal same taking, he said “In the port terminal everyday, government officials go home with product samples, we know that some agencies are allowed to take samples and we know the quantity they ought to carry, but what we are saying now is commercial quantity, and you will never see these officers carrying it by themselves, they always use dockworkers to carry it, I am begging you to please, don’t carry samples for anyone again.
“I have met with the Customs highest authorities and at the command level and I have told them that nobody will samples for any officer again.
“We have made seizures in the last four months and it has filled two twenty foot containers to the brim within two months, we seize samples everyday.
We have a form called same form, and we now compelled them to fill that form, and ask them to go and call the official that own the sample, but they would never show up.
“We are reaching a stage now whereby, we would be arresting anyone caught with such samples.
“Anyone that is being victimized for rejecting to convey samples for any government official should report to the PSTT” he said