ANLCA Says Wrong Location Affected Customs Rice Distribution, Urges Use of Ikorodu Warehouse


Comptroller-General of Customs, Wale Adeniyi addressing journalists last week at kickoff of the food disposal initiative in Lagos


Coming on the heels of Nigeria Customs Service announcement that it has suspended its food disposal initiative following a stampede that claimed seven lives on 23 February, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has urged the service to take advantage of the empty space at Ikorodu Government Warehouse and continue the exercise.

Chief Martins Ikechukwu, Acting Chairman of ANLCA, Ikorodu chapter
Chief Martins Ikechukwu, Acting Chairman of ANLCA, Ikorodu chapter

Recall that the customs distribution of 25kg of rice commenced on 23 February at a discounted price of N10,000 at its Zonal Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos State.

Acting Chairman of Ikorodu Chapter of ANLCA and Chief Executive Officer of Martikof International Limited, Chief Martins Ikechukwu in a chat with DAILY TREND lamented that the customs have since abandoned Ikorodu terminal and that no commercial activity is currently taking place there.

According to Chief Martins who is also the Lagos State Executive Officer, Joint National Transport Safety Committee Nigeria, the rice distribution by the Customs was affected by wrong location, which was sited at the Yaba, a densely populated area of Lagos.
Chief Martins said that had customs not suspended the exercise, the death toll would have risen to 30 by now.

“I want to advise the customs that instead of them stopping the good deed they have started to Nigerian masses, which has further demonstrated Wale Adeniyi as the best Comptroller General we have ever had, instead of them stopping the exercise as a result of 7-people dying due to the small environment they used for the exercise, I advise customs to make use of the empty government warehouse at Ikorodu where there is nothing happening for now.

“That Terminal can take care of all what the customs want to do, it can accommodate as many number of trailers of rice that they want to distribute. All our efforts for them to transfer containers to the Ikorodu warehouse have proved abortive.

“Shipping companies and terminal operators have been advising customs against transferring cargoes to Ikorodu and this is not solving the problem of congestion in Lagos ports, it is further congesting it.

“If the customs have discovered one or two atrocities going on in Ikorodu, they should change their officers, but it is not for them to abandon the place, they can change the ownership, the police, the agency and fire anybody that is sabotaging operations, but not to totally abandon the place.

“As we are talking, you cannot count 10 containers in Ikorodu terminal, and they are contemplating transferring containers to Ibadan while Ikorodu is lying fallow.

“The place can handle over 50 trailers of rice they intend to distribute. Instead of stopping the exercise, they should use Ikorodu, the place they are using right now is too tight, there is no way such exercise can be done without people stampeding themselves or even breaking down the fence

“If customs had not stopped the rice distribution, perhaps we could have recorded 30 deaths. The place is a wrong location, the right place is Ikorodu warehouse” Chief Martins stated

The licenced customs broker lamented that presently, it is a tug of war for clearing agents who do not have clearing licences to survive at Ikorodu terminal.

He said that only members with practicing clearing licenses can still use other ports.

The Nigeria Customs Service announced the suspension of its rice distribution in a statement by its National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, on Monday.

Mr Maiwada said that the suspension was part of the service’s resolve to ensure the safety of Nigerians and to enable it to properly articulate its next line of action, in order not to defeat the vision of the initiative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.