…As sacked agencies still operate illegally
By YUSUF BABALOLA,
After 30 days of signing the Executive Order by the Acting President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in which 24-hour ports operations should have commenced at the nation’s seaports, there are strong indications that the Order is yet to take effect at the nation’s ports.
Findings by LEADERSHIP have shown that part of the directive given by the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman to some agencies to leave the seaports and operate from outside the ports are yet to be obeyed by the agencies.
Also, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is yet to commence shift operation as directed by the Comptroller-General, Col Hameed Ali (rtd) on the day Bala Usman met with the head of agencies operating at the nation’s seaports.
According to Bala Usman, the agencies that must operate within the ports include: Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigeria Police; Department of State Security (DSS); Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and Port Health Authority (PHA).
But, speaking to our correspondent, the National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); Kayode Farinto said the agencies that were sacked by the NPA MD are still operating illegally from inside the ports.
Farinto, who is also a member of the committee on implementation of the Executive Order, noted that the directive to the agencies to vacate the port as reeled out by the NPA boss was supposed to take effect immediately.
He told our correspondent that National Agency for Food And Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organization Of Nigeria (SON) are also represented on the implementation committee and that they are aware of their sack from the port.
“What we did was to categorise the action plan into three phases-the immediate, the short term and the long term. Up till now, the agencies are still inside the port but I want to tell you that they are not supposed to be inside the port, we have informed them and they are aware of it, they are privy to the report.
“The eviction was supposed to be immediate, so if they are still inside the port, they are there illegally,” he said.
Also speaking recently, a clearing agent based in Lagos, Adegbite Babajide said the agencies that were ordered to vacate the port premises are yet to leave the port. Adegbite frown at the activities of SON and NAFDAC’s harassment at the seaport.
He said: “SON, NAFDAC are still present at the port. SON still participates in examination of cargoes that also doesn’t involve them.”
Also speaking, a member of the International Freight Forwarders Association (IFFA), Sunny Nnebe said the Executive Order is yet to be implemented because SON, NAFDAC still operate from inside the port. He told our correspondent that five containers carrying super glue were recently being detained by both SON and NAFDAC inside the port for various allegations. Nnebe also alleged that SON and NAFDAC usually collect samples from containers but they never return same.
He alleged that they share importers foods among themselves in the name of sample taking. “They are still fully in the ports, NAFDAC and SON are still on ground with their offices still intact, as I speak with you, five containers were arrested by SON and the same container was blocked by NAFDAC.
“SON said that it is their container and that they are supposed to certify it. NAFDAC is also looking at the chemical content. The container is carrying superglue. SON is not supposed to be inside the port, they are supposed to be at the country of origin.
“The eviction is on paper. Go to Tin Can Island second gate, immediately you come in, you would see NAFDAC office where they are parking peoples’ cargo, at the end of the day, they share it among themselves. Also, SON would tell you they want to take sample and they would carry a 50 inch television which they would not return back,” he alleged.
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