The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has appealed to the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and other agencies of government to stop checking or detaining containers cleared by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
According to the Council, Police officers and officers of other government agencies detain cleared containers along the port corridor or inside the ports, which hinders the ease of doing business.
Speaking in Lagos during a Multi-Agency Stakeholders Enlightenment programme organised by the NSC in collaboration with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Emmanuel Jime, the executive secretary/CEO of the NSC, expressed shock as to the reason officers of the Nigerian Police Force will detain a container that has already been cleared by the Customs.
According to him, Customs on one side will be checking cargo, and Police on the other side will also be checking cargo, which is not right because the Police does not have the authority to detain cargo cleared by Customs.
“If the police have intelligence on a cargo, they should escort the container to the final spot of discharge and then check the container right there. Congesting our ports or ports access roads with detained containers is not helping the ease of doing business at our ports. We see these problems every day. Every agency of government has their roles cut out for them. NPA, NSC, NAFDAC, and others. We all have our different roles cut out for us, let us look at how we can interface with each other and harmonise our operations to help facilitate trade.
“If NAFDAC flags a container that has already been cleared by SON, it shouldn’t lead to clogging of the port access roads or port congestion. We need to harmonise our operations for the benefit of the country,” he said.