The Apapa Area Command
of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) last Monday said it would not allow importation of arms through the sea port.
The Comptroller of the Command, Eporwei Edike, told our correspondent in Lagos that the command’s system of examination of containers would not allow security lapses.
Edike said that a “certificate of examination” system was introduced to ensure that officers were identified with a particular responsibility when they undertake cargo examination.
The comptroller said that besides the certificate of examination, the customs intelligence unit did a lot of surveillance, making it difficult for unlawful infiltration of anything.
“Here, we do not joke with examination.
“Apart from the statutory documentation we do at the port, we also introduced a Certificate of Examination system to identify officers who have examined a consignment.
“An officer will fill all his information on the certificate to show that he undertook an examination and he will indicate if he saw any discrepancy during the exercise.
“They get constant reminders on the need for 100 per cent check and with our efforts and determination, no arms and ammunition will go through this port,” Edike said.
On the progress of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), Edike said the command had recorded success, especially in April when it recorded high revenue.
“We generated an unprecedented N29.3 billion revenue in April alone, compared to the previous N19 billion in the same period in 2013.
“This is because a number of the agents have been coming to perfect their PAAR.
“They (agents) have also affirmed that PAAR means well for trade development.
“We seize this opportunity to appeal to importers on the need for sincere declaration to avoid delays,’’ the comptroller said.
Also speaking, Mr Malanta Yusuf, the Deputy Comptroller in charge of the Automated System of Customs Data (ASYCUDA), said efforts of the Central Processing Unit (CPU) had helped to make PAAR processing easier.
“We look at the declarations and do the profiling.
“Efficiency of the system is very key for fast-tracking right from here and the result is reflective in the overall service provision of the service,’’ Yusuf said.
Our correspondent reports that some agents confirmed that there has been an improvement in the PAAR regime since December 2013.
President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr Eugene Nweke, said the PAAR regime was able to address the local trade needs because it was a home-grown platform.
He also said that the PAAR system had been able to check corruption considerably.
“PAAR is customs’ design of a single window system and it has been able to address the issue of corruption,” Nweke said.
On his part, Coordinator, Western Zone of the Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr John Oforbike, said PAAR had made it possible for agents to access useful information.
Oforbike said that the initial challenges that arose with the newly-introduced system had gradually phased out.
He urged all agents to take advantage of the information available on the trade hub site.
Customs Cautions Officers On Improper Dressing, Unkempt Beards
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has threatened to sanction its officials for improper dressing and unkempt beards. Other minor violations include use of name tags.
This was contained in a memo issued by the Deputy Comptroller General, Human Resources Development of NCS, A.T. Babani.
The memo number HRD/2021/026 titled: “Introduction of Customs Police Caution Slip in the Service” was dated 10th September, 2021.
The memo stated that the caution slip would be issued in triplicate for minor offences such as improper dressing, use of unapproved name tags, and failure to shave among others.
The service said it has introduced the use of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
The memo reads, “I am directed to bring to your notice that the Comptroller General of Customs has approved the usage of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
“The slip which will be administered by the Customs Police Unit of various Zones/Area Commands would be in triplicate and once issued, a copy shall be forwarded and inserted into the officer’s establishment file.
“The issuance of the Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) will include offences such as improper dressing, multi-colour waist belt other than approved one and usage of unapproved name tag, failure to shave, and other sundry minor violations of the second regulation 13 of the Customs and Excise Management Act CAP LFN of 2004 as amended.
“The caution slips would serve as a proactive tool to ensure compliance to rules and regulations.
“First-time offenders, repeated offenders and consistent pattern of offence identified, shall be documented and used for strategic decisions making”.
Stakeholder Tasks RSG, MWUN On Piracy
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State Branch, says the union and the state government need a strong synergy to tackle the act of sea piracy and all forms of criminal activities in the state’s waterways.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers state Branch, Comrade Jonah Jumbo, in an interview with The Tide, noted that unlike in Lagos State, there was no synergy between the Rivers State Government and MWUN to curb piracy on the waterways.
“We need to work together to checkmate all forms of criminality, sea piracy and attacks on passenger boats in our waters”, Jumbo said.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that the state government and the union were working in parallel lines, hence the high rate of piracy on the waterways.
Jumbo said, lack of synergy between the state and the union was having negative turns in its operations, thereby not improving marine transport business in the state.
The chairman said the union alone cannot solve the problem of insecurity in the waterways, hence the need for collaborations between the state government and other relevant authorities.
He further noted that Lagos State was doing well in marine transportation because there was a strong synergy between the state government and the union.
“Lagos state maritime business is improving every day with more fleets because the government, stakeholders and the union are working towards ensuring success”, he said.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Inadequate Facilities At MAN Worry Mariners
The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has lamented lack of simulators for training of cadets at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
The body also decried lack of ocean-going vessels to enable the cadets of the academy acquire the mandatory sea time experience.
NAMM President, Capt. Tajudeen Alao disclosed this during an interview with newsmen, recently.
“Training at the Academy had always been as per the International Maritime Organisations (IMO) model courses”, he said.
Capt. Alao said the shortcomings have always been in the areas of lecturers, simulators and international trading ships for practical exposure.
Other challenges include lack of funding, bureaucracy and the Nigerian factor.
“Leadership of the academy too has not been based on professionalism but political consideration. The shipping companies who are end-users have not committed their services to the academy.
“The number of students per class is much more than what is obtainable in the western world.
“There are no core ship-related courses, not many courses, facilities and disciplines,” Alao said.
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