Timing for cargo examinations processes at the Lagos ports is currently threatening to disrupt collaboration amongst Federal Government agencies like the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Threatening to confront officials of sister government agencies that are in the habit of coming late for cargo examinations procedures, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Apapa Command of the NCS, Comptroller Willy Egbudin stated at a forum in Lagos recently that he will henceforth not allow any container to be stepped down for further inspection due to late arrivals of other officials after such container has been duly inspected by Customs officials.
According to him, “We have said earlier that we don’t want examination to be conducted differently. Maybe SON officials will stroll in or NAFDAC officials will stroll in and say we want to conduct examination on a cargo that had already been examined; and if such container has been taken up, honestly, if it is for further examination, I will not accept it.
“Once I know that such container was dropped at a particular time and a particular agency refused to come for examination, and examination has been conducted in the presence of other agencies; I will cross off the column for the erring agency and the container will be released. We will henceforth not wait for anybody.”
He therefore pleaded with all concerned with the examination of cargoes at the ports to ensure that they are at the terminal at the appropriate time.
The Customs CAC also stated that his command will no longer allow cargo examination at the ports once its 4pm. He informed that he had instructed the Customs Investigations Unit (CIU) to report any officer opening container afresh around 4pm as such practice was no longer acceptable at the command.
“I have also instructed my officers that once it is 4 o’clock, they should not start any examination again. Some people deliberately wait for rush hour so that proper examination will not be conducted on their containers.
“We will keep on looking and I have also told the CIU to look around, that anybody opening container afresh around 4pm or thereabout should be reported to us because we are not going to accept that.
“If you want your examination to be conducted early, come, we have said that examination starts from 10.am. This is just to give everybody time to get to the ports and also for the customs officers to be prepared.
“If you get here and there is no officer, you as the agent can reach out to the DC Terminal and say you have been waiting to see officers, am sure he will immediately sanction the officers that are supposed to be there at that time. Or if it is something that they are not ready to tackle, bring it to me and I will be there to sanction that officer, it means that the officer is not ready to work and if you are not ready to work, you don’t have any reason to remain where you are,” Egbudun stated.