Nigeria’s ports exposed to illegal importation of arms, ammunition ― Reps

• As NCS generates $136m between 2019 and 2020 at Onne Port

The House of Representatives on Tuesday observed that the absence of scanners in the nation’s ports has exposed the country to possible importation of illegal arms and ammunition into the country, thereby compromising the nation’s security.

Chairman of the Technical Committee on Customs and Excise, Hon. Leke Abejide who spoke when he led other members of the committee on the oversight of Customs formations in Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service with headquarters in Port Harcourt, expressed displeasure over the absence of functional scanners in Customs formations across the country.

Hon. Abejide said the country has been exposed to the possible illegal importation of illegal goods including arms and ammunition, while also losing huge resources that should have accrued to the government.

The lawmaker also expressed concern that scanners purchased for the Customs were abandoned over the years after they were taken from the companies that installed them and given to another company which lacked the technical capacity to handle the equipment.

He insisted that the House will carry out a comprehensive investigation into the abandonment of the scanners which have decayed in various Customs formations in the country.

Members of the committee expressed shock over the long years of abandonment of the multi-million dollars scanners and insisted that even though there was the need to provide more scanners for Customs, there was also the need to outsource the service.

They alleged that the scanners were taken away from the company that installed them and were given to another company without the capacity to handle them.

Hon. Abejide also said there was the need to declare an emergency on the roads leading to the ports in the zone, adding that if nothing urgent was done on the roads, the situation at the Apapa ports currently will soon be replicated in the zone.

The lawmaker, however, said that the committee will work closely with the management of Nigeria Customs Service to remove quack agents operating in the nation’s port, saying many of the agents were operating without identifiable office.

In his remarks, NCS Controller of the Onne Area Command, Auwal Mohammed disclosed that the zone generated about $136 million from export within the zone between 2019 and 2020.

Mohammed, however, observed that the poor access roads to the port as well as poor road network in the country was hampering export from the port.

He said the volume of export from the zone will increase with good access roads and rail line linking the port as well as an increase in revenue collection.

He also observed that lack of containers to export goods from the port remains a major challenge militating against increased export activities.

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