Since the collapse of scanners at the nation’s seaports and land borders, the Nigeria Customs Service has been using manual method(100 percent examination) to inspect cargoes but experts believe that re-introduction of CTN at the ports would minimise the high incidence of insecurity through curbing of importation of arms and ammunitions through our ports into the country.
In 2015, the Nigerian Shippers Council was desirous to re-introduce the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) into the nation’s maritime industry.
But, the Council at that time was interested in the overall national security and safety of Nigerians because it is believed that the CTN will help check importation of arms, ammunition and hazardous materials into the country.
For instance, in January 2017, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) intercepted 49 boxes containing 661 pieces of pump action rifles.
Thee boxes were concealed with steel and other merchandise goods.
Also in May, 2017, another 440 pump action rifles were intercepted at the Tin Can Island Command, Lagos.
According to the then Zonal Co-ordinator of the Zone, Monday Abue, the cargo was shipped into the country from Turkey and concealed in POP.
On the 7th of September, 2017 another 1,100 rifles were further intercepted in a 20ft container with No GESU2555208 during examination, while the Bill of Lading falsely indicated wash hand basins and water closets.
However, 2018 was not spared as the Customs Service intercepted live ammunitions at the Tin-Can island port.
The Tin-Can Island Command of the service said the live ammunitions were concealed in a vehicle and container at the Lagos Port.
It was gathered that the interception were done in two different operations on the 9th and 10th of July respectively.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the command, Uche Ejiesieme , the first incident at the Terminal ‘C’, involved 1 x 40ft container No. TGHU 60143419, which on scheduled examination was found to contain 150 rounds of live ammunition and jack knives while 149 rounds of 38mm calibre live ammunition, 92 rounds of 9mm calibre live ammunition, 2 rounds Of 7.62MM calibre live ammunition, 11 cartridges of live ammunition,12 expenses empty shells of various calibre and one empty magazine were uncovered in another vehicle.”
This is part of the few interceptions that were made by the service while many more may have eluded the eagle eye of the customs service.
But, stakeholders have argued that the CTN, if it had been implemented in 2015 ,would have detected the contrabands before it was loaded on vessels to Nigeria.
Even, the Central Bank of Nigeria agreed that the CTN would not only checkmate under declaration and share trade information but will also assist the Nigeria Customs Service to risk mitigation on imports, enhance and block revenue leakages at the ports.
Speaking, a frontline Importer, Ikechukwu Shedrack ,said the CTN would serve as a security measure to ensure safety and security of goods shipped from one part of the world to another.
“It is meant to be implemented worldwide. The regulation requires shippers to have a Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) accompanying all shipments.
“The CTN will help enhance security at a time Nigerian government is have difficulties in replacing obsolete scanners at the ports. It will give information of cargoes to be imported even before loading and it will help know what should be imported and what not to be imported into the country, especially if it were to be arms and ammunitions it will be intercepted at point of loading”
“Aside under declaration, the CTN will also bring trade information.
Research had also shown that the CTN, when reintroduced, is different from the old ways of monitoring cargoes as it has four distinct features from the previous tracking device.
It is noteworthy that, as can be seen from the agreement, four important features distinguish the current ICTN Scheme from the abolished version.
That is, the current scheme will be implemented at no cost to the shipper/consignee, at all and the current scheme is web based and therefore paperless,thus making the delay associated with obtaining Cargo Tracking Note and associated documentation by Shippers, under the abolished version of the scheme completely eliminated as the shipper needs not do anything apart from declaring in advance (i.e. at the loading port), information relating to the cargo.
Also, the one hundred and fifty dollars ($150) per container CTN fee charged under the abolished version, paid by the shippers, which led to the stakeholders vehement protest against the scheme and its eventual abolishment, was radically modified and reduced to a token administrative fee of twenty five dollars ($25) per container, thereby making it the lowest in our West and Central African Sub-region.
The NSC-TPMS Sharing Ration of the collectible Administrative fee was negotiated and reviewed from 60-40, under the abolished scheme, to 65-35 thereby raising the share accruable to the government.
Also, all vessels loading and unloading or in transit (Export/Import and Transit) departing from Nigeria Ports or having Nigerian Ports as final destination or transiting through Nigerian ports shall, before any movement, obtain a Movement Reference Number (MRN).
He said, “The Cargo Tracking Note would soon be reintroduced at a very negligible cost. CTN is a security thing because when we have it, there won’t be smuggling of firearms and all other contrabands.
Bello stated further that the CTN would also help the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to fight substandard products and fake drugs respectively.
“I am calling on all the port stakeholders such as manufacturers, shippers and the rest to support this. That is why the Nigerian Shippers Council wants to develop the port community system because what the port needs is unity.
Hameed Ali, Customs boss, in last minute frenzied promotion, reshuffle of officers
In the new posting, Comptroller Auwal Mohammed was moved from Port Harcourt Area 2 command to head Apapa Command vacated by the revenue czar in the service, ACG Malanta Ibrahim Yusuf.
Others include Compt OA Salefu who now heads Western Marine Command Lagos, Compt AM Ibrahim heads PTML Terminal Lagos and Compt M.S Yusuf superintendents over the Muritala Muhammed Airport command in Lagos.
Compt CD Wada goes to Port Harcourt Area1 command as its Area Controller, while M.I Jalo heads Federal Operations Unit Zone B while B . Mohammed heads Lillypond command in Lagos.
The promotions and reshuffle of officers have however elicited mixed reactions among the Customs officers.
For those who benefited from the parting gift of Hammed Ali, it was a welcome development, but for those who hold the short end of the stick in the exercise, it left a sour taste in their mouth.
ACG Yusuf allays fears of possible revenue dip in Apapa Customs
A breakdown of the appointment is as follows; EI Edorhe DCG Finance, Admin & Technical Service; HK Gummi DCG Tariff and Trade; M Abba-Kura Ag. DCG Enforcement, Inspection & Investigation; AG Saidu Ag. DCG Human Resource Development; JP Ajoku Ag. DCG Excise, Free Trade Zone & Industrial Incentives; BA Adeniyi Ag. DCG Strategic Research and Policy and GA Itotoh Ag. DCG Training and Doctrine Command.
Others are: O Peters Ag. ACG/Zonal Coordinator Zone ‘D’; AI Alfa Ag. ACG Strategic Research and Policy; HJ Swomen Ag. ACG Excise, Free Trade Zone & Industrial Incentives; KC Egwuh Ag. ACG Training and Doctrine Command; MBA Musa Ag. ACG Tariff and Trade; A Dappa-Williams Ag. ACG Enforcement Inspection & Investigation and BM Jibo Ag. ACG Headquarters.
Also appointed are: A Hamisu Ag. ACG/Commandant Nigeria Customs Command & Staff College; Y Salihu Ag. ACG Finance & Admin; MI Yusuf Ag. ACG ICT/Modernization; SA Bomai Ag. ACG Board; CK Niagwan Ag. ACG Finance, Admin & Technical Services and KI Adeola Ag. ACG Training and Doctrine Command.
While thanking the retired members of the management for their meritorious service and support, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) CFR congratulated the newly appointed officers and charged them to redouble their efforts in ensuring the Service achieves greater heights in its mandates of revenue generation, suppression of smuggling and trade facilitation.
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