The new Customs Area Controller, Apapa Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service, Mohammed Auwal, has said that despite the installation of scanner at the nation’s premiere port, the Lagos Port Complex Apapa, his men will continue to carry out 100% physical examination on all containers passing through the port.
In November 2022, SHIPS & PORTS reported that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, commissioned a new scanner at the port.
Ahmed said 120 Customs officers had been trained to operate the scanning machines, adding that the scanners would modernise the operations of the Nigeria Customs Service in line with international best practices.
The Minister said the physical examination of cargoes being carried out by Customs is time-consuming, causing loss of revenue to the government and cannot be compared with the scanning of cargoes which is carried out in minutes and with enhanced capacity to detect prohibited imports that are concealed in cargoes.
However, Auwal, speaking shortly after taking the reigns of the command from his predecessor, Yusuf Malanta, appeared to disagree with the Minister, even as he stated a preference for physical examination despite the availability of scanners at the port.
“I am delighted to be here with you. We know that the Federal Government is relying on officers in the command to collect and generate revenues and stop and suppress smuggling. I am ready for the job and will sustain the tempo and improve on the level of achievements of my predecessor. We shall do our best.
“I want to urge all our releasing officers to ensure that no containers leave the port without undergoing 100% examination. Officers should exhibit high level of integrity in cargo releasing, so as to avoid release of cargo in error,” he said.
Customs agents operating at the command have, however, kicked against the declaration by the new Apapa Area Controller, describing it as anti-trade.
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