Clearing agents have failed to honour the directive of the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, to embrace weekend examination of containers at the port.
Public Relations Officer, Tin Can Island Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Chris Osunkwo, who disclosed this to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Friday in Lagos, said that Customs officers attached to the Command had been reporting to work on weekends and public holidays even before the ministerial directive but had been idle on such days as clearing agents fail to show up for examination.
“It is the agents that do not come for work on weekends and we don’t have any authority to force them to come,” he said.
The Transport Minister’s directive, issued penultimate Friday, was part of measures recommended by a committee he set up to decongest the ports in Lagos. The committee had also recommended that physical examination be carried out between 9am and 3pm daily.
Osunkwo said that the Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Zakari Jubrin, recently issued a circular directing his officers who are billed to work during the Eid-El-Kabir holiday of tomorrow and Wednesday to ensure that operation at the port is not in any way interrupted or delayed.
The Command, Osunkwo said, has equally commenced the 9am to 3pm examination timetable in compliance with the Transport Minister’s directive.
“We are implementing the resolutions of the ministerial committee on port operation to the latter and it is working perfectly well. Before now, the terminal operators will finish dropping the containers until they give us go ahead, and sometimes when they finish late, that is when officers move in for the examination. But they have been mandated to position all containers before 9am and it has been working well,” Osunkwo said.
Meanwhile, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Obicee Okonkwo, has urged its members to take advantage of the weekend operation at the Tin Can Island Port Command for prompt clearance of their consignments at the port.
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