Customs Area Controller (CA) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Apapa Area One Command, Comptroller Mohammed Umar, has said that he is not aware of officials of the National Environmental Security Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) disrupting the working operation of his officers in the physical examination of cargoes, as alleged by the National Headquarters of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF).
In an exclusive chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in his office Tuesday, Umar explained the working relationship between NESREA officials and Customs personnel at the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), noting it to be procedural and without conflict.
“If there is anything like that, then it has not come to my knowledge. I know NESREA is a government agency and there are procedures of doing things in the ports. For some government agencies, it is mandatory for them to be invited by Customs before they come into the port. But in the case of NESREA, because we don’t know the type or the particular cargo they are interested in, what normally happens is that if they are interested in participating in the examination of any cargo, they inform the Area Controller before hand, and anytime we are carrying out examination on that particular cargo, we call them to come and partake. If they find anything of interest during the examination, we lay our hands off until they are satisfied. If they are satisfied, we release. If they are not satisfied, they now can write another letter directing us on what decision they have taken or what we should do with that cargo,” Umar said.
The CAC somewhat justified the need for the presence of NESREA officials at the ports, noting that this is checkin dumping of electronic wastes in the country.
He said: “The coming of NESREA into the port operations has made some agents and importers to lose their cargo because they are found to be containing e-wastes. And that is what NESREA is after. If they come across that, the law establishing NESREA mandates that kind of cargo to be sent back to the country of export.”
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