MMIA: Customs, agents count losses, as cargo terminal remains shut over clash

The Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and clearing agents operating at the airport may have lost an estimated N150 million between Wednesday and Friday as a result of the Customs and agents’ clash which led to the closure of the cargo terminal.

SHIPS & PORTS DAILY had reported on Wednesday that trouble started when the Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Tajudeen Olanrewaju was pelted with stone by the aggrieved clearing agents whom he had directed not to go near the bulk breaking section of the cargo terminal on his way to work.

The Customs Controller had following the development called for reinforcement from the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ who confronted the protesting agents.

Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY over the weekend, Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Airport Chapter, Alloy Igwe said both Customs and agents are losing an average of N50 million daily as a result of the closure of the cargo terminal.

He described as ‘critical’ the situation the agents are now facing with the closure of the cargo terminal at a period, which he said importation is usually on the increase.

“We are quantifying the revenue loss on a daily basis. The situation we are facing now is a critical one because the festive period is just around the corner when many Nigerians will be coming home most of them with personal belongings,” he said.

Igwe debunked claims that the attack on the Controller was carried out by clearing agents. According to him, no sane agent will throw stones or sachet water on a customs controller.

He said the attack was carried out by touts who took advantage of the porous gate to the terminal.

“If you know the terrain of the airport, you will know that the exit gate there is so porous that anybody can gain entrance to the terminal and with such situation on ground, touts can take advantage. No sane agents can do that,” he said.

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