Manager, Health Security and Safety Environment, Port & Cargo Handling Services Limited, Mr. Emmanuel Ugbor, who made the claims at a stakeholders’ meeting convened by the NCS Tin-Can Island Port Area Command on Tuesday,harped on the need for training and re-training of officers under the ISPS Code to enable them meet with the requirements of international trade facilitation.
Lack of intensive training, according to Ugbor, has been responsible for the alleged unsafe and unjustifiable use of firearms by Customs officers.
“Having just two officers is grossly inadequate There are new things that have been introduced into the maritime industry in terms of the security, customs relationship with agents. For instance, you don’t carry firearm into facilities anymore under the ISPS Code except if there is crisis. But up till today because it is a customs port they still do that. When they make any seizure you see them coming in their van as if they are going to a war zone.
When they see us, the international community laughs at us. But if they are trained, they will know that this is how it should be done,” Ugbor said.
He urged Comptroller-General of Customs Dikko Inde Abdulahi to place more emphasis on training and retraining of personnel of the Service on security matters.
Meanwhile, the NCS Tin-Can Island Port Command has set up a committee to control human traffic at the complex.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Tajudeen Olanrewaju, disclosed this at Tuesday stakeholders meeting at the command.
The committee, which comprises Customs personnel, Police and terminal security officers, according to Olanrewaju, will soon commence patrol of the port.
“We have agreed on a patrol in partnership with the police and other stakeholders in the port. What we are doing is to start a patrol, headquarters has given us a vehicle which we will use to patrol, and this process will lead to as many raids as possible,” he said.
While lamenting, what, according to him, is the hostile environment at the Tin-Can Island Port, Olanrewaju noted that it will not be business-as-usual, noting that only Customs agents with genuine Customs documents will, henceforth, be granted access into the port.
The CAC warned that persons without legitimate business should steer clear of the port, adding that offenders will be prosecuted in court.
“We are determined to change the port within the time that we are here, we will encourage trade facilitation for those who are compliant, and we want to ensure that we enhance revenue, we must enhance security.Camp boys are not allowed in the port so they must be eliminated. You can be sure that with the patrol we are putting in place, we will restrain unwanted persons including camp boys from the port,” he said.
He added: “We are trying to put a sustainable system that will address the problem of insecurity. Once we have that process put in place in collaboration with the police, people who don’t have business at the port will not be seen loitering around.”
On complaints of hostility and intimidation of officers by the stakeholders, who are majorly freight forwarders and terminal operators, Olanrewaju assured that the attitude of the officers will be looked into, urging the stakeholders to report any officer found wanting to his office.
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