Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has threatened to name and shame government officials demanding bribe and frustrating the joint boarding of vessels at the nation’s seaport.
NSC Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, who stated this during a virtual press briefing organised by the council in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in Abuja on Tuesday, disclosed that $20,000 bribe was recovered from boarding officials at the port.
He said while there has been some appreciable level of compliance by agencies inspecting ships since the implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM), others are yet to fully comply with the new standard operating procedures.
He said, “We have recovered $20,000 being bribe money by people who go onboard vessels. We are monitoring this process and if we find any agency frustrating this process, we are going to name and shame them publicly and we will arrest them.”
Bello said situations where vessels call at the port and have to wait for almost three hours before they are boarded is not acceptable as it impacts negatively on cargo dwell time and ultimately increases cost of doing business at the port.
“I want to appeal to Customs and other agencies to allow this joint inspection to work. Seven days cargo dwell time can be achieved if we have joint boarding of vessels and joint inspection of cargo. Twenty-one days cargo dwell time is because there is no joint examination.
“What kind of country or port do we want if agencies responsible for joint examination don’t report on time? Examination of cargo should be done at a given time and people should abide by the SOP as far as clearance of cargo is concerned,” he said.
The spokesperson of ICPC, Azuka Ogugua, who represented the Chairman of the Commission, said the commission would enforce sanctions on any agency or official that fails to comply with the procedure for joint boarding of vessels.
She said, “Part of our mandate as a law enforcement agency is to tackle corruption. We have a standing task team at the Lagos port that will enforce action provided by the NSC.”
The Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), George Moghalu, and the representative of the Nigeria Customs Service pledged to support the drive towards implementation of the NPPM.