Police justifies involvement in cargo inspection

The new Area Commander of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Area ‘B’ Command, Apapa, Lagos, Innocent Anene, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), has justified the participation of police officers in the examination of containers at the ports.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Headquarters, in Apapa on Wednesday, Anene said that as a law enforcement agency, it is only right that the police pay attention to goods that come into the country to ensure safety of lives and property of Nigerians.

He said that with the pervading insecurity in the country, the NPF will continue to look out for dangerous items that scheme to find their way into the country.

Obviously mixing up the role of the Police with that of the Nigeria Customs Service, he said: “Like the Boko Haram operating; if some of the arms and things they use just come in freely, you and I will not be safe. Nobody will be safe. It is just to make sure that we are all safe that is why we sometimes pay attention to say what is it that come in, aside from whether the government gets the revenue it is supposed to get. To make sure that dangerous things are not brought in just to make sure that we all sleep well.”

Anene also said that since being well equipped to carry out their duties and get their remunerations depends on revenue for the government, it is only wise that the police keeps an eye on the source of revenue.

He said: “With my little sojourn in the ports, I have come to familiarize with terminologies like cutting of seal of a container. Cutting of seal is when your container is not examined but you cut the seal and pretend that it has been so examined. We also come across things we call concealment where you have one thing and you said you have another. Sometimes we get worried and we try to look into it because the government might have been short-changed.

We are all government agencies and you know the government pays our salaries. If the government does not get the revenue it is suppose to get from the ports, payment of our salaries and provision of the working equipment will be a little hard.”

The ACP also warned against the passing on of malicious motivated information to police officers. He said while his command appreciates information that will lead to the arrest of criminals, it would not tolerate misleading information from clearing agents and importers just to spite their colleagues.

“You want to create problem for another importer or clearing agent, you will run to the police and say ‘oh that container has concealment of firearms’ and the police will jump at the information thinking that they are going to make some discovery. Give me information about somebody who wants to short-change the government or who wants to put the lives of others at risk but don’t give me information to deal with somebody wrongly. If you do, punishment will come your way for giving me false information,” Anene said.