For now Importers who think they can bring prohibited cargoes into the country, particular foreign par boiled rice in Containers through the seaports because of the tight security at the land borders with the neighbouring countries of the Republic of Benin, Niger, Tchad and the Central African country of Cameroon may have to do a rethink.
A security Operative who spoke to the Grassroots Publishers online at Tin can Island port disclosed that the importer may succeed in shipping the Consignment through any of the country’s seaports but may not be able to take delivery of it as Hameed Ali , a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, appears to have shifted his attention to the ports as the land borders have become a no go area. From the borders Communities in the south west, south-south, North west and Central geographical regions, the story is the same: tight security. It is not surprising why the importers , particular, foreign rice importers turned smugglers have found the seaports as the last option to carry out their nefarious activities with the use of Containers.
The recent seizure of 11 Containers load of foreign par boiled rice at Port Harcourt Area II in Rivers state speaks volume. The value of the II Containers load of rice was put at about N102.4 million. Note that prior to the Port Harcourt Area II Containers load of rice seizure, there was a case of 33 Containers load of rice allegedly seized at Tin-Can Island port, on Tuesday , October 29,2019.
Abdullahi Musa, the Area Comptroller, of the Customs Command, and a World Customs Organisation, WCO, trained Valuation and Classification officer, who was said to have given a free hand to his key Operation officers: Dera Nnadi, a Deputy Comptroller and Head of the Command Enforcement Unit, Murktar Ibrahim, an Assistant Comptroller and Head of the Compliance Unit, described in Customs Circles, as a revenue mobiliser, and the Deputy Comptroller in-charge f the Command Alert Unit, to do their work.
The trio were said to have been working closely together , thus making it difficult for fraudulent importers to ship any prohibited Consignment that contravenes the government fiscal policy through the port or take delivery of it. The seizure of the dread Pharmaceutical product, tramadol is a clear indication of Musa’s intolerance to smuggling activities at the port using the Officers to the work. Also, the recent case involving Masters Energy Commodities Trading limited, owned by Uche Ogah, the minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, over the alleged importation of 33 Containers load of rice from the Asian country of Thailand bear eloquent testimony to the Command aggressive drive to checkmate fraudulent activities at the port.
The alert was said to have triggered off putting Nnadi, the DC.Enforcement and his men on the red alert. The officers at the Command exit gates were also said to have been put on the alert to ensure that the Containers load of foreign rice did not exit the port.
Given an insider information, Joseph Attah, a Deputy Comptroller and NCS Spokesperson, disclosed that the discovery of the Containers load of rice which were stacked at the Tin can Island port came as a result of the painstaking ‘’profiling of un-utilised Bill of Lading and unclosed manifests’’.
Attah noted that when the cargoes were subjected to physical examination, by all the relevant agencies personnel at the port, it was found to contain the Asian country of Thailand expired par boiled rice. He revealed that some of the ‘’50’’ bags of rice carry Nigerian address coming from outside the country. Some of the Nigeria address that were said to have been used by the importer include: No. 31 A Remi Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, and Yunee International Trading Company limited, 103 Ebitu Ukiwe Street, , Jabi, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
By: Emeji Noble