The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has called on the board of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to restore the Ikorodu terminal/government warehouse as expired overtime cargoes litter the facility.
The freight forwarders expressed worry that the expired and decomposed goods currently littering the facility are constituting both environmental and health hazards to officers and men of the service, as well as members of the community in general.
The National Publicity Secretary, NAGAFF, Stanley Ezenga, in a statement issued in Lagos at the weekend, said the association was unhappy with the development, pointing out that life-threatening reptiles had occupied the place.
The freight forwarders also expressed dissatisfaction over the failure of the Nigeria Customs Service to perform its statutory responsibilities at the Ikorodu terminal/government warehouse, as enshrined in the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45, LFN 2004, as amended,
“Our association is therefore imploring the board of the NCS to invoke Sections 4, 5, 6, 12, 13 and 97 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap 45, LFN 2004, as amended, which jointly empowered the board to give direction in the management and administration of the service, as well as the Legal Notice No 700 of 1959, which defined what a government warehouse and its establishment stand to serve and protect.
“We wish to particularly point the attention of the Customs Board to Section 31 of CEMA, as amended, which spells out the cargo dwell time at port terminals or government-approved warehouse, and the required due time publication to enable owners of such goods to take delivery, with its attendant forfeiture of such goods to the government if they fail to do so,” he said.
The freight forwarders urged the board of the NSC to urgently restore the facility to its original master plan to meet the aspirations and yearnings of industry stakeholders and Nigerians in general, as well as address the threat to the operations of the service.
The freight forwarders pointed out corrupt practices associated with the issue of rents and dues on containerized cargoes at the facility, especially since 2007 when massive movements of containers to the facility commenced.
Ezenga further urged the board to launch a massive inquiry into the whereabouts of huge rents and dues meant for the government in the last 14 years.
“While pledging our continued support for the NCS, we urge the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, to quickly intervene at the Ikorodu terminal/government warehouse to restore normalcy, in the interest of the Nigerian economy and the society at large,” he said.