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Fixed Scanner Cotecna commences training of Customs officers

By Godfrey Bivbere
After the successful test run of the first fixed scanner in the country, Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited (CDIL) has commenced the training of officers of Nigeria Customs Service and some of its personnel for the system’s Image Analysis and general operation.

The first set of the specialized training programme on the fixed scanner operations kicked off at the  Apapa Port’s scanning site recently with nine selected customs officers and three staffers of COTECNA, the Service Provider.

In attendance at the opening ceremony and to flag_off the training programme was Comptroller O.L  Ogunojemite, Area Comptroller of the Ijora Lillypond Customs Command and Managing Director of CDIL, Mr. Tayo Rabiu.

In explaining the essence of the training, the MD CDIL stated that the exercise would cover both the operations and maintenance of the fixed scanner.
The Programme will specifically dwell on Image / Recheck Operator training (IO/RCO) as well as Check in Operator, Receptionist Operator and Systems Operator (i.e. CIO, RO & SO) .

The exercise is also expected to deal extensively on maintenance training (2nd level) on the fixed scanner as well as refresher training on the maintenance of mobile scanners, and it is to run until mid February 2010. It has been disclosed that each aspect of the training functions stated above will run in 3 groups for three days with a total of about 48 NCS officers expected to participate.

Moreover, the organization is set to train a minimum of 250 customs officers strictly on image analysis each year from now till 2011 and 400 in 2012, while further specialized trainings on other areas would similarly run concurrently.

The program is being conducted by specialist resource persons drawn from Smith Detections France, the world’s foremost manufacturer of scanners Francois Aquaviva and Derar Badre .

While calling on the trainees to take advantage of the training on the 9 MeV Dual View Fixed Scanner; which he described as the first of its kind in the sub_Saharan Africa region, the MD CDIL noted that Cotecna is committed to handing over the project to a highly trained and competent Nigeria Customs Service, in line with its terms of contract with the Federal Government.

Mr. Rabiu also used the occasion to allay fears being expressed at certain quarters that the introduction of scanners in the import/export trade would lead to job losses, saying on the contrary, the system would enhance work performance in that sector.

According to him, “Nobody is taking over anybody’s job and that is why we are bent on training as many officers of the service as possible.”
Also speaking at the occasion, Comptroller Ogunojemite noted that the advent of Information and Communication Technology into the operations of Nigeria Customs Service was a dream come true, as according to him, some people had cynically expressed reservations about its efficacy.

The Customs Chief therefore admonished the Trainees to consider themselves lucky to have been selected as pioneer members of the team that will usher the service to the next level of computerized operations.

Comptroller Ogunojemite also used the occasion to affirm that the Service Providers were not unwilling to quit the stage as wrongly believed, but were rather anxious to hand over to properly trained personnel of the service who would be able to compete effectively with their peers internationally.
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