June 13, 2013

Lagos-Seme road a national disgrace – ANLCA chieftain

THE Seme border post has become a hot bed for all kinds of trading activities ranging from smuggling, under declaration and ineffective scanning system. In this interview with newsmen  recently, Chief Sam Madubuike,  a Seme border-based freight forwarder said border is a pot porri problem that urgently needs government’s attention. Excerpts:

Operators have been complaining about the inefficient scanning operation at Seme border that has resulted in a long queue of trucks at the border post, while operators are crying foul, the management of Globalscan is saying otherwise what is the true situation?

I have maintained that scanning operation in Seme is a  total failure. In recent times, they have resorted to renting crowd and media hyping, . instead of improving on their services.

Very soon, we will march to Abuja on a protest to t the Federal Government of our plight since their “god fathers” had been blocking the truth from the government. Please conduct an opinion poll to get the true feelings of the people.

They are at war with the Customs and the agents here because we tell them the truth. Some agents lost their goods worth millions of naira to thieves while their trucks were waiting to be scanned. Why should we wait for a Scanner that boots like an old computer? I have always been an advocate of destination inspection. Every time, they train customs officers and never allow them to experiment with their machines.

A few weeks ago, a team from the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) was at the Seme border post to senstize people on the construction of a  proposed toll gate. What in your opinion is the reaction of  regulars users of this route?

Everyday, FERMA comes up with good ideas that they can never implement . This road is an international road. From Seme Border down to Ghana even beyond, they have motorable roads.

Take the same road from Seme down to Mile 2, it is nothing to write home  about. If not for the assistance the Agents had been rendering to FERMA, this ‘patch patch’ we are managing today would not be there. Anyway, there is no right thinking government that will dream of erecting a Toll when the road is unmotorable.

The rains are here, people residing in this part of the state do not know what will become of the already failed road. If anyone venture to erect toll gates  without providing standard motorable road, they will only attract the wrath of the people.

What is your assessment of the present Controller of the Seme Command?

He is a wonderful gentleman. This is a man who is ready to listen to others’ opinion at all times. He does not talk too much but a wonderful planner. He is winning the war on smuggling.

On daily basis, they make seizures of rice and turkey. One great way to access a good Comptroller is when his command is peaceful. He has made the road unusable for smugglers. Its no more business as usual.

Does the size of trucks in anyway affect the freight forwarders in terms of profit unlike the old  practice?

It is the best thing that has happened to us. Before now, we use to carry up to seven containers on a truck and most times due to the bad road, most of our trucks do not get to their destination without losses as a result of destruction of our goods occasioned by accident due to bad roads.

In most cases, area boys attack the motor boys and their drivers and steal goods . Now, our goods and trucks come into Nigeria intact and safe. Even if a truck has to go twice, it is safer. Our trucks do not sleep or block the road anymore. We are indeed very grateful to the Comptroller-General of Customs.

There has been a lull in business at the border post, what could be responsible for this?

I think, one of the greatest problems we are facing here is the road. Secondly, if the government can intervene and make the scanner work, business will pick up again.

Some of us had contributed over 500,000.00(Five Hundredd Naira) to FERMA for road construction yet no results. If the government put things right , Seme will come alive again.

But FERMA  has denied ever collecting money from agents for purpose of fixing the roads

Cuts in…….

We have some pending cases against some of their officials with the Police. They collected money to fill the road but  they  ran away with our money. Even this recent one they did on this road, it was sponsored by us. Infact, we do not know what they are doing with the money allocated for the maintenance of this road.

There are speculations that the Comptroller General of Customs may remove from any time from , how

It is pure fabrication by his detractors. Since Alhaji Dikko assumed office, we have witnessed the transformations he brought to the industry. But no matter what you do, some enemies of the society will never appreciate it. If Dikko leaves today, even those sponsoring the rumours can not fit into the big shoes he will leave behind.